Perhaps the most appropriate title card that ONE Championship has had in a while, ONE: Collision Course featured fights that had competitors pretty close to each other skill-wise.
There weren’t any potential blowouts or mismatches just looking at the fights on paper. Though while not the most exciting in terms of finishes, all the action was tactical and well thought out. These are the 7 takeaways from ONE: Collision Course.
Xie Wei Vindicates ONE Hero Series
Being the first and so far only ONE Hero Series graduate, there is a lot of pressure on Xie Wei to perform every time he steps in the Circle. There’s definitely a chip on his shoulder to prove that his program is just as good as its international counterpart ONE Warrior Series.
This pressure only multiplied after he lost against Danny Kingad on his main stage debut at ONE: Fire and Fury.
With this victory in ONE: Collision Course over Chan Rothana, he proved that OHS is a program that can have a future, especially in molding new and upcoming talent from China. There was only a single OHS event organized in 2020 and that was more of an emergency card meant to show investors that ONE can hold events amid the pandemic.
Yodkaikaew Fairtex Emerges As a 2020 Dark Horse
Before the pandemic struck, no one in the MMA world had a clue who Yodkaikaew Fairtex was. In the space of four months, he’s suddenly racked up three straight wins against increasingly difficult competition.
Securing a victory in ONE: Collision Course, he ties Eko Roni Saputra and Ritu Phogat as the only fighters to go 3-0 in 2020. A notable achievement that will definitely spark more interest from both Thailand fans and ONE management.
Although he had a stellar year, there is a danger of reading too much into these wins. Tatsumitsu Wada was definitely not prepared for the type of game that Yodkaikaew brought and even then the fight could have gone either way.
This rising Thai star needs more time in Circle before any accurate proclamations for his future can be made.
Yusup Saadulaev Finds a Home at Bantamweight
The ultimate underdog story of ONE Championship continues as Yusup Saadulaev seems to finally find a home at Bantamweight. This is the third weight class the Russian is competing in and successfully strung together a three fight win streak against considerable competition.
He was able to achieve decision victories against Daichi Takenaka and Dae Hwan Kim to earn the #3 spot on the rankings and now ended the unbeaten run of a still impressive Troy Worthen.
Assuming John Lineker is getting the next shot at Bibiano Fernandes, he can begin planning his challenge to either Kevin Belingon or Shoko Sato for a title eliminator.
A Second Belt for Marat Gafurov?
With his close win against Lowen Tynanes, Marat Gafurov has reinserted himself into the title conversation – but this time at Lightweight. This signals a new championship run for the Cobra. ONE: Collision Course
It’s honestly a long shot. The former Featherweight Champion has alternated wins and losses since losing the title to Martin Nguyen back in 2017. I don’t see him doing especially well against someone like Timofey Nastyukhin or Shinya Aoki.
There aren’t many options available to Gafurov, but one that he has may allow him to call out Christian Lee as early as Q2 of 2021. A rematch with Iuri Lapicus.
The timing is there, the narrative is built in, Lapicus just lost – he just won, and a win over the #2 man in the division gives him the right to challenge for the title. Gafurov is in a unique position to legitimately fast track his ambitions. Whether he will take and capitalize on it though remain to be seen.
Nong-O Calling Out Petrosyan is Futile
At the end of his sensational knockout win over Bantamweight Muay Thai Grand Prix winner Rodlek PK.SaenchaiMuayThaiGym, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao raised the stakes by calling out Giorgio Petrosyan. ONE: Collision Course
While it will be a great fight put together it’s honestly a long shot to happen. Nong-O is a Bantamweight Champion where Petrosyan isn’t even ranked. Meanwhile Petrosyan is the #1 contender for the sill non-existent Featherweight Kickboxing belt where Nong-O is unranked.
A fight for either belt will kick a hornets nest in both divisions and force people to question the integrity of the ranking system. The only way this fight will happen is as an exhibition, but the same problems arise with that scenario as well.
With impatient fighters biding their time to challenge them, neither Nong-O or Petrosyan have the luxury of having an inconsequential non-title fight.
Last Chance For Rodlek?
This could be the saddest entry in all of our 7 takeaways from ONE: Collision Course.
When Saemapetch dropped out of the Bantamweight Grand Prix final due to injury Rodlek gladly stepped in to face Kulabdam. The Steel Locomotive was excited to get a second chance because in his own words, ONE: Collision Course seemed like his last chance for ONE Championship gold.
At 30 years of age and more than a hundred fights on his body, there is some concern that the Steam Locomotive may be nearing the last station in his career.
It will take more at least another year and half and a lot of good luck to get another shot at the belt at the earliest. Time that Rodlek may not have especially if Saemapetch and the rest of the Top 5 have anything to say about it.
Roman Kryklia Is A Scary Man
Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion Roman Kryklia showcased his high fight IQ using his superior reach to establish what can be described as either a masterclass or a clinic.
Most people will have near nothing bad to say about this performance, in fact the only person that hated the fight was Kryklia himself. When Mitch Chilson talked to the Champion in the post-fight interview, Kryklia heavily criticized his performance citing his mindset and conditioning.
If what we saw was a lesser version of the Ukrainian, what would a fully motivated and on point Roman Kryklia look like?
These are our 7 takeaways from ONE: Collision Course. Do you have any other observations about the card that we missed?
Featured Image Credits to ONE Championship
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