Main-event- Hyd.-flyweight bout: Gianni Subba vs. Reece "Lighting" Mclaren Co-main event- Hyd.-welterweight bout: Agilan "The Alligator" Thani vs. Amitesh Chaubey Main card- Hyd.-featherweight bout: "Unstoppable" Christian Lee vs. Kazunori Yokota Hyd.-63 kg (~138.5 pounds) catcheweight bout: Sotir Kichukov vs. Danny "The King" Kingad Hyd.-welterweight bout: Luis "Sapo" Santos vs. Kiamrian "Brazen" Abbasov Hyd.-women's strawweight bout: Michelle Nicolinni vs. Iryna Kyselova Hyd.-featherweight bout: Ahmed "The Wolverine" Mujtaba vs. Ma Jia Wen Prelims- Hyd.-bantamweight bout: Muhammad Aiman vs. Rin Saroth Hyd.-women's atomweight bout: Jihin Radzuan vs. Puja Tomar Hyd.-62.5 kg (~137.5 pounds) catchweight bout: Riski Umar vs. Khon Sichan In the first of ONE's planned three trips to Malaysia this year, a pair of Malaysian stars and another pair of Malaysian prospects are set to make appearances in the ONE cage, and inbetween those are several very intriguing matches that should please anyone who's a fan of ONE. INCLUDING a former two-divisional DEEP champion in Kazunori Yokota (who was also the runner-up in the Sengoku lightweight Grand Prix), the returns of the explosive Sapo Santos, Jiu-Jitsu champion Michelle Nicolini, the top Pakistani MMA fighter right now in Ahmed Mujtaba, and of the explosive Filipino prospect Danny Kingad, and the debuts of a new welterweight contender in ONE's now-open welterweight division in Kiamrian Abbasov, and of a 10-2 Ukranian girl named Iryna Kyselova. And, if you're interested in the grassroots fighter-building aspect of ONE that features fighters from all areas of Southeast-Asia vying to see who can become a developed shootfighter first and break into the upper echelons of international competition, a near-bantamweight (my favorite division) match between an Indonesian and a Cambodian, both regions ONE is desperate for stars from. I only wrote about the top two fights; maybe I'll do some of the other top fights tomorrow or somethin'. If anyone else knows anything they care to share about some of the fighters, like Abbasov, feel free to do so. In the main-event: Spoiler Gianni Subba, the ONE Championship flyweight division's longtime darkhorse contender, is getting the biggest test of his career and the fight that may finally take him to his long-desired title-shot against Australian (of FIlipino descent) flyweight contender who's making his sophomore appearance in the division, Reece Mclaren. Subba, a longtime student of the Leone brothers at Bali MMA I believe, is the older brother of featherweight prospect Keanu Subba, who had a very competitive, entertaining fight with featherweight contender Christian Lee last year. Spending his entire career in ONE, Subba began going 3-0 before suffering his first setback against underrated Filipino Muay Thai practitioner Eugene Toquero, whose experience, striking advantage and deceptively-good grappling proved to be too much for the young flyweight. Subba didn't let the loss hurt him, though, and he won four fights in a row afterwards, including a 20-second knockout of Vietnamese-Australian (with a solid 5-3 record) Thanh Vu and a close split decision victory (a real testament to how close the fight was given ONE's scoring system) over Anatpong Bunrad, who was coming off a victory over current interim flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio. Unfortunately for Subba, his momentum was halted when he faced Geje in his next fight and wasn't able to overcome the defensive-striking style of Geje and ultimately lost a competitive but clear unanimous decision against the not-physically-imposing-but-very-skilled Filipino. Gianni was undettered yet again, though, and since then has gone on an impressive improvement-curve. In his next fight, he dominated former Shooto Brazil strawweight champion Yago Bryan for three rounds (don't let the fact that he's a strawweight fool you, he looked like a finely-sized flyweight in the bout, albeit shorter than Subba, who, at 5'9, is very tall for the division). His most impressive bout came next when he faced former Outsider fighter, student of Kenji Osawa and current teammate of the Lee siblings, and alleged Yakuza member Riku Shibuya. Although it was Riku's first fight since suffering a detached retina in 2016 and he was coming off of a 20-month layoff, he was known for giving Adriano Moraes a very competitive fight when he was expected to be stormed through, and he was on a two-fight