Just like the UFC, ONE Championship will be providing a Halloween weekend treat with an event jampacked with four (four!) title fights. The full October 30 card has yet to be announced, but the four title fights alone make for a loaded card.
Aung La Nsang vs. Reinier de Ridder – middleweight title fight
Two-weight ONE Championship titleholder Aung La Nsang (26-10) will defend his middleweight title against the undefeated Reinier de Ridder (12-0).
The 30-year-old challenger, the Netherlands’ de Ridder, is no joke. His last opponents have a combined record of 53-10-1, so this should be a big test for Nsang and the burgeoning European star.
The Burmese champion’s last win was a 219-pound win over former UFC heavyweight Brandon Vera (16-7), who holds ONE’s heavyweight title.
He has won seven straight fights, six of them by finish, and is considered to be one of Asia’s most successful and dominant champions in recent years.
In his native Myanmar, Nsang has a celebrity that rivals any musician, artist, athlete, or politician.
Martin Nguyen vs. Thanh Le – lightweight title fight
In the third title fight of the card, lightweight champion Martin Nguyen (13-3) will defend his title against third-ranked contender Thanh Le.
Nguyen’s claim to fame is that, in addition to his famed overhand right and in-cage exploits, he has two wins over the aforementioned Lee – one at featherweight and one at lightweight. He even stopped the then-18-year-old Lee with a guillotine choke in the first round.
The 35-year-old Le is an experienced challenger, however.
The American has a Dana White’s Contender Series victory, a win over UFC vet Bobby Moffett (13-5), and was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter Season 22, to boot.
Le is a battle-tested guy and marks one of the most skilled contenders to vie for Nguyen’s throne, so this won’t be a walk in the park for Nguyen.
Jingnan Xiong vs. Tiffany Teo – strawweight title fight
The ONE women’s strawweight title will be on the line between Jingnan Xiong (14-2) and Tiffany Teo (9-1).
Xiong is coming off a pair of incredible, back-to-back fights against world champion Angela Lee (10-2). Jingnan initially defeated Lee in a defense of her flyweight title, stopping Lee’s two-weight title aspirations, but fell to Lee via fifth-round submission months later.
That 13-month layoff, however, has the potential an issue for Jingnan, and it will be something she will have to overcome against Teo.
These two already fought, but that was back at flyweight in January of 2018. Jingnan won the pair’s first encounter via punches in the fourth round.
It will be interesting to find out what adjustments the two made in almost three years since their first meeting. Teo has a pair of wins since then, including one over fellow contender and Brazilian jiu jitsu ace Michelle Nicolini.
Christian Lee vs. Iuri Lapicus – lightweight title fight
Highly-touted ONE Championship welterweight titlist Christian Lee (13-3) will battle the undefeated Iuri Lapicus (14-0).
The champion, Lee, has won four straight, and his last setback was as a 20-year old against Edward Kelly when he committed a controversially illegal suplex.
Lapicus, a 24-year old Moldovan-Italian prospect, is in for his toughest test yet against Lee, who has the clear edge in level of competition.
Every fighter Lee has fought since his debut has been over .500, including former and future elites, while most of Lapicus’ ledger is, to date, full of subpar or inexperienced fighters.
A vast majority of 22-year-old athletes like Lee would get nerves in a big-time title fight like this, but not Lee – he’s been on the big stage many times and is the face of ONE.
I expect this to be a really nice showcase for Lee.
No matter what ONE adds to this card, these four title fights alone make this card a must-watch pre-Halloween special.