Why watch ‘ONE: A New Era’ on March 31, 2019

'ONE: A New Era' fight card

On March 31, 2019 from Tokyo Japan, ONE Championship will put on the greatest show in its promotion’s history, and arguably the best of the year in mixed martial arts.

“ONE: A New Era” will feature three co-main events, four World Title bouts, and two epic promotional debuts. If that wasn’t enough, the show also features a fantasy-like kickboxing bout (Andy Souwer vs Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex), along with a match featuring perhaps the greatest female mixed martial artist in Japanese history in Mei Yamaguchi.

Here is a look at the entire card with a word on the top bouts and why you should watch.

  • Sunday, 31 March
  • Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan


  • Main Event
  • ONE Lightweight World Championship
  • Eduard Folayang (C) vs Shinya Aoki
  • Mixed Martial Arts: 77.1kg

Rematch will be the word of the day in Japan. There are three of them and none bigger than the battle for the ONE Lightweight World Title.

Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang owns a stoppage win over Shinya Aoki from their first meeting back in November 2016. At the time, Aoki was champion and he looked unbeatable as he mowed down every opponent he faced in the lightweight division. The resilient and conditioned Folayang wouldn’t be denied and his constant pressure led to the TKO victory and his first title reign.

Folayang has since lost the title and regained it while Aoki battled through the toughest patch of his glorious career to ascend back to the mountaintop. Now he will challenge for the World Title against the man who dethroned him, and Aoki will do it in front of his adoring countrymen in Japan. It would be hard for any bout on the card to follow this one, so it’s good it is the main event.

  • Co-Main Event
  • ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship
  • Xiong Jing Nan (C) vs Angela Lee
  • Mixed Martial Arts: 56.7kg

You know the main event has to be special if a champion-vs-champion superfight is the co-main event. ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee will put her undefeated professional record on the line as she climbs up to strawweight to challenge Xiong Jing Nan for her ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title.

Lee has battled past Japanese legend Mei Yamaguchi on two occasions but this battle with the powerful Xiong will be the biggest challenge of Unstoppable’s short, but impressive career thus far.

Ever since Xiong arrived in ONE, she’s done nothing but dominate her opponents. She too will be facing her toughest test. Which world-class martial artist will emerge victoriously?

  • Co-Main Event
  • ONE Middleweight World Championship
  • Aung La N Sang (C) vs Ken Hasegawa
  • Mixed Martial Arts: 93.0kg

As mentioned earlier, rematches are aplenty on this card.

In 2018, ONE Middleweight World Champion Aung La N Sang and Japan’s Ken Hasegawa battled in the Bout of the Year.

Aung La successfully defended his World title after securing a fifth-round KO, but Hasegawa represented himself well. Now Hasegawa will get a rematch with the “Burmese Python”, but this time, the scrap takes place in the challenger’s home country.

Can Aung La duplicate his performance, or has Hasegawa found some answers, and is he capable of using his fans’ energy to supplant Aung La as champion?

This figures to be another brawl and it could steal the show.

  • Co-Main Event
  • ONE Bantamweight World Championship
  • Kevin Belingon (C) vs Bibiano Fernandes
  • Mixed Martial Arts: 65.8kg

Yet another rematch comes our way here, and this one is the third bout in the series between reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon and Bibiano Fernandes.

In 2018, Belingon avenged a submission loss to Fernandes in their first meeting. Belingon took the bout by a narrow decision, and because of Fernandes’ long-standing reign as bantamweight king, he was awarded an immediate rematch.

With Belingon’s margin of victory far smaller than what Fernandes enjoyed in their bout, there is something for the Filipino warrior to prove. Brazil’s Fernandes wants nothing more than to win his title back, and both men want to win the series. On most cards, this would be the main event. On March 31, 2019, it will be the first co-main event.

  • ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix (Quarter-Final)
  • Demetrious Johnson vs Yuya Wakamatsu
  • Mixed Martial Arts: 61.2kg

The debut of legendary 12-time Flyweight Mixed Martial Arts World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson will be the last non-title bout on the card. He faces local hero Yuya Wakamatsu in his promotional debut and it will be one of the more highly-anticipated first looks in mixed martial arts history.

