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Breaking down the card: ONE Fighting Championship – War of the Lions!

Everyone’s been waiting for ONE Fighting Championship: War of the Lions which is set to be the biggest MMA event ever in Southeast Asia and in 2 days, it’s on like Donkey Kong. While there are so many reasons to watch this event, the main reason is still for the great match ups. The card is stacked from top to bottom with great fights featuring the hottest names in Asian MMA today, and each fight has potential to be pure fireworks.

TFN will be at the event covering the show with live play by play but now, we’re putting our reputation at stake (which isn’t much of a reputation anyway) and putting our money where our mouth is and making predictions! Yeap! We know you’ve been waiting for this! We kinda suck at predictions but hey, it’s just our opinion and it’s not like we’re betting on anyone with our hard earned cash. Well, just push ups actually. Not cash, because we’re pretty broke.

So after much arguing and bickering at the TFN office (which happens to serve burgers and fries), the TFN crew has finally agreed on what will be our predictions for ONE Fighting Championship: War of the Lions.

Match 1: Richie Whitson vs Danny van Bergen

This is a pretty tough fight to call. Danny van Bergen is a veteran in MMA with a 10-10 record but is coming into this fight on a 2 fight losing streak. He trains out of Mike’s gym together with Melvin Manhoef. Mike’s gym is known for its strikers but van Bergen is also very proficient on the ground as well.

Richie Whitson is no slouch himself. He’s got a really good 11-2 MMA record and has been 5-1 in his last six outings. He fights out of the world renowned Team Quest (Hendo’s fight team). Richie has also earned the nickname “Hell Boy” because he’s a real badass who takes the fight to his competitor.

While some people give the edge to van Bergen, we think that Whitson, while having less fights, has a way better record and has a much better chance at scoring the W for this fight. Add that up with his preparation at Team Quest, highly regarded as one of the best gyms, we give the edge to Hell Boy. We expect this opening fight to be a complete war.

TFN Prediction: Richie Whitson defeats Danny van Bergen via TKO

Match 2: Jiang Long Yun vs Yodsanan Sityodtong

Jiang Long Yun started his career in boxing and is a boxer by trade. He currently has a 3-1 MMA record and is riding a 2 fight win streak. He has fought both in China’s Art of War and the now defunct, Martial Combat. Not much is known of his ground skill but we doubt it’s anything to shout about with him losing to Evolve’s Leandro Issa via armbar in the first round at Martial Combat.

Evolve MMA’s Yodsanan Sityodtong is quite possibly the best boxer to ever come out of Thailand. His nickname is “Little Tyson” for goodness sake. On top of being a WBA Champion, Yodsanan trains day in and day out with BJJ World Champions at Evolve MMA and that definitely has helped in the development of his ground game.Yodsanan is 1-0 in his MMA career.

Since both guys are boxers by nature, we doubt this fight is going to go the distance. As mixed martial artists, both these guys aren’t the greatest of veterans but we think it’s pretty safe to say that Long Yun would have the advantage. If he takes this fight to the ground and keeps Yodsanan there, he probably would have a chance to lay some ground and pound and maybe even finish the fight. However, we’re sure Evolve MMA head coach Chatri Sityodtong has a game plan to keep Yodsanan away from that. If Long Yun can’t do that, we seriously see Yodsanan finishing this fight by KO or TKO

TFN Prediction: Yodsanan Sityodtong defeats Jiang Long Yun via TKO or KO

Match no.3: Quek Kim Hock vs Major Overall

Overall is the last minute replacement for Juan from Impact MMA who got injured last week. Major Overall is 3-1 in his MMA record and it is well known that he has a solid ground game. On top of that, it seems that he has power in the punches he throws with his quick finish of AJ Pyro at DARE 1/12 recently. He rocked Pyro early and finished the fight in convincing fashion. Overall trains out of Muayfit in Malaysia.

Kim Hock is making his professional debut in MMA. He is a national boxing champion in Singapore and is known for his speed and agility. On top of that, he is a very powerful wrestler and is currently on the Singapore National Wrestling team. Kim Hock has previously taken part in amateur Thai MMA league Naksu where he won in convincing fashion despite having only 6 weeks experience in grappling. Kim Hock trains out of Juggernaut FC in Singapore.

Major Overall is a much tougher match for Kim Hock than Juan was. However, in fights where a participant is brought in at the last minute, the fighter that has been training longer will always have the advantage. Major Overall has really fast hands and it would be best for Kim Hock to take him down and pound him out for a TKO victory. We think that could very well happen.

