A WHOLE lot is on the line for the martial arts athletes competing at ONE: Masters of Destiny.
The exciting ONE Championship card which takes place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 12, and features some of the world’s most talented fighters, all ready to showcase their incredible skills in a single explosive night of action.
More importantly, on the card there are five fighters representing the powerhouse martial arts gym, Evolve MMA from Singapore. From Kickboxing World Champion “The Doctor” Giorgio Petrosyan to ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, Evolve MMA is well-represented on the biggest global stage of MMA competition.
While ONE: Masters of Destiny is poised to become the greatest night of martial arts in Malaysian history, it could also be a historic night for Evolve MMA as its athletes set out to steal the show.
Here’s how Evolve MMA could dominate ONE: Masters of Destiny in Kuala Lumpur.
1) Giorgio Petrosyan Advances in ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix
There’s US$1 million (RM4 million) on the line and it will go to whoever wins the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix. Giorgio Petrosyan, otherwise known as “The Doctor”, is an absolute legend in the sport. Facing a Muay Thai World Champion in Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy, Petrosyan has a tough quarter-final round ahead of him.
All eyes will be fixated on Petrosyan, now the favorite to win the entire tournament after Thai legend Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex fell in the first round. Petrosyan is expected to bring his usual striking brilliance and pinpoint accuracy into the ONE Championship ring in Kuala Lumpur.
If he can defeat the Muay Thai superstar once and for all, Petrosyan will advance to the semi-final round to face ‘Smokin’ Jo Nattawut, a fighter he has already beaten in the past.
There’s certainly a lot on the line in this highly-acclaimed Grand Prix. It’s a classic matchup of styles, the kickboxing style versus the Muay Thai style. It will take nothing less than another virtuoso performance from “The Doctor” to claim victory and move an inch close to the prestigious Grand Prix tournament title, and hefty cash prize.
2) Angela Lee Defeats BJJ Queen Michelle Nicolini
Showing the true heart of a champion, reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee from Singapore suffered the first defeat of her career last March in Tokyo, when she fell to strawweight titleholder Xiong Jing Nan. But you can’t keep a good warrior down, as Lee rises straight back up and plods forward in her new division.
Lee is determined to add the strawweight belt to her collection and become the first two-division female ONE World Champion in history.
Taking on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu queen Michelle Nicolini, Lee certainly has her hands full in her next bout. The 22-year-old from Singapore will have to brave through Nicolini’s BJJ expertise in order to nab the win.
Nicolini is one of the greatest BJJ competitors in history. The eight-time BJJ World Champion is a master of submissions, with all three of her ONE Championship victories coming by way of submission. Hailing from Sau Paulo, Brazil, Nicolini is no stranger to South East Asia, having previously lived in the region when she was an instructor teaching BJJ classes at Evolve MMA in Singapore.
Lee is hardly fazed. Having trained extensively in BJJ since she first took up martial arts, Lee is a BJJ black belt too and has six submission victories in the ONE Championship cage, incuding her signature twitster submission that she pulled off in her third professional bout. “Unstoppable” feels supremely confident that she has the skills to hang with one of the world’s best.
If Lee can defeat Nicolini, she will move on to Tokyo in October to defend her atomweight title against Xiong in another epic battle. Then a victory there would most likely earn her another shot at strawweight gold.
Needless to say, there is a tremendous lot on the line for Lee.
3) Hiroki Akimoto Brings The Best of Both Karate and Muay Thai
A former WFKO Kyokushin Karate World Champion, Hiroki Akimoto is looking to make a splash in the Muay Thai world as a member of the prestigious Evolve Fight Team from Singapore. The celebrated Japanese striker is on a mission to become a ‘master’ of Muay Thai and a ONE World Champion.
He faces Kenny “The Pitbull” Tse in the supporting card of ONE: Masters of Destiny. And on paper, it appears to be a matchup the could very well end up Bout of the Night. Both Akimoto and Tse are aggressive and skillful in their approach to fighting. They should give fans a solid three rounds of action, if it gets that far.
Akimoto is working very hard in training at Evolve MMA in Singapore under the watchful eye of their Muay Thai World Champions. Splitting their time between coaching the professional athletes of the Evolve Fight Team and teaching Muay Thai classes to students of various levels, Evolve MMA’s team of Muay Thai World Champions have an bundance of knowledge to pass on to Akimoto. For this bout, Akimoto will have Muay Thai World Champion Nonthachai Sit-O in his corner, and his coach believes the Japanese youngster has what it takes to wow the crowd. When asked about his student, Nonthachai said, “Hiroki has trained so hard for this bout and is definitely in the best shape of his career. With the power he possess, I wouldn’t be surpirsed if he is able to win this one by KO.”
Akimoto is one of the most underrated strikers in ONE Super Series. But if he can put together another dynamic performance in Malaysia, his division may abruptly take notice.
4) Troy Worthen Remains Undefeated
Joining the world’s largest martial arts organization to compete amongst the very best talent in the entire industry is one thing. Taking an unblemished 4-0 professional record and putting it on the line in an absolute shark tank is a completely different predicament.
Featherweight prospect Troy Worthen of the United States, one of the newest additions to the elite Evolve Fight Team, will take his unbeaten streak right into the ONE Championship ring when he takes on China’s “The Ghost” Chen Rui.
Worthen wrestled at the University of Central Florida and was an NCWA All-American and a Southeastern Conference Champion. Having wrestled since the age of 14, Troy has had over 400 wrestling matches. He is known for his well-rounded game and high-pressure style. He also has a brown belt in BJJ.
Taking on Chen is no easy task, as the Chinese star also maintains a perfect professional record. But as they say, “somebody’s 0’ has got to go” and Worthen is up for the challenge. As such, he is excited to make a good first impression in ONE Championship, and send a message to the rest of the featherweight division.
5) Aleksi Toivonen Earns Every Victory
27-year-old Aleksi “The Giant” Toivonen made his way to the Evolve Fight Team when Evolve MMA decided to hold the first ever Global Tryouts last November in Singapore. Toivonen impressed the coaches at Evolve and eventually earned a spot on the elite roster of talent. Now he has access to a bevy of World Champions across multiple martial arts disciplines ready to help him achieve greatness in ONE Championship.
At ONE: Masters of Destiny, Toivonen takes on Japanese veteran Akihiro “Superjap” Fujisawa and the Nordic warrior is excited to put on a show.
Toivonen is a 3x IBJJF No-Gi European Champion and a 2x Finland National Amateur MMA Champion. He has had over 150 BJJ matches and is known for his aggressive grappling-based style. He also holds a brown belt in BJJ.
With an impressive professional record of 6-1, including five wins by submission and one by knockout, Toivonen has the potential to be one of ONE Championship’s most exciting flyweight finishers. He wants to leave a mark in his promotional debut, however, so he’s looking to end the night early for Fujisawa.
Toivonen taking home the victory is the first step for Evolve MMA to dominate at ONE: Masters of Destiny. The Finnish athlete can certainly set a good pace for what should be an action-packed evening