Eddie Alvarez headlines star-studded ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix
One of the most highly-anticipated ONE Championship highlights for 2019 is the upcoming ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, featuring eight of the promotion’s top lightweight competitors.
Bannering the eight-man pool of lightweight stars is none other than former multiple-time lightweight world champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the United States.
Alvarez, who signed with ONE Championship back in late 2018, will finally be making his much-awaited promotional debut in a quarterfinals matchup against Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan on 31 March.
Easily one of the most dangerous lightweights in the promotion, Nastyukhin will also look to make a name for himself against the biggest star in the tournament.
The winner of the Alvarez-Nastyukhin tussle will go on to face the winner of another sure-to-be exciting quarterfinals matchup between former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario of the Philippines and Hawaiian Lowen Tynanes, which is slated for ONE: HERO’S ASCENT in Manila on 25 January.
Banario is on one of the most impressive runs of his career, winning six of his last seven bouts and earning a spot on the tournament. The former champion welcomes back a yet-to-be-defeated beast in Tynanes, who owns wins over some of the top names in the division, including Koji Ando and reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang.
Singapore, meanwhile, will play host to the two other quarterfinals matchups with hometown favorite Amir Khan taking on Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton of Costa Rica, and Malaysia’s Ev Ting locking horns with Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev of Russia at ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS on 22 February.
Khan is coming off his first world title bout back in December, and is working towards earning another shot at the title at the end of the tournament, while Sexton is also looking to break into the lightweight world title conversation.
Also trying to get back to the upper level of the division is another former world title challenger in Ting, who finds himself in another tough test against stoppage-machine Arslanaliev, whose six career victories have all come via KO or submission.
The winners of the two quarterfinals matchups in Singapore will meet each other in the semifinals.
Waiting for the eventual winner of the tough tournament will be a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship, which will be up for grabs when reigning champion Eduard Folayang meets former titleholder Shinya Aoki in Tokyo.