On Friday, March 14, ONE Fighting Championship will host its 14th event, dubbed War of Nations, from the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The event is headlined by a championship clash between UFC and WEC veteran Brock Larson and hard-hitting Japanese veteran Nobutatsu Suzuki. The pair battle for the promotion’s inaugural welterweight championship.

In the co-main event, Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon locks horns with South Korea’s Dae Hwan Kim in a duel of talented bantamweights.

The 10-fight event kicks off at 6 a.m. ET with three preliminary card bouts. The main card will follow at 7 a.m ET (7 p.m. local time). It will air via online pay-per-view for $9.99.

For this event, The MMA Corner moved the round table out of the room, swept the floors and strapped on the gloves for a one-on-one sparring session between writers Rob Tatum and Bryan Henderson, who share their opinions for all nine bouts from the card.

LW: Kotetsu Boku (20-9-2) vs. Arnaud Lepont (10-3)

Henderson: What do you do if you’ve lost to Shinya Aoki and followed that performance up with another loss? If you’re Kotetsu Boku and Arnaud Lepont, then you drown your sorrows and seek to right the ship against a fighter who is in the same boat.

Boku, a former Shooto lightweight champion, captured the inaugural ONE FC lightweight crown with a submission victory over Zorobabel Moreira. That led him to a fight with Aoki, who ripped the title from his grasp via a second-round, rear-naked choke finish. The Japanese-born South Korean attempted to rebound against South African fighter Vuyisile Colossa, but Colossa frustrated Boku en route to a decision upset of the former champ. The Krazy Bee fighter has scored seven wins by some form of knockout, but he has a tendency to go the distance in his fights.

Lepont has a background in karate. The French pankration champion fought Aoki on the same night that Boku claimed the title against Moreira. Lepont lasted just 85 seconds with Aoki before succumbing to a triangle choke. His attempt to bounce back was thwarted by Eddie Ng, who submitted the T-Rex MMA product in the second round of their ONE FC tilt.

Boku has never been able to get over the hump and win on a consistent basis, but a three-fight losing streak is unprecedented in his career. That’s not to say it can’t happen. Boku’s weakness is his ground game, and that happens to be a strength for Lepont, who has eight submission wins in his career. However, Lepont’s wins—and even one of his losses—have come against some truly mediocre competition. Boku may be riding a rough patch in his career, but he’s skilled enough to work his way to a decision over Lepont.

Tatum: Although my cohort touched on the details of this match-up, he failed to call it for what it really is: striker vs. grappler. Sure, Lepont has karate experience and Boku trains with a team of strong grapplers, but both fighters certainly have other areas of strength.

Boku has a ton of decisions on his record, but he’s a striker by trade. The lone submission win on the 37-year-old’s record came in 2001 in his professional debut. And, as Bryan pointed out, half of his losses have come on the ground.

For Lepont, it’s the complete opposite. The Frenchman wants the fight on the canvas as soon as possible. Seven of his 10 career wins have come by way of tapout, and although his three career losses have come on the mat, it’s his clear advantage in this fight.

Bryan’s concern about level of competition is valid, but Boku’s weaknesses play into Lepont’s strengths. I’ll disagree with the outcome and take Lepont to take this fight by rear-naked choke in the second frame.

FlyW: Shinichi “BJ” Kojima (13-5-5) vs. Andrew Leone (6-2)

Tatum: This flyweight fight stacks up as the old guard vs. the new guard. The 35-year-old Shinichi “BJ” Kojima has been a part of the Japanese MMA scene for over a decade. Meanwhile, Andrew Leone, at 24 years of age, is just starting to come into his own as a fighter.

Kojima has flirted with a top-10 ranking for quite some time, but the Reversal Gym product has had mixed success against higher-level competition. Although he holds two wins (and a draw) over Mamoru Yamaguchi and has fought to a draw twice against UFC veteran Yasuhiro Urushitani, BJ has fallen short on the scorecards against Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas and the UFC’s Jussier “Formiga” da Silva. Kojima is a strong grappler, but often times is willing to work from his back, and that has cost him on the scorecards multiple times. The veteran scored an impressive submission win over Rey Docyogen in his ONE FC debut last February, but has been out of action ever since.

Leone is the brother of Bellator title challenger Anthony Leone, but, at just 24, Andrew is still establishing himself as a fighter. Much like his opponent, Leone is a grappler by trade. The American has transplanted himself to Asia, training at Phuket Top Team in Thailand. The concern in this fight is that both of Leone’s career losses have come via submission, including his most recent defeat to Korea’s Kyung Ho Kang. Leone will have an advantage in both height and reach over his Japanese foe, but will he be willing to use it?

Given the styles of these two fighters, I have to lean toward the fighter with more experience. Kojima has faced solid competition throughout his days in Shooto, and outside of Kang, Leone’s resume doesn’t match up. Look for an entertaining grappling affair that ends with BJ forcing Leone to tap in round two.

