5 reasons to watch ONE: NextGen III

ONE Championship strawweight Lito Adiwang flexes his muscles [Photo courtesy of ONE Championship]
ONE Championship strawweight Lito Adiwang flexes his muscles [Photo courtesy of ONE Championship]
Atilano Diaz

ONE Championship wraps up its most recent event series on Friday, November 26, with the airing of ONE: NextGen III via tape delay. The event will feature a six-fight slate with bouts fought under a blend of Muay Thai, kickboxing and mixed martial arts rules.

The prior two installments of the NextGen series have delivered in a big way, providing spectacular knockouts, surprising upsets and highly anticipated debuts.

In the foremost NextGen show, Ritu Phogat and Stamp Fairtex punched their tickets to the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final, each with dominant unanimous decision victories.

The show also saw the successful debut of heavyweight kickboxing standout Iraj Azizpour, who put on a show for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision triumph. In the series’ headline bout, a new contender was introduced into the bantamweight Muay Thai division with Rittewada, a ONE Championship newcomer, finishing top-ranked Saemapetch Fairtex with a slicing elbow in the second round.

Fans should expect more of the same in the trilogy’s final installment, which features multiple ranked athletes across a variety of martial arts disciplines, an exciting debutant from the United States, and much more.

As the calendar quickly approaches show time, here are five reasons to watch ONE: NextGen III on November 26.

#5. ONE lightweights determine the division’s next contender

Pieter Buist and Ruslan Emilbek Uulu each stand on the precipice of the ONE lightweight division’s top five.

For Buist, a victory would mean a return to the win column and the resumption of the Dutch fighter’s hot streak which saw him win eight fights in a row before losing to Timofey Nastyukhin last November. With a 59 percent finishing rate, Buist remains one of the most dangerous lightweights on the planet. Can he make it back to the top five?

Standing in Buist’s way is a capable finisher in Emilbek Uulu. The Kyrgyzstan native had won 12 consecutive fights prior to being caught by Yoshiki Nakahara in March. Looked at as the division’s boogeyman, Emilbek Uulu aims to make a name for himself on the global stage in his second trip to the Circle.

In this matchup of rising contenders, the only way through is victory. For one, it'll be a slingshot back into title contention. For the other, a painful step backward.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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