TFN prediction: Quek Kim Hock defeats Major Overall via Ground and Pound, TKO

Match no. 4: Nicole Chua vs Jeet Toshi

Nicole Chua will be making her pro MMA debut at the event and will be Singapore’s first female pro MMA fighter. Nicole is a Muay Thai fighter by trade and has had many fights in Thailand. She is also training very hard at the grappling aspect of the game with the many BJJ World Champions, such as Alex Silva and Zorobabel Moreira, at Evolve MMA. She has a big heart and is focused on making her pro debut one to remember.

Not much is known about Jeet Toshi except the fact that she is a 7 time national kickboxing champion in India. She fights out of FCC India which is one of India’s most well known MMA gyms. Jeet is no stranger to competitions having taken part in many kickboxing and Sambo tournaments. Jeet has an edge over Nicole and had 1 pro MMA match before this and was victorious. Jeet enters this fight with a 1-o MMA record.

While we’re Singaporeans and would love to see Nicole win this fight, we seriously feel that she’s going to be facing an uphill battle. Jeet is a 7 time kickboxing champion and is way more experienced than Nicole. We doubt seeing this fight go to the ground and given how women usually are very aggressive during fights, we’re expecting a TKO finish.

TFN Prediction: Jeet Toshi defeats Nicole Chua via TKO

Match no. 5: Masakazu Imanari vs Kevin Belingon

What is there to say about Imanari? He is the “Master of Leglocks” for a reason and he’s fought some of the best mixed martial artists in DREAM, DEEP, PRIDE, ZST and Cage Rage. He’s got a record of 24-10 and while he lost his last fight at DREAM’s Genki Desu Ka! he still is a very, and we mean very, dangerous fighter.

Kevin Belingon is without a doubt one of the hottest Asian prospects at the 135lb weight category and fights out of Team Lakay, arguably the best gym in the Philippines. He is undefeated in his mixed martial arts career with a 9 win record and has steamrolled past many of his opponents.

This fight has the potential to be the best fight of the night or the most boring fight of the night. We say it’ll either end with Imanari submitting Belingon via a leg submission or Belingon getting the decision victory.

TFN Prediction: Masakazu Imanari defeats Kevin Belingon via submission

There you have it, our humble view of how the fights are going to go down. Well, if we’re right, then you got to admit, we’re in for one hell of an event! Look at all the finishes we predicted! It’s off the charts. Pretty much like free Carl’s Jr burgers at the media booth that TFN is going to be at (hint hint ONE FC!). We’ll be back tomorrow to review the main card and also give you the Big Fight Breakdown between Felipe Enomoto and Zorobabel Moreira.

We made our humble predictions for the undercard last night and from what we see, hey, the article was pretty damn popular. However, we have gotten some questions on why Imanari vs Belingon is considered to be in the undercard. To that we only have one reply. That’s just how stacked this card! When a match of that caliber is in the undercard, you know an event is STACKED!

So right now, let’s move on to the big guns, let’s break down the main card of ONE Fighting Championship: War of the Lions.

Match no. 6: Eddie Ng vs Jian Kai Chee

By now we’re pretty sure everyone knows who Eddie “The Magician” Ng is. Eddie fights out of Asia’s best MMA gym, Evolve MMA and from what we see, he just might be the next big thing. With a record of 4-1, Eddie is known for completely decimating his opponents in the quickest fashion with all his wins coming in the first round. Eddie is without a doubt, the new breed of Mixed Martial Artist.

Jian Kai Chee is a very respected Muay Thai specialist from Malaysia who’s claim to fame is in being the man who rocked Ole “Iron Fist” Laursen at Martial Combat. He fights out of Malaysia’s top MMA gym, Muayfit and is 3-3 in his MMA career. All his wins are via KO and TKO.

We see both fighters going straight to 5th gear right from the get go. Both guys are known to be very good strikers and we think both these guys will take the fight to each other. While we love the heart that Kai Chee always shows, we just think that Eddie is too well rounded a fighter for him. How will this fight end? We believe in what Eddie Ng has said in this promo video and predict that he will submit Kai Chee via a flying armbar (it’s true, it’s true!) OR some other submission.

TFN Prediction: Eddie Ng defeats Jian Kai Chee via Submission

Match no. 7: Yoshiyuki Nakanishi vs Melvin Manhoef

Nakanishi is a complete beast. He is currently the Deep Light Heavyweight Champion and has a MMA record of 11-2. He is on a 2 fight win streak and is famous for taking the fight to his opponent. He’s well known to finish his fights swiftly and violently.

Manhoef needs no introduction and is considered a beast in the cage as well with his high level stand up. In fact, just like Nakanishi, Manhoef is a go getter who takes the fight to his opponents and looks for the fast knockout. Melvin has fought and defeated some of the biggest names in the business like Mark Hunt and Kazushi Sakuraba. He comes into this fight on a 3 fight losing streak and a record of 24-9.

