The ONE: Masters of Fate card is set for November 8 in Manila, Philippines. The event will be punctuated by a ONE Strawweight World Championship bout. Filipino Joshua Pacio will put his title on the line against his countryman Rene Catalan. The event will also see the return of former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang as he tries to bounce back from consecutive losses.
Folayang will face Mongolia’s next serious mixed martial arts contender in Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu. This is a must-win situation for Folayang. A three-bout losing streak would be disastrous for anyone, but it will be especially damaging to Folayang.
He’s 36 years old and could be running out of time to remain a top title contender. Another proud and famous Filipino warrior set to compete is former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio. He’s coming off a first-round KO loss to Yuya Wakamatsu. Eustaquio will be looking to avenge a previous loss to Toni Tauru.
Two-sport champion Stamp Fairtex wants to continue her pursuit of a title in a third sport. She takes a step up in competition when she meets the Vietnamese-American striker Bi Nguyen. One of Stamp’s previous victims, Alma Juniku continues her promising Muay Thai career when she battles Germany’s Anne Line Hogstad.
Here are my predictions for all of the top main card bouts on the ONE: Masters of Fate card.
Stamp Fairtex vs. Bi Nguyen
Nguyen has more experience in mixed martial arts than Stamp has in that discipline. However, the disparity might be a bit deceiving. Stamp isn’t coming into the bout with Nguyen as green as most with her mixed martial arts record. She’s had countless matches against top competition in Muay Thai and kickboxing. She also has significant main event shows.
Nguyen’s only chance to win would appear to be on the ground, but Stamp has worked tirelessly to make that a strength of her game. We all know she is an elite-level striker, but in her last match, Stamp proved she is no stranger to a grappling match. No matter where Nguyen takes action, expect Stamp to be able to handle it.
Geje Eustaquio vs. Toni Tauru
When you look at win-loss records, Eustaquio doesn’t jump out at you as an elite martial artist. However, most who have shared the ONE Circle with him, including ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes, can attest Eustaquio is a tough out. He is in a bit of funk at the moment and is badly in need of a win.
He’ll be in a position to tackle two issues at once against Tauru. The latter won their first meeting back in 2016, but quite honestly, he’s had very little success in his career since that win. With so much on the line for Eustaquio and Tauru in a tailspin, this is the perfect redemption setup. Bank on Eustaquio finishing Tauru with strikes in the first or second round. The victory should be just what the doctor ordered for the former champion.
Eduard Folayang vs. Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu
This bout feels like the end of Folayang as a significant contender. Tsogookhuu is more of a striker. That’s a style that should benefit Folayang, who prefers to stand and exchange blows in his matches. However, Tsogookhuu is younger, stronger, and in a position to come up with the biggest win of his career. As he looks to follow in the footsteps of Narantungalag Jadambaa as the next face of Mongolian martial arts, predict he pulls the upset win over Folayang in his home country.
Tsogookhuu will win by stunning KO in the first or second round.
Joshua Pacio vs. Rene Catalan
At just 23 years old, Pacio could become one of his promotion’s longest-reigning champions. He has just begun his reign. A significant step was recapturing his title from Yosuke Saruta. That loss and resurgence helped to build great character. Pacio is the younger and more athletic competitor in this matchup.
Catalan is the most experienced of his large clan, but at 40 years old, and with a slight size disadvantage, he won’t be able to match the skills or physical gifts that Pacio brings into the ONE Circle. Expect Pacio to punctuate the event with a victory.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/6/2019.