ONE FC will be giving away three titles for the first time on October 6th and, hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Leandro Issa would be fighting Soo Chul Kim for the bantamweight belt, details of the other two championship matches emerged today.
Zorobabel Moreira, 7-1, has a lot of momentum after stoppage wins over Andy Wang, Felipe Enomoto and Roger Huerta and was always the front runner for the lightweight title. He was expected to go up against Eduard Folayang but the Filipino is fighting at URCC 22 in November and will get a title shot at a later date.
That means that former Shooto Champion Kotetsu Boku, a recent addition to the ONE FC roster, will be given a baptism of fire as he takes on Moreira on his ONE FC debut. The Japanese veteran has wins over UFC veterans Eiji Mitsuoka and Hermes Franca and holds a 19-7-2 record.
That means Moreira will be going up against a much more experienced opponent for the second successive fight, after his brutal soccer kick KO of UFC and Bellator veteran Roger Huerta, but the Brazilian is regarded as being one of the best lightweight prospects in the world and will probably be a slight favourite going into this fight.
Moreira arrived in Singapore as a BJJ world champion with a 2-0 professional MMA record but has blossomed into a fully fledged mixed martial artist under the careful guidance of the coaching staff at Evolve MMA.
He has added world class Muay Thai to his game since moving to Singapore but will have to keep his wits about him in the stand up exchanges against Boku who has six KO wins to his name. Moreira’s height is officially listed as 6’1″ but he looks a bit taller and will probably be looking to use his reach and range to land leg kicks, knees and elbows in the early exchanges.
One factor which could play into Boku’s favour is that this fight is set for five rounds and he has been the distance 16 times, so knows how to conserve energy for the later rounds if necessary. By contrast Moreira has only been to one decision in his entire career but he will be working hard under Evolve MMA head coaches Heath Sims and Chatri Sityodtong who reportedly have no concerns about his stamina.
The other title fight is not officially confirmed but a rematch between Honorio Banario and Bae Young Kwon for the featherweight belt is in the works. Eric Kelly has been promised a title shot but he is unable to appear on October 6th as, like Folayang, he is committed to fighting for the URCC in November.
Kwon, 7-3, pushed Kelly all the way in their fight at ONE FC: ‘Destiny of Warriors’ and the decision was so close that it is possible the yellow card issued to the Korean for illegal elbows cost him the win. Before that he was on an impressive win streak having beaten ONE FC fighters Brian Choi and Banario as well as the UFC’s Kyung Ho Kang.
Banario’s loss to Kwon was the first of his entire career and it came on his featherweight debut. He bounced back to outclass Andrew Benibe at ONE FC: ‘Pride of a Nation’ as he showed no ill effects from the weight cut and improved his record to 7-1.
This fight sees Road FC’s best featherweight (they have yet to introduce the belt) take on the URCC Lightweight Champion and the winner will be a worthy ONE FC champion with Kelly waiting in the wings for the first shot at the belt.
As well as the three title fights a main event between DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki and French fighter Arnaud Lepont has been confirmed and the card will also include Singaporean Radeem Rahman and K-1 veteran Melvin Manhoef.
ONE FC: ‘Rise of the Kings’ is set for October 6th at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The online stream will be 10 USD and it will also be available on PPV in the US for the first time.
For more information visit: www.onefc.com