Evolve MMA Trainer debut at inaugural ONE

The series will feature Muay Thai and kickboxing in a cage with MMA gloves - as well as regular striking battles in a specially formed ring.

ONE Championship has been a dominating force when it comes to mixed martial arts in Asia, while occasionally promoting kickboxing and other martial arts. Now they are taking it a step further by starting their own kickboxing league, which debuts in the end of April.

The first Muay Thai fight they ever put on was at ONE: Global Superheroes in January, where Evolve instructor and multiple-time World Champion Sam-A “The Fiery Southpaw” Gaiyanghadao (364-46-9) defeated Italy’s Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri by TKO after knocking the Italian fighter down twice in the second round. After the first standing count Gaiyanghadao went for the kill and connected with a straight left that floored Lasiri, forcing the referee to call a halt to the contest.

After the success of the first endeavour, they decided to make Muay Thai and kickboxing fights a mainstay in the promotion.

“I am thrilled to announce the addition of ONE Super Series, a global super league that will feature the world’s greatest strikers from Muay Thai, kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, kung fu, sanda, lethwei, silat, and more,” Sityodtong said in a Facebook post last month.

Quietly building a deep stable of fighters

When they said ‘The world’s greatest strikers’, they weren’t kidding. Just a few weeks later ONE Championship announced a list of signings that included some of the greatest names ever to compete in the art of the 8 limbs, from all over the world. The hybrid show which takes place in Mall of Asia in Manila, Phillippines on April 20th will be the first of it’s kind under the ONE banner and has been dubbed ONE: Heroes of Honor.

International fighters like Armenian Italian Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan (85-2-2), multiple-time World Champion in both Kickboxing and K-1, will face off with one of the hottest Thai prospects right now in Lion Fights Welterweight Champion “Smokin” Jo Nattawut (60-11-2) under International kickboxing rules.

Also confirmed for the event is former WKBF Middleweight World Champion Brad “Quake” Riddell from New Zealand, who represents Tiger Muay Thai. He will be facing off against Dutchman Regian “The Immortal” Eersel, who represents the legendary Sityodtong Gym.

Other notable signees include:

  •  Cosmo “Good Boy” Alexandre – a Brazilian WMC and WPMF World Champion who also has garnered some success in MMA training with the Blackzilians.
  •  Chris “The African Warrior” Ngimbi – a two-time Showtime 70MAX World Champion from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Alain “The Panther” Ngalani – Born in Cameroon and representing Hong Kong, multiple-time World Champion who hold black belts in Kyokushin and Shotokan karate.
  • Yodsaenklai Fairtex – Multiple-time Lumphinee World Champion and winner of “Contender Asia” series, defeating with the likes of legendary Australian Muay Thai practicioner John Wayne Parr and teammate Narupol Fairtex.
  • Sergio Wielzen – Lion Fights Lighweight World Champion from Suriname.
  • Lerdsila PhuketTopTeam – A Thai fighter who is a multiple-time Rajadamnern Stadium World Champion.
  • Steve “The Smashing Machine” McKinnon – An Australian fighter and a WBC Muay Thai Super Champion
  • Tarik Khbabez –A Moroccan fighter and 2014 Superkombat World Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion
  • Enriko Kehl – A German Muay Thai fighter and 2014 K-1 World Max Championship Tournament Champion

Yodsaenklai Fairtext – Multiple-time World Champion

“ONE Championship is dedicated to giving fans an authentic martial arts experience. We are proud to announce that the absolute best strikers in the world have chosen to continue their professional careers under the ONE banner,” Sityodtong stated, in an official press release.

“Fans will be treated to the most exciting striking matches where the best face the best inside of both our ring and our cage. Some matches will be under standard international kickboxing rules in our ring, and other matches will be under modified hybrid striking rules in our cage. This is a game changer in the world of martial arts, and I am excited to kick things off this April.”

Evolve MMA trainer Nong-O Gaiyanghadao faces Fabio Pinca

Several of the instructors at Evolve MMA train people from all over the world on a daily basis will now get their chance to show of their incredible skills to the world – either in caged Muay Thai fights or in a special 5-rope ring. Many of their pupils who they have trained as a part of Evolve Vacation, that combines a tropical vacation with world class training – will now be able to watch their favorite trainer practice what they preach.

At time of writing, the only trainer confirmed for a fight is multiple-time World Champion in several weight divisions Nong-O Gaiyanghadao who will fight on the upcoming card on April 20th. He will face the experienced French Italian Fabio Pinca (99-23-4) in a caged Muay Thai fight using ONE’s MMA gloves.

Nong-O is widely known throughout Thailand and topping most pound-for-pound lists. Not only has he won multiple World Championships, as well as the prestigeous Lumpinee Championship four times, he has also been voted “Fighter of the Year” twice. In his legendary career he has fought incredible competition such as Saenchai PKSaenchaiMuayThaiGym, Singdam Kiatmuu9, Petchboonchu F.A.Group, Pakorn Sakyothin, Kongsak Sitboonmee, Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, Sagetdao Petpayathai, Orono Wor Petchpun and many others.

Nong-O Gaiyanghadao – Multiple-time World Champion and Fighter of the Year

Pinca is internationally known and is a former WBC World Muay Thai Champion – who has faced Muay Thai legends such as Malaipei Sasiprapa, Sittichai Sitsongpeenong, Saenchai Sinbimuaythai and Giorgio Petrosyan (twice) to name a few.

Fists, elbows and knees will fly inside the Mall of Asia in Manila

With an incredible stable of fighters as presented above – chances are that the event will blow the roof off of the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. Combining the best of the best from outside Asia – pitting them against the best Asia have to offer, will surely draw in a huge crowd of martial arts fans from around the world.

Regardless if you are an avid Kickboxing/Muay Thai fan – or a hardcore mixed martial arts fan, this is an event you surely don’t want to miss.

ONE Championship has signed as many as nine of our Evolve MMA instructors to fight for ONE Super Series and they will be making their debut throughout the year. In a follow up article we will do a deeper dive into our instructors that have been signed by the promotion.

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Stefan Romare är en skribent och reporter som har jobbat på MMAnytt sedan mitten av 2017 och har följ MMA sedan tidigt 2000.
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