Johnson is still widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artists in the world, and he’ll be looking to show that against Wakamatsu.

  • ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix (Quarter-Final)
  • Eddie Alvarez vs Timofey Nastyukhin
  • Mixed Martial Arts: 77.1kg

“The Underground King” Eddie Alvarez is in the same situation as Johnson. He’s a former multiple-time Mixed Martial Arts World Champion making his ONE Championship debut and looking to make a statement.

Alvarez faces Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin in the first round of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix. He is expected to challenge for ONE’s gold at some point, and perhaps become the first man to win a world title in the three major global mixed martial arts promotions.

Nastyukhin represents Alvarez’s first impediment, as he had constantly asked for the toughest most dangerous opponent available. Nastyukhin certainly fits that bill. Expect a tremendous war of attrition in this exciting lightweight matchup.

Manny Pacquiao partners with Ringstar Asia in first co-promoted event to take place in Manila on March 23, 2019 in Resorts World Manila

Scott Farrell, Manny Pacquiao
Scott Farrell, Manny Pacquiao

Eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao is set to step up his game as a promoter with his first co-promoted venture with Singapore-based boxing promotion Ringstar Asia. The first co-promoted fight of his MP Promotions is set to take place at Resorts World Manila in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on March 23, 2019.

“I love your vision with Ringstar Asia,” Pacquiao told Ringstar Asia founder and CEO Scott Farrell. “We are looking forward to working with you to build the next world champions in boxing.”

The fight card will be headlined by International Boxing Organization Bantamweight Champion Michael “Gloves on Fire” Dasmarinas, who is under Ringstar’s banner. He is set to face Kenny Demecillo in an International Boxing Federation world title eliminator.

Initially, Dasmarinas’s fight was set in Singapore. It was reset and launched as the headliner in the initial salvo of Pacquiao and Farrell.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to launch the partnership between Ringstar and Manny Pacquiao Promotions,” Farrell stated. “Who wouldn’t take the chance to launch a partnership with the one and only eight-division world champion and Senator Manny Pacquiao? I would have moved my event to an even earlier date or to Mars if I had to.  The man is a fighting legend and highly respected all over the world and across all sports.”

The fight also features top Singaporean boxer Muhamad “The Chosen Wan” Ridhwan, who currently holds a professional boxing record of 11 wins and 1 loss. He will face Cris Leon.

Here are the other matches on the fight card:

  • Junior flyweight: Ronnie Balnonado vs Elias Joaquino
  • Junior welterweight: Lei Wang vs Adam Diu Abdulhamid
  • Junior bantamweight: Aries Buenavidez vs Lony Cadayday
  • Flyweight: Juston Darap vs Enrique Magsalin
  • Minimumweight: Jayson Brillo vs Joel Cago
  • Flyweight: Raymark Jay Ibones vs Henry Lumanan
  • Junior bantamweight: Luis Borje vs Bernie Aday

Meanwhile, here is Ridhwan in a workout in the Philippines in 2018:

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Website: https://ringstar-boxing.com/ 

Brave CF fighters light up Resorts World Manila during ‘Brave 22: Storm of Warriors’ open workouts

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Two days before Brave Combat Federation officially debuts in the Philippines, six of the 18 “Brave 22: Storm of Warriors” contenders lit up the passionate crowd inside the Newport Mall in Resorts World Manila in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The venue is one of the Bahrain-based mixed martial arts promotion’s entertainment partners for the groundbreaking show.

The “Brave 22: Storm of Warriors” fight night will take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on March 15, 2019. During the open workouts, the six athletes including Brave CF Bantamweight Champion Stephen “The Sniper” Loman, 23, of the Philippines and his challenger Elias “Smile” Boudegzdame, 25, of France, the six athletes showcased some of their skills and a little of what can be expected of them on fight night.

As expected, the Filipino fighters received the greatest applause. Loman was one of the most celebrated fighters by the fans as well as his Team Lakay teammate Jeremy “The Juggernaut” Pacatiw, 22, who takes on countryman Mark “The Ruthless” Alcoba, 27.

