After getting off to a great start with their promotion, ONE FC sometimes feels like it has been forgotten about by the North American MMA world. The signing of Ben Askren last year certainly made some headlines, but he’s still one of the few fighters that seems to generate a significant buzz around the organization. One of the others on that list will be competing this Friday, as Bibiano Fernandes defends his bantamweight title — and spot near the top of the 135lb rankings — against Masakatsu Ueda. Fernandes is familiar to those who have followed the Asian MMA scene for years, as the bulk of his work was done in DREAM prior to joining ONE FC. The 34-year-old was a three-time gold medallist at the Mundials before transitioning to MMA and facing the likes of Urijah Faber and ‘Kid’ Yamamoto in his first three professional bouts. After dropping bouts to those men consecutively, Fernandes has gone 14-1 and evolved from a jiu-jitsu player into a well-rounded mixed martial artist. There was a time — about five years ago, before Zuffa had exerted its dominance on the lower weight classes — when Masakatsu Ueda was one of the top ranked bantamweights in the world. He was undefeated in his first twelve fights, having faced names such as Eduardo Dantas, Takeya Mizugaki and Marcos Galvao. Ueda dropped his thirteenth due to a remarkable submission at the hands of Shuichiro Katsumura, but has rebounded nicely since, going 8-1 (including 3-0 in ONE FC). Now 36, this is one last time for Ueda to prove that he belongs among the elite bantamweights in the world. The co-main event on this card is between former ONE FC lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku, against a man who was once thought to be the great hope for Filipino MMA, Eduard Folayang. Both fighters have lost two of their last three bouts, and need a win here in order to stay relevant in ONE FC’s 155lb class. Boku has always been willing to stand try to put on exciting fights, but at 36 and against a fighter who also wants to keep things on the feet, who knows when his yet uncracked chin will give in. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for these two ONE FC 15 bouts today at Several Bookmakers: ——————– MAIN CARD (Online PPV, 8am ET) ONE FC Bantamweight Title Bibiano Fernandes -1055 Masakatsu Ueda +550 Kotetsu Boku -160 Eduard Folayang +120 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I’ll be honest, I don’t watch a lot of ONE FC, because I don’t think their product is worth paying for much of the time (although I now have Fight Network and can watch for free, so go Canada). I am familiar with all of these fighters however. Bibiano Fernandes is simply better than Ueda, who made his name years ago by being able to outwrestle opponents who simply didn’t have the tools (or size) to stop him. We saw how he struggled when he came to the US and fought Travis Marx in Bellator, because he couldn’t control where the fight took place. He’s going to have the same problem here, except Fernandes is far superior everywhere than a fighter like Marx. If it stays on the feet, Fernandes wins. If he ends up in top or bottom position, he’s the more dangerous grappler. Unless Fernandes had one of the worst camps of his life and Ueda can outlast him to win the final three rounds, I don’t see how Bibiano doesn’t retain his title. It’s steep, but I still expect most of the action here to be on Fernandes in parlays. The co-main event is a bit more intriguing. Historically Boku has been the better fighter and faced the better fighters, but the style clash here is about as good as Folayang could hope for, as he won’t have to worry about getting put on his back. Even though Boku is the older fighter (by seven years) and Folayang is in his prime, I do have to slightly side with the former champion. Boku’s unorthodox striking has given fighters problems for years and I think the same can happen against Folayang. If Folayang can use his kicks to dictate a longer range than Boku’s boxing he does have a realistic shot here, but Boku has been willing to walk through kicks to land his shots for years, and I think he can sneak a left hook in on Folayang’s chin.