Henderson: Leone’s submission losses are definitely of great concern as he heads into this fight. The first of those defeats came to a fighter who now stands at 2-1, and the second, against Kang, to an experienced veteran who sits at 12-7 and fights in the UFC. However, those losses came to fighters who compete at bantamweight, whereas Leone is better suited for the flyweight ranks.

Though Kojima does have the edge in experience, he has only fought four times since 2009 and only once in the last two years. It was once a competitive battle between Yamaguchi, Urushitani and Kojima for the top spot in a flyweight division that wasn’t receiving the attention it does nowadays. The problem is that Kojima hasn’t shown that same tendency in his more recent outings as the flyweight division has entered into the mainstream. Yes, he impressed against Docyogen, but his previous outing was a majority decision loss to Nam Jin Jo.

As experienced as Kojima may be, it all hinges on Leone’s wrestling and BJ’s aforementioned willingness to fight off his back. That gives Leone an advantage. It’s an advantage Leone will use to eke out a close decision win.

LW: Ariel Sexton (8-2) vs. Kamal Shalorus (8-3-2)

Henderson: Anyone who loves a world-class wrestler that prefers to throw haymakers until the cows come home has to be thankful to ONE FC for giving Kamal Shalorus a place to ply his trade. He’ll have plenty of reason to rely on those haymakers again when he fights Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Ariel Sexton.

Shalorus first caught the attention of fight fans during a four-fight undefeated stretch in the WEC. He clobbered Will Kerr in his debut on the blue mat, kept things close in a split draw against Jamie Varner and earned a split decision win against Bart Palaszewski. Shalorus moved on to the UFC, but he dropped three straight fights, though the losses came to elite competition in the form of Jim Miller, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rafael dos Anjos. Since departing the UFC, Shalorus has made one appearance under the ONE FC banner in an impressive decision victory over Filipino star Eduard Folayang.

Sexton hails from Costa Rica and held the Costa Rica Fights lightweight title. “Tarzan” is a skilled grappler who has six submission victories to go along with two TKO wins. However, Sexton has suffered submission losses to UFC veteran Derrick Noble and Bellator vet Thomas Schulte. Schulte and Noble represent two of the three best opponents on Sexton’s record, but it was his recent win over the surging Peter Davis that put Sexton into this high-profile spot on the ONE FC 14 card. He may not be prepared for someone like Shalorus.

Shalorus found a lot of success with his combination of haymakers and defensive wrestling during his WEC days, but opponents seemed to have him figured out by the time he arrived in the UFC’s Octagon. Given his win over Folayang, it seems as though Shalorus has discovered a place where fighters haven’t studied his fights as meticulously.

Sexton is a talented grappler, but he has to get his opponent to the mat before he can apply a submission. That’s not going to happen against Shalorus. Yes, his UFC opponents had success on that front, but Sexton is not a UFC-caliber fighter. The UFC vet keeps this one standing and looks for the knockout. If Shalorus doesn’t find it—and he only needs to connect once, given the murderballs he throws—then he’ll settle for a decision victory.

Tatum: Although Shalorus got a late start on his MMA career after his international wrestling career came to a close, the Iranian has found plenty of success everywhere but the UFC. His attack became, as Bryan suggested, very easy to predict inside the confines of the Octagon, and it left him looking for a new stomping ground. His ONE FC debut didn’t show a ton of new wrinkles to his game, but he did a better job of utilizing his wrestling when he needed it. That’s a key factor in how this fight will play out, given Sexton’s grappling credentials.

Sexton is the type of fighter that lives and dies on the mat. Given the Costa Rican’s submission prowess, it’s a bit strange that both of his career losses have come via submission, but he hasn’t faced a ton of strike-first opponents. Both Schulte and Noble have found a ton of success on the ground in MMA, and they were simply able to overpower Sexton. Shalorus is unlikely to do that, since he’ll look to keep the fight upright.

Without question, Bryan’s point about UFC-caliber opposition is spot on. Shalorus has faced fighters ranked in the top 10 of the world. Sexton has not. Expect this one to get ugly as Sexton desperately looks for takedowns and Shalorus tries to find a home for his overhand right. Ultimately, it will be Shalorus’ ability to keep the fight standing that makes the difference as he walks away with a unanimous decision verdict from the judges.

FlyW: Adriano Moraes (9-1) vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani (21-6-6)

Tatum: ONE FC is showcasing more flyweight talent on this card. Brazil’s Adriano Moraes looks to rebound from the first loss of his career against UFC veteran Yasuhiro Urushitani.

Moraes, at just 26 years old, competed outside of his native Brazil for the first time in November, dropping a split decision to Yusup Saadulaev. A well-rounded fighter that holds three wins each by knockout, submission and decision, Moraes could not overcome the wrestling of Saadulaev in his promotional debut. At 5-foot-8, the Brazilian is big for the weight class and trains alongside the likes of UFC combatant Rani Yahya.

