ONE FC Is Going West

ONE FC is expanding, folks, and now it’s expanding in both directions. The small, Singaporean MMA promotion – which originally only held events in Southeast Asia – just finished with its first event in the Far East, and now it is heading to the Middle East.


REIGN OF CHAMPIONS, ONE FC’s nineteenth event, will be held in the thriving, Arabian city of Dubai, and it could be the biggest event ONE FC has ever put on.


The event will feature not one, not two, not three, but four championship bouts. This is a feat that even the UFC has yet to attempt.


One of these fights will be the much-anticipated match between current welterweight champion, Nobutatsu Suzuki, and former-Bellator welterweight champion, Ben Askren.


The undefeated “funky one,” whose ability to run his mouth is second only to his wrestling, has not been shy about his desire to reign as the top dog of ONE’s welterweight division. After his dominant performance over the Azerbaijani, Bakhtiyar Abbasov, Askren left a message for the Japanese welterweight champion: either put your belt “in the middle of the cage” or have it taken “the hard way.”


Lightweight champion, Shinya Aoiki, who turned down a deal with the UFC to stay with ONE, will also be putting his title on the line when he faces “The Prince of Persia,” Kamal Shalorus. Though Kamal had unimpressive run in the UFC, he has won his last two fights here in ONE.


However, if the Iranian is entertaining any hopes of walking out of Dubai with the title, he had better work on his grappling. Aoki is a master submission specialist who has won twenty-three of his thirty-five wins via forcing his opponent to tap. He has also never been submitted.


Featherweight titleholder, Koji Oishi, will be defending his title against the winner of the WAR OF DRAGONS main event, “The Natural” Eric Kelly.


Kelly has only been defeated once in his MMA career – by the Filipino, Honorio “The Rock” Bonario.


However, Bonario himself has only been defeated by three other people, and one of those people was the man who Kelly will have to get through if he wants to leave Dubai with the featherweight championship.


Finally, fans watching REIGN OF CHAMPIONS will witness the crowning of the first ever ONE FC middleweight championship bout. No news yet on who will be competing.


Besides the title fights, fans will also be treated to a match between flyweights Ana Julaton and Ann “Athena” Osman.


ONE FC will hit the United Arab Emirates on August 29 this year.


 EDIT:  The original article mistakenly listed Sherilyn Lim as Ann Osman’s opponent. 

Chris Zahar is an American-born journalist. He has been covering Asian MMA since 2013, and his work has been featured in both Fight of the Night and Yahoo Sports. He has also interviewed such top Asian, ONE FC stars as Rob Lisita, Paul Cheng, and Sam "Sung Ming Yen." Chris also has the honor of training at TOUGH MMA, the only Taiwanese fight team to have exclusive partnership with ONE Fighting Championship. In his spare time, Chris not only enjoys mixed martial arts, but studies politics, philosophy, and Chinese. He is also happily married and a proud father to his son. Chris resides in Taiwan.