This weekend, ONE Championship 28 emanates from Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium in the province of Guangdong, China with a highly anticipated night of action headlined by Russian prospect Timofey Nastyukhin against 13-4-2 veteran Yusuke Kawanago, as well as the return of Zorobabel Moreira against Christian Holley.

The night also features two one-night, four-man tournaments, with one in the flyweight division and one in the featherweight division. The winners of the opening-round contests will meet later in the night to determine the undisputed tournament champions. Alternate bouts will also take place in the night, with the alternates taking their spots in their division’s tournament finals if either one of the two tourney-opener victors for their division’s tournament are unable to take part in their respective final.

The main card takes place on an online pay-per-view basis at 8AM ET on Saturday, June 20.

Yusuke Kawanago vs. Timofey Nastyukhin

Nastyukhin is still young in this sport, which makes his current eight-fight winning streak a tad scary, though not as scary as how handily he defeated Eduard Folayang. He faces a stern test in Kawanago, who owns most of his pro wins by decision, but no one has been able to last past the first round with the 25-year-old. Couple that with the knockout loss Kawanago suffered against Robert Lasita, and the question is not about whether Nastyukhin can beat “Bancho”, but rather, how much of round one the young prospect needs to do it.

Nastyukhin def. Kawanago by knockout (punch). Round 1

Ruel Catalan vs. Marcos Antonio Santana

Outside of Santana holding BJJ world titles and being proficient in the grappling realm, little is known about what he brings to his fight against Catalan. On the other hand, Catalan shows an ability to fire off lightning flurries and execute a solid Wushu-based game, especially on the ground, until a better grappler comes along and submits him. In this era of MMA, it takes more than a strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game to find success in the long run, but once Santana shows what he can do on the feet, it will lead him to score a takedown, find Catalan’s neck, and lock up a rear naked choke for the win.

Santana def. Catalan by submission (rear naked choke). Round 2.

Christian Holley vs. Zorobabel Moreira

Moreira has been a thrill for fans to watch because of his balls-to-the-wall approach to the game, but as we have seen lately, he can only keep his game going for so long before someone catches up and stops him. Unfortunately, Holley owns eight of his pro wins by some sort of finish, so to say he fits that bill is an understatement. Moreira is always a game fighter, but come fight night, Holley will wear him out through two rounds and put him away in the third.

Holley def. Moreira by TKO (punches). Round 3

Ba Ya La Ga vs. Wang Shuo – flyweight-tournament opening round

Little is known about any of the prospects in ONE 28’s one-night, four-man tourneys, but prior to this card, Shuo was a name that had been linked to the lineup because of the promise that the 20-year-old Nuoya Jinzhou International Muay Thai Club product brings. La Ga had not been well known by fans of the Chinese circuit, but that unpredictability is part of why ONE features talent in this manner. Few know anything other than he, like Shuo, holds potential to do good things in the early run, but Shuo brings more than just Muay Thai training to the dance, so expect a mixed bag of tricks. Shuo will not knock out La Ga, but once he puts it all together, his offense leads him to a decision.

Shuo def. La Ga by unanimous decision

Wu Hui Qiang vs. Wu Ze – flyweight-tournament opening round

Ze may get recognition here for being the one participant of the flyweight tournament with something of an established record. Granted, he holds a .500 record, but it at least says that Hui Quang will have to deal with someone already deep into their career, even if they aren’t in deep by much. Still, if Hui Quang knows nothing else about Ze, he knows that Ze owns a submission loss in his career. Hui Quang won’t have a simple task of it, but what he uses will cause Ze to leave a hole open for Hui Quamg to take him down and outwork him there for the first frame before pulling the trigger by taking Ze’s arm in the second.

Hui Quang def. Ze by submission (arm bar). Round 2.

Hu Ri Ge vs. Zhao Xiao Tong – flyweight-tournament reserve bout

In a somewhat common theme for this event, Hu owns two career losses and no known wins, while his foe, the MMA newcomer Zhao, comes into his first pro bout largely unheralded. Ri Ge has only lost by submission and decision in the past, and few know what kind of chin he has, but the smart money says that Zhao won’t need to worry so much about breaking Hu’s chin. Instead, the newcomer will demonstrate his cardio, set a pace that Hu cannot keep up with, and take the fight to a decision, which he should win easily, though there is no telling if he will find himself in the tournament final.

Zhao def. Hu by unanimous decision.

Biekemulati Nulijiao vs. Ma Jia Wen – featherweight-tournament opening round

In a featherweight scene that features so many prominent names stateside, seeing two newcomers to the sport might feel like a welcome change. Nulijiao and Jia Wen both have a lot to prove here, but only one can get the job done. With very little known about either fighter, it is a coin flip, but with relentless pressure and a desire to make himself known, Nulijiao will score a finish over Jia Wen.

Nulijiao def. Jia Wen by TKO (strikes). Round 1.

Huang Di Yuan vs. Tian Jian She – featherweight-tournament opening round

Huang and Tian stand with a purpose, which is to see action in the final bout of this tournament. Before bout time, we can only assume that both featherweight fighters will be evenly matched to an extent. Overall, the bout may boil down to who can be the more active fighter, and if it does, in fact, go the distance, Huang will take it.

Huang def. Tian by unanimous decision.

Li Yun Long vs. Wang Ya Yong – featherweight-tournament reserve bout

Though none of the participants in the featherweight and flyweight tournaments come in with hype or any information on them, apart from their names, those that know about Li and Wang anticipate either a finish from Li or a decision from Wang. Perhaps that sounds like a series of wild guesses, but for all anyone knows, Wang could possess the cardio needed to keep Li on his toes. Still, none should count out Li, because in the same regard, Li may possess some dangerous knockout power, and when a man demonstrates that particular aspect of his game, cardio can only take a fighter so far before he eventually goes down and out.

Li def. Wang by knockout (punch). Round 2.

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.