One thing is for sure, when you lock these two monsters in the cage, this fight is going to end in stunning fashion either by KO or Submission. It’s not going 3 rounds. While Manhoef is a veteran and has fought some of the biggest fights on the biggest stages, we can’t help but feel that his career might just be winding down. Given his last loses were to Robbie Lawler and Tim Kennedy, both very tough opponents, we don’t see him getting the best of Nakanishi. Don’t be surprised if Manhoef gets taken down and tapped out.

TFN Prediction: Yoshiyuki Nakanishi defeats Melvin Manhoef via submission

Match no. 8: Yuya Shirai vs Fabricio Monteiro

Yuya Shirai is a very dangerous opponent for any fighter to face. He is the current DEEP Welterweight Champion, a world class grappler, a Judo black belt and has won Sambo competitions at a national level. You can tell that this guy is a real grappler just by looking at his deformed cauliflower ears! They’re a mess I tell you! He’s got a 22-10 record and is on a 2 fight winning streak.

Fabricio Monteiro fights out of the Evolve Fight Team and is a veteran in MMA with a 17-9 record. Monteiro has fought in Deep, Sengoku and numerous Brazilian organizations. The downside is that Fabricio has not fought in more than 2 years due to personal problems. Many fear that he may be rusty in his return fight. However, he seems to have recommitted his life to MMA since joining the Evolve Fight Team and has been training hard with Evolve’s other world champions. Just by looking at him at the open workouts yesterday, it’s pretty obvious that he is in the best shape of his life.

This is a pretty tough fight to predict. Both competitors are very high skilled grapplers and while we think that Monteiro might have the advantage in terms of stand up due to his training with the various Muay Thai world champions at Evolve, we can’t help but feel that his “cage rust” might be a big factor, especially when facing such a high level athlete like Shirai. While we somehow don’t see Shirai finishing him, we do see him beating Monteiro via decision.

TFN Prediction: Yuya Shirai defeats Fabricio Monteiro via decision

Match no.9: Ole Laursen vs Eduard Folayang

We, just like everyone else in the crowd is going to go ape shit crazy for this fight. Laursen is coming back with vengeance in this fight especially after his lost to Felipe Enomoto just over a month ago in Jakarta. Ole is a former K-1 kickboxer and has a 5-3 MMA record. Many attribute Ole’s last lost to “cage rust” as he hadn’t fought in over a year and due to a very bad weight cut. Ole is determined to make this fight go his way and return to his winning ways. His determination is his biggest weapon in this fight.

Eduard Folayang might be one of the few fighters who can match the popularity of Ole Laursen and maybe, even surpass it. Eduard is a current URCC champion and has an impressive 11-1 MMA record. “The Landslide” defeated a very dangerous Wadson Teixeira in his last fight in less than 1 minute and it seems that nothing can stop Eduard from going straight to the top.

We believe that Ole will come into this fight more cautious than the way he did in his last one. While we’re pretty sure that he’ll still try to go for the KO, we don’t see him going for broke like what he did with his fight against Felipe. Same goes for Eduard. We see these two both showing respect for each other’s hands. We’ll most likely see this fight go 3 rounds with both displaying their stand up and ground skills. Who do we think will win? As much as we love Ole, we have to go with the man who’s on a roll to sneak out a decision win.

TFN Prediction: Eduard Folayang defeats Ole Laursen via Decision

Match no. 10: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Donald Sanchez

Tatsuya Kawajiri didn’t get the nickname “The Crusher” for nothing. He has a 30-7 MMA record with almost half of his wins coming by either KO or TKO. He has competed at the biggest promotions including Shooto, PRIDE, Strikeforce and DREAM and has faced some of the best in the world like Shinya Aoki and Gilbert Melendez. The Crusher is legitimately one of the best featherweights in the world.

Donald Sanchez is no slouch either. Sanchez is the current King of the Cage Bantamweight Champion and has a 25-12 record. He is a very well rounded fighter who can either defeat you with his standup or his ground game (as judged by his win record).

Both these guys are coming into the fight with a good amount of momentum as both of them are on a 3 fight win streak. While we do acknowledge that Donald Sanchez is a very tough and well rounded opponent who can win on any given day, we predict that the Crusher will be too much for him to handle. One thing that many overlook is the fact that Kawajiri is a good wrestler who can control you once he gets you down. We won’t be surprised if Kawajiri does just that with Sanchez. We predict that Kawajiri will take him down and ground and pound him out for the TKO victory.

TFN Prediction: Tatsuya Kawajiri defeats Donald Sanchez via TKO

So there you have it, our picks for the main card. We know what you’re thinking, what about the main event? While we would love to let you know who we think will win the main event, we kind of figured that we’ll let the pros do the predictions for us. Next up, the pros pick Enomoto vs Zoro. Have a good night everyone!

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