ONE FC 9 Preview

ONE FC 9 PosterONE FC is back with yet another stacked event as Asia’s premiere fighting organization. From top to bottom, the card is filled with some names you couldn’t possibly forget and others that are huge on the Asian circuit. When combined, it’s a recipe for a great day of fights as ONE FC rarely puts on a boring card. In the main event of the evening, Filipino fighter Honorio Banario (8-1) takes on Koji Oishi (23-9-10) in a fight for the featherweight strap. Banario defeated Erick Kelley at ONE FC: Return of the Warriors in February with a wayward eye injury to take Kelley’s title, and now he defends it for the first time against Japanese and Pancrase vet Koji Oishi. 35-year-old Oishi has fought just about everyone you could imagine, losing his sole UFC appearance to Nick Diaz at UFC 53 after famously trying to punch Nick Diaz’s punches, then in his next fight he beat Nick’s brother Nate in the finals of the Neo Blood Pancrase tournament finals. Oishi has other losses to the likes of Carlos Condit, and many others, so you can bet that in this featherweight bout, he’s carrying the experience and size necessary to win. Banario is quite the fighter however, he’s extremely versatile, fast and has finishing power in his hands as well as a decent grappling game. Don’t let Oishi’s record fool you, he’s a game opponent for the 23-year-old Banario’s first strap defense, but there’s a reason ONE FC has put the youngster in front of his hometown fans here, they expect him to get the job done. For the interim ONE FC bantamweight title, Bibiano Fernandes (13-4) looks to maintain the form that has seen him ranked as the top bantamweight outside of the UFC. Fernandes looks to add the ONE FC title to his existing DREAM title. This will be Fernandes’ first appearance in 2013, and he is undefeated in the past two years. His opponent is Koetsu Okazaki (8-2) a Shooto vet with a mean streak. Okazaki has a great clinch game and can grapple with the best of them but, like many Japanese fighters that fit that description, has trouble finishing fights. Okazaki, like Fernandes is coming off a loss, so both of these men will probably try to put on a spectacular performance to remind people why they are here. Fernandes is no doubt the more well-rounded of the two fighters, but this has potential to be a long, and dragged out fight for the strap. In the next fight of the night, former UFC champ, Tim Sylvia (31-8-1), looks to get back on the winning track after losing to Satoshi Ishii last New Year’s Eve. His opponent is a beast in Tony Johnson (6-1). Johnson is a former Iowa State University fullback who’s only loss comes at the hands of current heavyweight tough guy Daniel Cormier. Sylvia is getting up there in age, approaching 38-years-old, while Johnson is no spring chicken either, and hasn’t fought a professional MMA fight in nearly two years. The pressure is on him to come out and defeat Sylvia handily. Sylvia is looking for one last title run, and hopes it’s in ONE FC, and aside from his lumbering style and lack of a gas tank, his experience may be able to win him this fight. But, Johnson was the next big thing at one point before his career was sidelined by injury. Finally, the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix tournament comes to a close, as Shooto vet Masakatsu Ueda (17-2-2) fresh off a win over Jens Pulver, takes on Filipino Kevin Belingon (11-2). Ueda regularly puts on grappling clinics for his fans, smothering his opponents like a constrictor, while Belingon has been goaded into wild brawls in all four of his ONE FC fights, two of which he’s lost. This is a clash of styles, as Ueda will look to close the distance and take Belingon down, while Belingon will try to explode early and take Ueda out of his game, which will be tough to do to the savvy vet. UFC vet and wild MMA personality, Phil Baroni (15-16), is next on the card, taking on Nobutatsu Suzuki (9-1-2). Baroni loves the ONE FC rules with the soccer kicks and stomps allowed, and if he can stuff an initial takedown of Suzuki’s, Baroni is dangerous in the first round. He has knockout power and a ring savvy that can help him win in these ONE FC rules. However, Suzuki has only tasted defeat once, and has 9 knockouts to his name. If he plays Baroni’s game and engages early, it could be a short night for either competitor, but as the fight heads into deeper waters, it’s Baroni and his small gas tank that’s in trouble. This should be a slugfest. This card also features notable Asian fighters like Eduard Folayang taking on UFC and WEC vet Kamal Shalorus, and one of the participants of the inaugural UFC Flyweight tournament, Yasuhiro Urushitani, taking on Rey Docyogen in his first bout since being cut from the UFC. Overall, another stacked card from the promotion that looks set to deliver some fireworks.

Written by Jason Nawara

Leave a Reply

The At Odds MMA Show – Episode 1 Now Available!

ONE FC 9 Opening Betting Odds