Asian MMA’s juggernaut is back this Friday night, when ONE Fighting Championships brings ONE FC 22: Battle of Lions back to Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. The company made its debut in that very venue and has delivered in every subsequent trip to the stadium, and Friday’s card should be no exception as the best in the Asian MMA circuit return to entertain the live crowd in attendance.

As with many cards in the MMA world that have been scheduled for the month of November, this card possesses plenty of things to watch for, including a headliner that fans of the MMA world will not want to miss.

Lucky number “7”

ONE FC owner Victor Cui just gets it, when it comes to the cards he brings to Kallang. Cui and his team have brought six of the promotion’s outings to the city, and of those six, half of them featured at least one world championship fight. Friday’s card will not only mark the promotion’s seventh card in Kallang, but it also marks the fourth occasion in which a ONE FC title will be contested on the bill, and at the end of the day, very few fans will ever complain about getting to see a title fight on a fight card.

Star power

ONE FC dips into the free agency market for veteran names from time to time, but they also keep their focus on acquiring some of the best prospects in the Asian MMA scene. In addition to veterans like Tastuya Mizuno and Luis “Sapo” Santos, the likes of Dwayne Hinds, Major Overall, Martin Nguyen, and others have signed on to the card, which helps to keep up the international flair that most people anticipate out of ONE FC cards. The present and future will be on full display Friday night, and all of those names will aim to impress at all costs.

The return of “Zoro”

Wrap your minds around this: Zorobabel Moreira last fought in MMA in 2012, when he lost in a ONE FC bout against Kotetsu Boku. Now, in contrast to guys that have taken upwards of three to four or more years off before returning, a layoff of a couple of years is not a big deal, but in this sport, plenty happens, and a great number of things have happened since Moreira’s loss to Boku in ONE FC and beyond. Still, Moreira gets a chance to rebound from the loss against the 10-3 Koji Ando, who made a successful ONE FC debut, submitting Rafael Nunes in the first round of their ONE FC 18 clash this past July.

A title fight and a tale of two prospects 

When we normally talk about what leads to a title fight, we usually say, “Fighter A comes off of this performance, Fighter B comes off of that performance, and when you add in the allure of a five-round title fight, you have a good headliner.”

We will refrain from such passive commentary when speaking of ONE FC 22’s middleweight world title headliner of “Lionheart” Igor Svirid and Leandro Ataides, because even without the allure of five five-minute rounds and the inaugural ONE FC middleweight title, this would still make for one of the best middleweight contests outside of the North American circuit. Svirid lost his pro debut before going on a nine-fight winning streak, with four of them coming by submission, and on top of that, he makes his ONE FC debut against Ataides. Meanwhile, the undefeated Brazilian owns finishes in six of his seven pro wins, with a total of four first-round finishes in succession. The most recent two of them came in both of his appearances for ONE FC, and if Svirid does not tread cautiously, he may be another casualty of the Ataides express, while the hungry Brazilian leaves Singapore with ONE FC gold.

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.