ONE FC 8 Betting Preview

Shinya AokiWith seven shows under their belt, the self-proclaimed biggest MMA show in Asia has lived up to it’s monstrous hype over the last eighteen months with show after show of hard-hitting action. Some of the fighters on the card may not be recognizable names to the western audience, but the main card of ONE FC: Kings and Champions is damn solid, and it should be a fun event. But then, anytime soccer kicks are allowed it should be fun, right? In the main event, ONE FC puts it’s lightweight title on the line as Japanese legend, Shinya Aoki (32-6-1), makes his return to Singapore to nab another submission. Aoki is a name all MMA fans know. He’s the current DREAM lightweight champion (for what it’s worth as the company is in limbo), the former Shooto welterweight champ, WAMMA lightweight champ, and has a highlight reel that looks like a lesson in brutality. Aoki, simply put, is a ground ace. He can catch you with a submission anywhere and won’t let go until something breaks. Stylistically, his opponent is the exact opposite of Shinya. Champion Kotetsu Boku is a kickboxer by trade, and has spent the vast majority of his near thirty fight career in the Shooto organization. Boku is a crafty vet, but he has trouble putting away fights early, and doesn’t do well facing top competition, which Aoki is. Aoki is two fights removed from a loss at the hands of Eddie Alvarez, and he may try to display some of the new found Muay Thai skills he’s learned since switching up training camps. Unsurprisingly, over at Several Bookmakers Aoki opened as a massive favorite at -780 (bet $780 to win $100) while Boku is a sizeable underdog at +460 (bet $100 to win $460). Brock Larson (36-7) returns to a bigger stage for the first time since being ousted from the UFC nearly four years ago, and he looks to raise eyebrows if he can pull off a win over arguably the deadliest striker in the game — Melvin Manhoef (27-9-1-1). Melvin owns the highest knockout percentage of any prominent fighter in history, with 25 of his 27 wins via knockout. Brock Larson obviously knows this, and he will more than likely be looking to bring the fight to the ground as soon as possible. Larson has 26 career submissions, and if he has his way, by the end of the night it will be 27. Melvin will do his best to use his speed to stay away from Larson and finish the fight quickly on the feet. One thing to mention: ONE FC has Pride rules, which allows soccer kicks and knees to the head of an opponent, so if Manhoef can stuff a few takedowns he has offensive options from the sprawl position that wouldn’t be available if this fight was taking place in North America. With Manhoef being the bigger of the two fighters, he may have a better chance of keeping this on the feet, and as such was made a -260 favorite, with Larson a +180 underdog. The ONE FC bantamweight tournament semifinals kick off the main card, with legendary lightweight pioneer Jens Pulver (27-17-1) taking on Maskatsu Ueda (16-2-2). Pulver is no doubt past his prime, but he still holds serious power in his left hand and aside from a tendency to get tapped in precarious positions, has the ability to still dominate smaller men on the ground. Ueda is a seven year Shooto veteran who is well-rounded, but not especially deadly in any area. Pulver will have to explode early and avoid the deep waters if he wants to get past Ueda, who has seen 11 decisions and 2 draws over his career. Once again, it’s important to note that Jens loves Pride rules, and he was one of the first to use the sprawl and brawl style effectively. If Ueda shoots, look for Pulver to sprawl then follow up with big knees to the head, and if that doesn’t work out, Pulver will definitely be looking for a soccer kick. Ueda will have to get close early and wear out Pulver from the outset. Pulver’s recent struggles had him open as a +205 underdog, with Ueda as a -285 favorite. On the other side of the bantamweight tournament bracket, Thanh Vu (3-1) takes on Filipino hero Kevin Belingon (10-2). Vu is coming off a brutal stomp and soccer kick win over Mohd Fouzein at the last ONE FC event, and the young up and comer out of Australia hopes to repeat his performance to get to the finals quickly and safely. Standing in his way though, is Kevin Belingon, who is only 1-2 in ONE FC thus far, suffering the first losses of his career in his first two ONE FC bouts. Belingon has a deep gast tank, has excellent movement on the feet, and can hit hard. Frankly, there is so little information on Vu that this is a hard matchup to dissect, but Belingon could be trouble for the still green Vu. Belingon has a decent ground game, but he shines on his feet. We’ll see if he can stay on them with Vu trying to bring him down. Being the more known commodity, Belingon opened as a -265 favorite, with the comeback on Vu +185.

Written by Jason Nawara

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