winning streak. Subba ended up handily winning a decision over Riku, as, even though he was game, Subba was bigger and had the edge on him in every area, outstriking the fighter and stuffing most of Riku's single-leg attempts (he developed a very solid single-leg transition game during his time off), and getting his own takedowns and outgrappling the Japanese 32-year old. The size disparity-- it looked like his time in Hawaii not only tanned him up a lot, but trimmed him down-- led Shibuya to drop down to the strawweight division, where he's currently an elite fighter. Originally scheduled to face former title contender Danny Kingad, a knee injury to current champion Adriano Moraes led Subba to be upgraded to main-event status against Reece Mclaren. Reece Mclaren has surprised everyone during his ONE career. A short-notice replacement for Jordan Lucas against then-14-1 Filipino-American grappler Mark Striegl, Mclaren was a gigantic underdog-- according to tapology, only 3% of people predicted he would defeat Striegl. Given his 6-3 record and the fact that he'd lost against current top-15 flyweight Ben Nguyen (I think he was in the top-15 in 2015, too, but I could be wrong) just a year prior, it was understandable. Mclaren overcame adversity from Striegl, though, surviving several near-finishes and ultimately damaging Striegl enough and surprising everyone with his own grappling skills to stage a come-from-behind (but definitive; there was no "I was injured" or "stylistic change-up" or anything like that which Striegl could use, especially given how good he was doing for much of the fight-- it was Mclaren's skills and heart that drove him to a-) submission victory in the third round. In his next fight, he was matched up with surging, explosive 10-0 Tajikstani Sambo champion Muin Gafurov, who was yet again a big favorite (92% according to tapology). Mclaren really impressed everyone when he handily outwrestled Muin to secure a clear-cut decision victory-- given his Australian roots, the fact that he was able to gain so much wrestling skills was very impressive. He then got a much-deserved shot at Bibiano Fernandes. Once again a huge underdog, Mclaren was written off by many of the detractors of ONE's talent pool as a squash match for Bibiano. Mclaren surprised everyone when he gave Bibiano the toughest match he's had since fighting Hiroyuki Takaya (twice) and Joachim Hansen, and swelled Bibiano's eye shut, survived Bibiano controlling his back for minutes on end-- a big statement given Bibiano's grappling credentials-- and fought him to a very close split decision (again, a testament to how close the fight was given ONE's scoring system). He didn't just show his quality as a fighter from that, either, he showed great boxing skills with fantastic movement, distance-knowledge and balance, amazing grappling, his yet-again-deceptively-great wrestling, and showed he had the skills to back up his status. Unfortunately for Mclaren, he was matched up afterwards with Filipino knockout artist Kevin Belingon, who knocked him out a minute into their match, doing in a minute what one of the best bantamweights in the world couldn't do in 25. Mclaren dropped down to flyweight afterwards and submitted Anatpong Bunrad at the end of the first round with a Brabo choke, looking faster than ever in his new division. Originally scheduled to fight Adriano Moraes in what is rumored to be Moraes' last fight in ONE (it seems like he really wants to go to the UFC), Moraes' knee injury nixed those plans. If he can defeat the surging Subba, though, his title-shot will be cemented and he'll arguably be at the peak of his career so far. The co-main event... Spoiler ... stars the return of Agilan Thani, the biggest Malaysian star in MMA history probably (Peter Davis and Ann Osman may have the edge on him in that department, but even if they are, he's gonna surpass them in the future, and they've pretty much stopped fighting, so he's the biggest current star). Starting out his martial arts life as a bullied teenager, he was about 5'6 and 300 pounds at 16 years old. He lost the weight progressively, then really focused when he decided he wanted to be a professional martial artist and got down to the weight he's currently at. Unfortunately for him, he's had to deal with a lot of loose skin as a result-- the most popular picture of him from his Malaysian Invasion career (he went 5-0 as an amateur, by the way, and Malaysian Invasion has a very developed amateur league) is not very flattering. https://www.fourthofficial.