ONE Championship: Immortal Triumph in Vietnam Full Card Revealed, With Zero MMA Bouts

Nong-O Gaiyanghadao ONE Championship
Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, Warriors of Light Credit: ONE Championship

Debuting in Vietnam next month, ONE Championship for the first time will host a card without any actual mixed martial arts fights.

ONE Championship is heading to Vietnam in September, and on Thursday, the promotion revealed the full lineup for the event. Entitled Immortal Triumph, the card will feature a ONE bantamweight Muay Thai title fight in the main event, as champ Nong-O Gaiyanghadao will take on Brice Delval.

The co-main event will also feature Muay Thai action in the bantamweight division, as Saemapetch Fairtex will face off with Rafi Bohic. The rest of the card, meanwhile, will be comprised of kickboxing and Muay Thai action, with not a single MMA fight included. That’s a first for the Asian martial arts promotion, who have frequently included ONE Super Series kickboxing and Muay Thai bouts on MMA cards, and even boxing. However, ONE has never before excluded its bread and butter.

Getting licensed in Vietnam likely played a factor. Earlier this year, ONE’s debut in the nation was billed as the first time an MMA show had come to the nation. However, it was noted at the time that “the event will have its format adjusted to ensure it fit Vietnam’s regulations.” Removing MMA entirely, mind you, removes the prestige of being the first MMA show in the nation.

Hong Kong’s Just MMA had attempted to host an MMA event in Vietnam this past June. However, the promotion was forced to scrap plans for the card. In a statement, Just MMA officials wrote that they had “received tremendous support by the local community, and with their great effort, we were able to obtain an approval from the Vietnam Sports Authority to host a “semi-MMA” event in June 2019. Since MMA is not an approved combat competition format in Vietnam, the authority has allowed some fights to be competed under adaptive MMA rules. The majority of the fights will still be carried out in traditional format, like Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Grappling…etc.”

Unfortunately, the adaptive MMA rules soon became an issue. “The number of fights under adaptive rules, and our flexibility in adopting these rules have further been restricted since the approval was given. We believe the new restriction would not allow the event to offer our spectators the exciting experience of MMA, and our fighters to demonstrate their true ability as an MMA fighter. And this would not have fulfilled JUST MMA’s commitment to bring professional MMA events to our fans, and fellow promoters and fighters.”

While ONE’s press release Thursday did not mention the rules issue directly, it seems clear that it is keeping true mixed martial arts out of the nation. That said, Immortal Triumph will feature a number of MMA stars competing in single disciplines, including former KOTC fighter Bi Nguyen in her striking debut.

ONE’s first trip to Vietnam will take place September 6 at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.

ONE Championshi: Immortal Triumph Full Card

Main Event
ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship

Nong-O Gaiyanghadao (C) vs Brice Delval
Muay Thai: 65.8kg

Saemapetch Fairtex vs Rafi Bohic
Muay Thai: 65.8kg

Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat vs Azwan Che Wil
Muay Thai: 61.2kg

Beybulat Isaev vs Anderson Silva
Kickboxing: 102.1kg

Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai vs Bobo Sacko
Muay Thai: 65.8kg

Chris Nguyen vs Yukinori Ogasawara
Muay Thai: 61.2kg

Bi Nguyen vs Puja Tomar
Muay Thai: 52.2kg

Panpayak Jitmuangnon vs Masahide Kudo
Kickboxing: 61.2kg

Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy vs Joseph Lasiri
Muay Thai: 61.2kg

Santino Verbeek vs Juan Cervantes
Kickboxing: 83.9kg

Singtongnoi Por Telakun vs Kohei Kodera
Muay Thai: 61.2kg

Amber Kitchen vs Viktoria Lipianska
Muay Thai: 56.7kg

Nguyen Thanh Tung vs Shahzaib Rindh
Kickboxing: 70.3kg

Michael Pham vs Mohamad Fakri Bin Yusoff
Muay Thai: 70.3kg