Potential opponents for Zebaztian Kadestam

Zebaztian Kadestam

Reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian Kadestam successfully defended his title against the rugged, talented and well-rounded Georgy Kichigin at ONE: Reign of Valor in March.

Kadestam put on a stellar performance as Kichigin, who seemed to have control of the bout early, was unable to answer the bell for the third round after receiving a nasty elbow from the champion.

It was Kadestam’s first successful title defense and first fight after scoring a fifth-round KO over Tyler McGuire to win the championship, which Ben Askren vacated when ONE traded him for Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

Kadestam has managed two wins over the span of five months, but ONE hasn’t announced when his next defense will be and who it will be against.

Who should Zebaztian Kadestam fight next? 

Let’s take a look at a few potential fighters who can challenge ZebaztianKadestam for his title.

Dae Sung Park

The 25-year-old South Korean has an 8-2 record overall, and is 2-0 with ONE Championship. He’s still building experience as a professional, but he has shown the skills that can put him on a track to contend for a title.

One can say he probably isn’t quite ready just yet, but the unanimous-decision win over Trestle Tan in July 2018 at ONE: Pursuit of Power should boost his chances at a title shot. If he doesn’t get the opportunity in his next bout, we might see Park matched up with someone else included in this list.

Kiamrian Abbasov

Abbasov recently scored perhaps the biggest win of his career when he upset UFC veteran Yushin Okami at ONE: For Honor earlier this month.

Abbasov is a 25-year-old talent from Kyrgyzstan who has shown a propensity for finishes. Nine of his 20 professional wins have come by stoppage. ONE thinks very highly of Abbasov, especially after victories over Okami and Malaysia’s Agilan Thani. He’s incredibly well-rounded and with his resume, might have just earned a shot at Zebaztian Kadestam.

James Nakashima

Perhaps the most sensible challenger for Kadestam is the American Nakashima, who took out the tough and talented Luis Santos at ONE: Roots of Honor in April. It would appear he and Kadestam might be on the same schedule–or at least close to it. The matchup with Santos, who had become a bit of a gatekeeper for the ONE welterweight division, proved to be a test of sorts for Nakashima which he passed after scoring a TKO victory.

Nakashima has a perfect 11-0 record, winning both of his bouts with ONE. Matching him with Kadestam sometime this summer or fall seems logical.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/24/2019.