Asia’s largest sports media property and the world’s most exciting mixed martial arts (MMA) organization, ONE Championship (ONE), has just intensified its highly-anticipated return to Jakarta with the announcement of eight exciting new bouts. ONE: Odyssey of Champions, which takes place at the Istora Senayan indoor arena on Sept. 27, will showcase a band of the organization’s top stars competing at the highest levels of the sport.
In the main event of the evening, ONE featherweight world champion Narantungalag Jadambaa of Mongolia will defend his title against fast-rising Russian star Marat “Cobra” Gafurov. Tickets are available on www.kiosktix.com and at all 7-11 stores (Sevelin kiosk).
In addition, ONE has agreed to a partnership with Indonesian media giant Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) Group. MNC Group will help ONE bring world class MMA action to fans in Indonesia, with ONE: Odyssey of Champions being broadcast live on RCTI starting at 10:30 p.m.
ONE is also excited to announce a partnership with AQUA, a home appliances brand from Japan.
CEO of ONE Championship, Victor Cui, state that "Odyssey of Champions already has the makings of yet another phenomenal night of world class mixed martial arts action. We have some amazing partners here in Jakarta such as MNC, Haier and Kawasaki and together we will bring to local MMA fans one of the strongest cards of the year, featuring some of the most compelling matchups we’ve had thus far.”
“With everything from a world championship title fight to fast and furious flyweight competition and powerful light heavyweight contenders facing off, ONE: Odyssey of Champions is shaping up to be an absolute spectacle. Fans of mixed martial arts would not want to miss what goes down in Jakarta on Sept. 27!”
Narantungalag Jadambaa (10-3), a champion kickboxer from Mongolia, captured the ONE Featherweight World Championship by decision over Japanese stalwart Koji Oishi in 2014. Since then, he has returned home and tapped back into his roots, honing his craft. Fans can expect a much-improved world champion in Narantungalag when he returns to face a tough test in Marat Gafurov.
Gafurov (11-0) is undefeated as a mixed martial artist and is one of the fastest-rising stars in ONE Championship. The Russian M-1 featherweight champion is unbeaten inside the ONE cage and has won four of his last five within the distance. Gafurov equips himself with a complete striking arsenal and complements it with a tenacious grappling game, having submitted seven of his 11 total opponents in the cage. He now fights for the opportunity to seize the ONE Featherweight World Championship from defending champion Narantungalag.
Expect also to see phenomenal featherweight action when grappling specialist Herbert “The Blaze” Burns (5-0) takes on the explosive Timofey Nastyukhin (9-1).
Burns, a three-time Brazilian National No-Gi Champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), has set ONE Championship ablaze with exciting victories since making his promotional debut in December 2013. Representing the renowned Evolve Fight Team out of Singapore, Burns is an outstanding athlete who is unbeaten as a professional. An outstanding grappler, he will make sure Russian standout Timofey Nastyukhin has his hands full on fight night.
For his part, Nastyukhin has exploded onto the scene at ONE Championship, recording a pair of first-round TKO wins. He will no doubt have designs on a similar outcome against the outstanding Burns. Having never seen the second round in his ten-fight career, Nastyukhin is a bonafide lightning-fast finisher who has already impressed by running through the likes of Eduard Folayang and Yusuke Kawanago.
A middleweight showdown between Leandro “Leo” Ataides (8-1) and undefeated Russian newcomer Aleksei Butorin(9-0) also awaits fans, with the Brazilian Ataides looking to record his third victory inside the ONE cage.
Having scored successive knockout wins over Brayan Rafiq and Judo practitioner Tatsuya Mizuno, Ataides fought for the ONE Middleweight World Championship in a blistering encounter with Igor Svirid. Ataides now looks to inflict a first career defeat on the record of St. Petersburg-based powerhouse Aleksei Butorin, who has run roughshod over competitors across multiple weight classes, including much larger heavyweights. Butorin's perfect record is made even more impressive by the fact that he has finished all nine of his opponents, eight of them by knockout. With 12 knockout victories between them, expect fireworks from these heavy-handed warriors.
A light heavyweight clash between Jake Butler (5-1) and Cristiano Kaminishi (8-2) is also on the card, with New Jersey native Butler facing his most experienced opponent to date.
