Whenever the Singapore-based ONE Championship heads back to its home country, the event is a huge deal. The upcoming ONE: Edge of Greatness card will continue the long tradition of high-profile ONE events in Singapore.
It takes place on 22 November at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The headline bout is a battle between ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao taking on his countryman Saemapetch Fairtex.
Here is a look at the athletes with tons at stake.
Since he arrived with ONE, Nong-O has proven why he is an elite Muay Thai practitioner and one of the best in the world in his sport. Because of his current standing as a champion, and a member of the upper-echelon of performers, there is added pressure to win. Nong-O and others on his level always get their opponent’s best efforts. For grabbing a victory over someone of Nong-O’s ilk is the type of accomplishment that takes a martial artist to new heights.
Can Nong-O turn away another challenger hungry to take his title away?
Nong-O might be the favorite to win in the main event, but that doesn’t mean Saemapetch is competing without pressure. The line of challengers to Nong-O’s title is long. Saemapetch may only get one chance to prove he’s worthy of ONE Championship gold. If he fails, he heads to the back of a very crowded line. With such limited room for error, Saemapetch must arrive in Singapore ready to not just compete with Nong-O, he needs to be prepared to beat him.
The co-main event between Amir Khan and Ev Ting is enormous for both men. While he’s still only 24 years old, Khan is at a crossroads in his career. He’s lost three matches in a row with the most recent defeat coming via first-round knockout at the hands of Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix.
Khan has had opportunities to win the interim title, and he’s fallen short in other key spots. He should still have a long career ahead of him, but the results of this match could dictate whether Khan remains a title contender, or if he will be someone who exists on the outside of the elite class of lightweights in ONE Championship.
While a little older than Khan, Ting is in a similar position. He’s been on the cusp of a title and championship opportunities in his career but hasn’t ever gotten over the hump. Submissions have been his bugaboo in the past, but he’s also dropped a few athletes. If Ting wants to remain in the title picture, he needs to prove himself superior to Khan. As stated above, the man who comes out on the short end of the stick in this one will find himself clawing to remain close to relevance.
After an explosive debut with ONE Championship, Troy Worthen is looking to follow up that performance with another impressive outing. This time, the 26-year-old American wrestler will face the powerful Chinese striker “Rock Man” Chen Lei. Worthen has a good amount of hype surrounding him, and he needs a win to follow along the same path as another highly touted featherweight prospect, Garry Tonon.
Perhaps those two could meet sometime down the line. For now, Worthen must get past “Rock Man” in what may not be an easy assignment. There has been an influx of American prospects on the ONE roster, and some of them have struggled to make a splash. Worthen wants to make sure he excels.
Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy
The legendary Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy has had a tough, up-and-down year in 2019. He competed in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix. It appeared as though he’d defeated Giorgio Petrosyan in the first round of the tournament.
The judges initially scored the match in his favor. However, a review was ordered because of the closeness of the contest. After the review, the decision was overturned, and the result of the bout was changed to a no-contest. An immediate rematch was ordered.
In the rematch, Petrosyan came out on top and moved on to the semifinals where he’d knocked Smokin’ Jo Nattawut out. Petrosyan would then win the US$1 million prize when he scored a victory over the upset-minded Samy Sana in the finals to become the first-ever ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Champion.
That might have been a tough pill for Petchmorakot to swallow, considering he has to have felt as though he defeated Petrosyan. Still, Petchmorakot has to prove he is worthy of getting a third crack at Petrosyan down the line.
In Singapore, he’ll lock horns with the United Kingdom’s Charlie Peters. If Petchmorakot can win, he could make a case for a shot at Petrosyan. If he loses, there is no telling when or if he’ll have another chance to face “The Doctor” again.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/21/2019.