ONE Championship: Collision Course Preview

Troy Worthen vs Mark Fairtex Abelardo ONE Championship
Troy Worthen vs Mark Fairtex Abelardo Credit: ONE Championship

Airing live this Friday in Kallang, Singapore, ONE Championship: Collision Course boasts a pair of title fights in Muay Thai and kickboxing atop the card. Before the action kicks off, let’s take a look at who is meeting inside the ONE cage on the mixed martial arts side of things.

First, Cambodia-born Chan Rothana (7-3) faces Wei Xie (5-3). Then the carnage continues with Tatsumitsu Wada (22-11-2) taking on Thailand’s Yodkaikaew Fairtex (6-2-1).

After that, the main card heats up with a bantamweight banger, as the young, undefeated upstart Troy Worthen (7-0) goes against the seasoned veteran Yusup Saadulaev (19-5-1). The final mixed martial arts bout concludes with yet another undefeated fighter in Lowen Tynanes (10-0) toeing the line against the grappling specialist, Marat Gafurov (17-3).

ONE Championship: Collision Course – MMA Bouts

Chan Rothana vs. Wei Xie

Rothana enters the bout on a three-fight win streak. Despite Xie losing against Danny Kingad at ONE Championship: Fire & Fury, the young Chinese striker has a high ceiling. Prior to that mishap, Xie had amassed a five-fight win streak — all finishes by strikes. Adding to that, more than half of those came in the first round. The young prospect will look to capitalize on the opportunity to bounce back against the experienced Rothana.

Despite Xie’s finishing ability, Rothana enters the fight with more momentum. Heavy-handed in his own right, the Cambodian athlete is dangerous everywhere. He’s also spent the bulk of his career under the ONE Championship banner, joining the organization in 2014 after just a single fight on the regional scene.

Tatsumitsu Wada vs. Yodkaikaew Fairtex

The extremely skilled Wada, training out of Yoshida Dojo, faces power striker, Fairtex this Friday. Although Wada has been alternating wins and losses recently, his resume speaks to the technique he brings to the cage. For example, his win over Kai-Kara France at RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2016 demonstrated his patience and timing throughout the course of fifteen minutes. Wada has also shared the cage with Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, and while he didn’t come away with the win, few have.

Conversely, Fairtex has been less active throughout his career in MMA, but when he does compete, the battles tend to not go the distance. After his last performance inside the ONE cage, it was clear his power kicks and punches had more sting than his opponent expected. Subsequently, he forced Alex Schild out of the fight with leg kicks. Not surprising, as Fairtex has over 85 Muay Thai bouts and won a Max Stadium belt. Overall, this bout could easily set the winner up with a big opportunity, so the pressure is on for both athletes to perform.

Troy Worthen vs. Yusup Saadulaev

Starting his career on an eight-fight win streak, surely Saadulaev isn’t taken back by Worthen’s undefeated record. The unbeaten American specializes in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu which should be a great service against an athlete like Saadulaev. Since both men have an adept ground game, conditioning may factor into this fight. History typically favors the younger athlete in those contests, but Saadulaev’s pace hasn’t slowed. That’s been evident in his back-to-back wins by decision, which have also proved that dispatching of the Russian is easier said than done.

One Championship: Collision Course – Featured bout – Lowen Tynanes vs. Marat Gafurov

Former ONE featherweight Champion, Gafurov is aptly nicknamed the “Cobra.” With twelve of his professional wins coming by submission, foes know what’s coming but they just can’t stop the pressure. Perhaps catching the former champion at a good time coming off a loss, the unbeaten Tynanes’ style complements his chances here. The American’s top pressure is effective and mostly safe. For that reason, scrambling for strong grappling positions will be paramount for success. The American prospect showed how violent his top pressure is when he went against Honorio Banario at ONE Championship: Hero’s Ascents where he used ground and pound to end the fight in the first round.

As the final MMA bout on the Collision Course card, and with supposed title implications, this fight has big consequences. A win for Tynanes would put him very close to a title shot. But another big submission from Russian Gafurov and fans will be singing a different tune after the fight.