Butler, who avenged his sole career defeat last time out, is a former junior freestyle wrestling All-American, and has competed in US Open and Olympic qualifiers before dedicating himself full time to MMA. Since linking up with ONE, Butler has enjoyed tremendous success, and now faces a man who is also used to competing at the highest level in his chosen discipline.
A former Pan-American jiu-jitsu champion, as well as an Asian Cup winner, Cristiano Kaminishi fought most of his career at heavyweight before dropping to 205 pounds for his ONE Championship debut last year.
If that isn't enough, Jakarta will also see Andrew Leone (7-2) square off against Yusup “Maestro” Saadulaev (13-4-1, 1NC) at flyweight.
Italian-American Leone is a former All-State collegiate wrestler with multiple BJJ tournament wins to his name, and is currently 2-0 inside the ONE cage. Training at the Bali Muay Thai and MMA fight team, Leone has had great success in Asian combat sports, most recently posting a career-best win over top-ranked flyweight Shinichi “BJ” Kojima. Leone looks to take another giant stride towards the uppermost echelons of the division at the expense of dangerous Dagestani submission specialist Saadulaev.
With five ONE fights already under his belt, Saadulaev is equally comfortable at both bantamweight and flyweight, with an aspiration to hold titles across both divisions. A victory over Leone will bring him a step closer to ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes, whose sole career defeat came at the hands of the “Maestro” at ONE: Warrior Spirit.
A meeting between lightweight veterans Arnaud “The Game” Lepont (11-4) and Vincent “Magnivincent” Latoel (15-16-2) has cross-continental appeal, with Frenchman Lepont looking to out-duel Dutch-born Golden Glory representative, Latoel. The two fighters meet at ONE: Odyssey of Champions at a 68-kilogram catchweight bout.
With his fights having never gone to the judges’ scorecards, Arnaud Lepont’s appearances inside the cage are often short-lived affairs with his most recent victory over Suasday Chau lasting only two minutes and 21 seconds. On the other hand, Vincent Latoel can account for impressive victories over Willy Ni and Eddie Ng in a combined time of just over five minutes. A 14-year veteran of professional MMA, Latoel is a viable contender in the lightweight division with 13 finishes to his name.
The ONE debut of 19-year old Tajik bantamweight Muin Gafurov (5-0) against Casey Suire (5-1) is an extremely interesting proposition, with Gafurov looking to maintain his perfect record consisting solely of first round submission finishes.
Undoubtedly an outstanding grappler, teenage prodigy Gafurov will clash with another top prospect with lethal submission skills as Louisiana's Casey Suire looks to win his third ONE Championship bout. Having taken on highly-touted veteran Mark Streigl last time out, Suire may have the edge in experience inside the ONE cage, but Gafurov will look for a way to overcome that come fight night.
Fight fans in Jakarta will also get a taste of some local flavor when Sunoto (2-1) takes on Mario Satya Wirawan (2-1).
Sunoto is an Indonesian featherweight standout and a local fight sports hero. He specializes in striking and has one of the most ferocious stand-up games in the region. One of the most talented Indonesian mixed martial artists on ONE Championship’s roster, Sunoto can lead the charge for his country as he takes on fellow Indonesian, Mario Satya Wirawan.
Mario is a former university football player who developed a passion for combat just a few years ago. Since then, he’s impressed crowds by showcasing his knack for striking. With a newfound love for MMA, Mario now finds himself in Asia’s largest MMA organization, ONE Championship, against Sunoto.
Finally, Pakistan's Bashir Ahmad (3-2) will face unbeaten Australian Martin Nguyen (4-0) at featherweight, with Ahmad looking to add to wins over Thai prospects Shannon Wiratchai and Tanaphong Khunhankaew. His job will not be made easy by Nguyen, who dispatched previously undefeated Filipino stand out Rocky Batolbatol in his ONE Championship debut late last year.
With no fewer than five flawless records on the line, the stakes could not be higher for ONE's elite athletes. Expect an intense night jammed full of hard-hitting action as ONE Championship once again prepares to electrify Jakarta on Sept. 27.
Loren Mack is a volunteer member of the prestigious Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame (NVBHOF), a member of Community Unity of Sullivan County, New York, and has been an integral part of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) industry for years now. He now serves as the director of public relations for ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) headquartered in Singapore. Follow him at @LorenMackBlog