ONE Championship has loaded up their ONE: A New Era event with many of their greatest athletes, hoping to make a major impact with their debut in Tokyo, Japan.
The event is scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 31, and will feature four title fights, as well as the promotional debut of Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez.
The main event is a highly anticipated rematch between current lightweight champion Eduard Folayang and challenger, Shinya Aoki. Folayang first claimed the ONE Lightweight Championship after beating Aoki in November 2016 but then lost the title to Martin Nguyen – the ONE featherweight champion – by way of devastating knockout. After defeating Folayang, Nguyen challenged Bibiano Fernandes for the bantamweight title, and never had a moment to defend his lightweight title. He has since vacated the belt, allowing Folayang and Amir Khan to compete for it in November. Folayang defeated Khan via unanimous decision, and will now defend his title for the first time.
After losing consecutive bouts to Folayang and Ben Askren, Aoki has since returned to form by earning first-round finishes of Rasul Yakhyaev, Shannon Wiratchai, and Ev Ting. The winner of Folayang vs. Aoki is more than likely to emerge as the next opponent for the winner of the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix.
In the co-main event, atomweight champion Angela Lee will move up to the women’s strawweight division to challenge current champion, Xiong Jing Nan. Xiong captured the newly created title in January 2018, when she dominated Tiffany Teo in her second bout with ONE Championship. The Chinese champion has underperformed since defeating April Osenio in her debut and then Teo, failing to finish promotional newcomer Laura Balin in a bizarre mismatch. In her most recent bout, she defeated Samara Santos by third-round TKO.
Lee is undefeated in her nine-fight professional career and has reigned as the atomweight champion ever since defeating Mei Yamaguchi in a brilliant five-round battle in May 2016. The 22-year-old has since defended her title against Jenny Huang and Istela Nunes, before then defeating Yamaguchi for a second time in May 2018 in another competitive five-round fight. Lee was previously scheduled to face Xiong in November but was forced to withdraw from the bout after experiencing a “serious back injury” during the week of the event.
Fantastic rematches between Aung La N Sang and Ken Hasegawa, and Kevin Belingon and Bibiano Fernandes will take place on the main card of ONE: A New Era, as well.
ONE: A New Era Fight Card
- Eduard Folayang vs. Shinya Aoki (ONE Lightweight Championship)
- Xiong Jing Nan vs. Angela Lee (ONE Strawweight Championship)
- Aung La N Sang vs. Ken Hasegawa (ONE Middleweight Championship)
- Kevin Belingon vs. Bibiano Fernandes (ONE Bantamweight Championship)
- Yuya Wakamatsu vs. Demetrious Johnson (ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Eddie Alvarez vs. Timofey Nastyukhin (ONE Lightweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Andy Souwer vs. Yodsanklai Iwe Fairtex (Kickboxing)
- Danny Kingad vs. Senzo Ikeda (ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Tatsumitsu Wada vs. Ivanildo Delfino (ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Kairat Akhmetov vs. Reece McLaren (ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
- Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Hakim Hamech
- Hiroki Akimoto vs. Joseph Lasiri (Kickboxing)
- Mei Yamaguchi vs. Kseniya Lachkova
- Anthony Engelen vs. Garry Tonon
- Panicos Yusuf vs. Mohammed Bin Mahmoud (Muay Thai)
- Yoon Chang Min vs. Bala Shetty
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.