Loman and Boudegzdame will headline “Brave 22: Storm of Warriors.” In the co-main event, Cian “The Warrior” Cowley, 25, and John Brewin, 24, of Auckland, New Zealand will compete in the lightweight division.

Cowley and Brewin were well received by the crowd during the open workouts. Rolando Gabriel “Dy Incredible” Dy, 28, of the Philippines was also in the event along with his opponent Mehmosh “The Renegade” Raza, 23, of Pakistan.

After the open workouts, the athletes sat down to answer fan and media questions with Brave CF commentator Kirik Jenness at the helm. Boudegzdame was the only one missing from the fighters who did the early open workouts.

Dy lit up the crowd when he talked about the pride he feels in representing his own country at Brave CF. He said, “I’ll be honest; “I was always an average student.”

“I got my college degree because I had to,” Dy confessed. “I was an average basketball player and an awful dancer. Fighting is what I really know; it’s what I love. Being able to be here and representing my country back to Brave, it’s amazing.”

Training out of Bali MMA in Bali, Indonesia, Brewin shared what it meant to him to fight in Manila and promised to put on a show for the Filipino fans. He said, “I’m living the dream.”

“Two years ago, I was here in Manila, cornering one of my good friends and teammate at Bali MMA,” Brewin recalled. “I thought one day, I’ll get back here for my own fight. I never thought it’d be so fast though.”

“I went from all kinds of temporary jobs to co-headlining a card in Manila,” Brewin continued. “I know a lot of people say that their stories are all about struggle and overcoming but that’s nothing but the truth in my case. I live for fighting; I’m here to put on a show and I’ll fight until my last breath.”


Eddie Alvarez vs Eduard Folayang?

Eddie Alvarez (© ONE Championship)
Eddie Alvarez (© ONE Championship)

Multiple-time Lightweight Mixed Martial Arts World Champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez is on a mission for the ONE Lightweight World Title. The title is currently held by Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, who is training out of Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines.

Since joining ONE Championship in 2018, Alvarez has made his plans to go after the belt crystal clear. As he finally makes his ONE Championship debut this 31 March at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan, his goal comes even closer in proximity.

On the main card of ONE: A NEW ERA, Alvarez faces Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin in a quarter-final bout of the highly-anticipated ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix. The American is quick to remind fans of his success rate in the tournament format.

“I have traveled the world in the last 15 years fighting the best guys I can get my hands on everywhere,” Alvarez said. “I have won every single World Title from every major organization and ONE Championship is the only organization that I don’t have their World Title.”

Alvarez has indeed traveled the world and has defeated some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts. The 35-year-old owns victories over the likes of Shinya Aoki, Roger Huerta, Gilbert Melendez, Anthony Pettis, Rafael Dos Anjos, and Justin Gaethje.

Moving halfway across the world to showcase his skills in Asia, Alvarez acknowledges the talent level in ONE Championship, and is not underestimating the competition. He knows exactly what he is up against, having competed in Asia early in his career. Nevertheless, “The Underground King” fully expects to add another World Title to his trophy case.

“I am coming here to win my World Title,” Alvarez said. “I have made some space on my shelf for the ONE Championship belt. I know the fighters are tough and this group understands the integrity of the sport and what it means to be a martial artist and I want to be a part of that.”

Alvarez takes the first step towards the ONE Lightweight World Title at ONE: A NEW ERA. If he can defeat Nastyukhin, Alvarez will advance to the semi-final round where fellow American Lowen Tynanes is waiting.

Tynanes absolutely smashed the Philippines’ Honorio “The Rock” Banario earlier this year to advance in the tournament, and could be another tough test for Alvarez. However, Alvarez is not looking past his Russian opponent at the moment, and says he had himself asked for an opponent of Nastyukhin’s ilk for his ONE debut.

“Like I said before, I’ll fight anyone, whoever the baddest, toughest, most dangerous guy that’s who I want,” Alvarez concluded. “Take me to him and we will have a good fight.”

“ONE: A New Era” is the first ONE Championship event to be held in Japan. In the main event, Folayang will defend his belt from Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, 35, of Japan in a rematch.

Meanwhile, here is Alvarez in a recent ONE Championship open workout in Tokyo: