Combat sports fans love finishes, and that could be produced in abundance on 2 August at the Mall of Asia in Manila, The Philippines. ONE: DAWN OF HEROES is the next event from ONE Championship hosted by the Philippines.
The country and promotion have been a great mix. With several Team Lakay athletes set to compete throughout the stacked card, expect the crowd to be energetic. The following five bouts could take the excitement to the next level because each of them has a great chance to end with a finish.
As an original Team Lakay member, Edward Kelly is proud of what his squad has become. He talked about his experience and competing on this card:
“I’ve been with Team Lakay since the very beginning when no one even knew who we were,” Kelly said.
“To be able to witness the team grow, and bring out the talented kids like Danny [Kingad] and Joshua [Pacio], it’s a privilege. It’s also a huge honor training and competing alongside them. This time, in Manila, we’re going to the Mall of Asia Arena with our complete strength. All of us will be there, and a lot of us are competing alongside each other. It is an honor for me to be counted among these warriors.”
In true warrior spirit, you can bet Kelly will be out looking to earn the finish against China’s Xie Bin. Kelly is an aggressive, smash-or-be-smashed kind of a fighter, and he keeps that same approach as he seeks out the finish.
Honorio Banario Vs. Dae Sung Park
Another Team Lakay product, Honorio Banario has had his opponent switched. After an injury to Lowen Tynanes landed him back in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, another injury, this one to Banario’s new opponent Timofey Nastyukhin, changed things again. Banario is no longer competing in the Grand Prix, but he will battle South Korea’s Dae Sung Park.
Like all of the Lakay members, Banario will go into battle with the team and country’s flag on his back. He’s an aggressive competitor by nature with 17 of his 22 professional bouts ending with a stoppage. Fully expect this bout to add to that total.
Mauro Cerilli Vs. Arjan Bhullar
When two big and powerful heavyweights like Mauro Cerilli and Arjan Bhullar clash, there can sometimes be a ton of apprehension. However, expect that not to be the case in this one. Bhullar has the look of a man who could seriously challenge Brandon Vera for the ONE Heavyweight World Championship. This is his promotional debut, and he’ll be looking to make a statement.
Cerilli has already had a shot at Vera, but it ended with a first-round KO loss. He’d like to get back to that level, but the path to a rematch with Vera runs through Bhullar. When these two collide, someone is going down.
In a battle of legends, who both love to stand and strike, it’s hard to imagine the bout going the distance. Eduard Folayang is big, strong, physical, and aggressive. As arguably the signature member of Team Lakay, he will be performing with the support of his entire team and country pushing for him to attain victory. Folayang has scored his share of finishes in his career (eight to be exact). However, he has also fell victim to stoppage losses in five of his seven defeats.
Eddie Alvarez will be waiting to deliver his next loss in that same vein. Alvarez has suffered two consecutive stoppage losses including a first-round TKO defeat at the hands of Nastyukhin last 31 March in Tokyo, Japan. Still, Alvarez is as dangerous and powerful with his strikes as anyone in the lightweight division. If Folayang provides him an opening to smash, Alvarez will not hesitate. That’s something he felt he did against Nastyukhin, and it’s unlikely a tentative nature will cost the American this time around.
Martin Nguyen Vs. Koyomi Matsushima
In the main event, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen will defend his ONE Featherweight World Title against Koyomi Matsushima. Few can strike with the suddenness that Nguyen does. That’s why he is always capable of finishing an opponent in the blink of an eye. Nguyen has scored dramatic KO wins over Marat Gafurov, Folayang, and Narantungalag Jadambaa. He has even finished current ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian Lee by submission earlier in the latter’s career.
At ONE: DAWN OF HEROES, Nguyen will be facing another talented striker in Koyomi Matsushima. The Japanese challenger believes he has the skill to handle the champion in stand-up exchanges. That remains to be seen, but it appears this is a championship battle that is destined to end in a finish. Whether it’s a KO or a submission result, the judges may not be required.