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Oi-Aik-Thong-vs-Agilan-Thani-696x464.jpg This's led to a lot of people to think he's just out-of-shape, but... well, this sport has a history of not having the most intelligent fans. However, with continued hard work, he's been able to put on more muscle and progressively shrink the skin back up, and he's looking better and better with each win. After going a respectable 7-0 as a professional, including 6-0 in ONE, who signed him shortly after winning the 2014 Malaysian Invasion tournament, his pro career capped off by two solid victories over Trestle Tan (coming off a victory over a 5-0 fighter) and Jeff Huang (who was 6-2 as a pro), he offered to step in as a short-notice replacement for Sapo Santos against Ben Askren, and his offer was accepted. The fight got delayed a little in order to capitalize on Thani's Malaysian roots and was moved to Singapore (only a bridge away from Malaysia), but the fight went through, and Askren stormed through Thani as he has everyone else. Thani impressed me with his physical strength, though, and that's been the thing that's most interesting about his career. it looks like carrying around all that weight during his childhood gave his muscles a lot of slow-twitch fibers, and he's a very strong welterweight because of it. His most recent fight-- a decision victory over muscle-bound (and more physically-imposing) 8-3 Egyptian Sherif Mohamed-- really showcased that, as the fight was basically a battle of who is stronger. And Thani won. Then his aggressive top-control-based style rode him to victory. With Askren's retirement, the welterweight division is wide open and Thani's in the discussion. His improvement curve has been impressive enough where, in short time, he could very feasibly be able hang with the elites of the division like Sapo Santos (who's fighting on this card) and Zebaztian Kadestam. In order to prove that, though, he'll have to get through Indian opponent Amitesh Chaubey. With his significant wrestling advantage, it may be an easy task, but Chaubey is dangerous, so he can't take it lightly. Amitesh Caubey is a Wushu champion from India. I'm just guessing that based on his style. Let me see... apparently he comes from a kickboxing background and he was a WAKO champion. I was close enough. The interesting thing about Amitesh is that he actually has a lot of marketability potential. He's a good-looking welterweight with, going by some of his photos, a very photogenic body-- which, as Georges St-Pierre has proven, is one of the best things a popular fighter can have-- and has the athleticism and style to back it up. Though a 5-4 record may not seem like much, in Amitesh' last two victories he's earned knockouts in a combined 22 seconds, and he has a lot of power in his right hand and throws really fast, hard kicks, particularly off his right leg. Though it's been over a year since his last fight and it was a loss, Amitesh, coming originally from a boxing background before moving to kickboxing, has always had pretty solid hands-- they're wild, but he throws them with good form and can combo with them well-- and expanded into the world of boxing last year. Though he went 0-2, from what I can tell, he has been keeping busy, and the experience has cleaned up his hands a lot more, which will give him more of an advantage against international opponents than his Indian compatriots have. Since clean hands is, along with well-rounded grappling, a true rarity among Indian fighters. Even though Amitesh is probably going to lose this fight, since he's from India and he's fighting a really solid, physically strong wrassler in Agilan Thani, his ONE future is not without promise. He has a lot of marketability, especially given how popular his 9-second KO of Jason Solomon made him (the video went viral-- it has almost 9 millino views as of this writing-- since Jason Solomon was showboating a lot walking to the cage), and I think ONE recognizes that and is going to try and build him up, along with Rajinder Singh Meena now that he's finally won a fight, that way they'll have some good Indian fighters to lead the way into an eventual expansion into India. And if manages to pull off the upset, which, given his power and striking skills, he can do, that'll jumpstart the whole process. And he doesn't look like a small welterweight, so that'll help.