ONE: Spirit of Champions will unfold at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City today.
The main event is an inaugural ONE heavyweight world championship bout between Filipino-American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Brandon “The Truth” Vera and Chinese fighter Paul Cheng.
Cheng is a last minute replacement after Chi Lewis Parry “failed to submit his medical results and his drug tests for the fight” according to ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui.
“Additionally, he decided not to board the plane departing from London to Manila. He will not be fighting this Friday,” added Cui.
In the other match, Filipino bantamweight Mark “Mugen” Striegl will face another replacement, XFL bantamweight champion Reece Mclaren after Australian Jordan Lucas got injured.
The other featured matches in the flyweight divisions are Team Lakay’s wushu stylist Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio against Big King’s top Chinese flyweight prospect Yang Jian Bing, Filipino flyweight champion Eugene Toquero of Toquero Mixed Martial Arts against ONE Beijing flyweight tournament 2014 champion Li Wei Bin, former sanshou fighter Ruel Catalan versus Brazilian grappler Alex Silva, and Filipina fighter Ana “Hurricane” Julaton versus Russian kick boxer and five-time wushu world champion Irina Mazepa.
The other fighters seeing action are Singaporean MMA darling Angela “Unstoppable” Lee, which will fight Poland’s Lena Tkhorevska in the strawweight division. Meanwhile, two-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu no-gi champion Bruno Pucci will return to the ONE cage after a year-long break facing IFC lightweight champion Anthony Englenen for the featherweight title. Lastly, Christian Lee will make his MMA debut in a featherweight bout against Australian David Meak.
“2015 has been an amazing year and we’ve seen so many different things, climbed new heights while breaking barriers and spreading the ideals of the MMA discipline,” said Cui.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID