Almost all of the matches scheduled for ONE: DAWN OF HEROES are huge.
Rankings and even careers may be on the line for the athletes set to compete. Who takes home the Ws at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on 2 August? Here are bold and specific predictions for the top bouts on the card.
Let's start off close to the top of the preliminary card:
James Nakashima Will Record His Second Straight TKO Victory
The last time out, James Nakashima earned the first TKO win of his career with a victory over Luis Santos. He'll get his second against Yushin Okami. At this stage of Okami's career, he still has the desire and heart to come forward willing to trade as he searches for a takedown. However, his striking defense has declined as has his overall quickness. Nakashima will pick him apart early and earn the stoppage in the second round.
Arjan Bhullar Will Make An Explosive Statement in His ONE Debut
Don't blink when Arjan Bhullar and Mauro Cerilli go head-to-head in Manila. Bhullar is looking to announce his presence in ONE's heavyweight division, and the mighty Indian will impose his will with heavy hands and a dominant top game if the action goes to the ground. Cerilli is a willing striking partner, but he lacks the overall skill set that Bhullar brings to the ONE circle. This one will end quickly, and Bhullar will be the man left standing after a first-round KO.
Yuya Wakamatsu Will Shock Geje Eustaquio
What we saw from the heavy-handed Yuya Wakamatsu against mixed martial arts legend Demetrious Johnson at ONE: A NEW ERA in March was no fluke. The young Japanese athlete is still coming into his own, and his competitive showing against an all-time great will serve as a massive learning experience for him.
Geje Eustaquio has been around for a while and he has established himself as one of the greatest flyweights in the promotion's history. However, he is catching Wakamatsu at the wrong time. Wakamatsu's power is legitimate and could lead to a KO. It could likely happen in the first round from Wakamatsu's dangerous right hand.
Danny Kingad Will Overwhelm Reece McLaren
As usual, Danny Kingad will be giving up some length against his opponent, but it won't be the deciding factor. Kingad's pursuit, athleticism, and strength will overwhelm Reece McLaren. Kingad is too quick and explosive, and he'll ride those gifts to a dominant unanimous-decision win, or a late stoppage from ground-and-pound strikes. The victory will push Kingad into the finals of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
Demetrious Johnson Will Put On a Clinic Against Tatsumitsu Wada
Yuya Wakamatsu had his moments against Demetrious Johnson, but Tatsumitsu Wada will not. He's not as explosive, and he doesn't pack the same punch. An even more mentally prepared Johnson will control Wada from start to finish, and he'll likely finish the bout with a submission.
Expect a rear-naked choke late in the first round, or perhaps in the second frame. Johnson will face Kingad in the finals, but the young Filipino must beware; Mighty Mouse is going to get stronger as the Grand Prix moves on.
Eddie Alvarez Will Bounce Back With A KO Victory
Someone is going to get stopped when Eddie Alvarez and Eduard Folayang collide, and there is a strong chance that it is the latter.
Both men have some flaws in their games and are fortunate that opportunities have allowed them back into the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.
However, Alvarez will be the one to take advantage of the opportunity. His punches are a bit tighter, and he is also the better grappler of the two.
I expect Alvarez to land something big after he engages Folayang against the cage. It could come on the break, or even in the clinch. Alvarez will move on to the finals of the tournament.
Jonathan Haggerty Will Prove He's No Fluke
After knocking off Sam-A Gaiyanghadao earlier this year and earning the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship, Jonathan Haggerty is faced with a serious challenge in the form of Rodtang Jitmuangnon.
Rather than fall off after a career victory, Haggerty will come out even stronger with more dangerous knees, and elbow attacks added to his arsenal.
It’s hard to see the match ending in a KO, but a hungry Haggerty will win it definitively. He's too big, strong and talented for Rodtang, and we'll see evidence of that in Manila.
Martin Nguyen Will Turn Away Another Challenger
Lately, it's been ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen’s striking prowess that has provided his memorable wins. When he faces Koyomi Matsushima in the main event of ONE: DAWN OF HEROES, it will be his submission game that leads him to victory.
Many forget how good “The Situ-Asian” is as a grappler, but we will be reminded on 2 August. Nguyen will set up the grappling attacks with stand-up brilliance, but once he has Matsushima compromised on the canvas, the opportunity for the choke will be there, and Nguyen will successfully defend his title by submission.Published 26 Jul 2019, 09:57 IST