At 37, Japan’s Urushitani has fought a who’s who of the 125-pound division over the course of his 13-year career. The veteran was part of the UFC’s inaugural flyweight tournament, but despite his striking prowess, he could not handle the power of Joseph Benavidez. In his second opportunity in the Octagon, he fell to another striker, Brazilian John Lineker. However, the veteran has gotten back in the win column, topping Rey Docyogen and Jae Nam Yoo in 2013. He is 7-3 in his last 10 outings.

The outcome of this fight is largely dependent on the discipline of Moraes. He’s far less experienced, and if he does not use his size advantage, he’ll get picked apart by Urushitani on the feet. If things hit the mat, the Brazilian will have the edge, but getting the Japanese veteran to the mat is easier said than done. Urushitani may be on the downhill portion of his career, but he’ll notch another win over Moraes via the scorecards.

Henderson: At 37 and with two losses in his last four fights, Urushitani would seem to be on the decline. However, those two losses came against the UFC’s Benavidez and Lineker, both of whom rank in or near the division’s top 10. Everyone else has come up short against the Japanese fighter.

Urushitani is a striker, but he’s seen a whopping 16 of his victories come on the scorecards. This is a guy who looks to outpoint opponents, and that’s what he’ll seek to do against Moraes. The question, as my colleague suggested, lies in where this fight takes place. If Moraes can adequately set up and complete his takedowns, then Urushitani will have to fight off his back. If the Brazilian can’t get his counterpart to the mat, the bout turns to Urushitani’s realm, where the Japanese striker can land strikes and keep his distance until he has secured the judges’ nod.

This is going to be a close fight, but Urushitani is indeed the superior fighter. He’ll take the decision, though it will come as no surprise if the verdict is not unanimous.

BW: Kevin Belingon (12-3) vs. Dae Hwan Kim (9-0-1)

Henderson: Bibiano Fernandes sits in the ONE FC bantamweight throne, and Kevin Belingon and Dae Hwan Kim could be vying for a shot at the champ when they meet in the co-headlining affair of ONE FC 14.

Belingon, the URCC flyweight champion, is an aggressive striker who got out to a 9-0 start after making his pro debut in 2007. He’s only 3-3 in his last six fights, but the losses have come against Masakazu Imanari, Soo-Chul Kim and Masakatsu Ueda. The wushu fighter trains out of the very successful Team Lakay camp in the Philippines and has five wins by some form of knockout. The 26-year-old also has three submission wins, the most recent of which came in 2010. His three wins under the ONE FC banner came against Yasup Saadulaev, Thanh Vu and David Aranda.

Kim is a Spirit MC and Road FC veteran. He and Belingon have two common opponents in Thanh Vu, whom Belingon defeated via TKO and Kim submitted with a rear-naked choke, and Nam Jin Jo, whom Belingon and Kim beat via decision. The 27-year-old South Korean’s career dates back to 2008, and he has yet to lose, though he did fight to a draw against Koji Yoshida in 2011. Kim’s background is in kickboxing, but as a mixed martial artist, he has four submission wins and just two victories via some form of knockout.

Kim’s record is impressive, but only the one-round decision over the now 8-6 Jo counts as a significant victory. Belingon, meanwhile, has sent prospects like Saadulaev and Aranda packing. This fight should provide fans with a thrilling stand-up battle, but Belingon is the superior fighter. The Filipino star will score a TKO win midway through the fight.

Tatum: I think it’s a safe assessment that this fight isn’t going the distance. In the 21 combined wins that Belingon and Kim share, 14 of them have come before the final bell. That’s a high percentage of finishes for a pair of bantamweights, and that’s likely a big reason why these two share the co-main event.

I share the same doubts as my colleague regarding Kim’s resume. Certainly an unblemished record through 10 fights is impressive, but nearly every opponent he’s faced is at or below .500. The 27-year-old is going to have his chin tested in this fight against the power-punching Belingon.

Belingon was a sought-after prospect when he joined ONE FC as an unbeaten fighter. However, his struggles against more experienced opponents have tempered that excitement. He has rebounded to win three of his last four, with all three coming by strikes. The Team Lakay fighter has only been finished by the vastly more experienced Imanari, and Kim is simply not on that level.

I’ll echo Bryan’s prediction. Belingon should end this fight with his hands sometime in round two.

WW Championship: Brock Larson (37-7) vs. Nobutatsu Suzuki (10-1-2)

Tatum: The promotion will crown a 170-pound champion in the night’s main event when UFC and WEC veteran Brock Larson locks horns with Japan’s Nobutatsu Suzuki.

The Minnesota native, Larson, will enter this fight riding a four-fight winning streak. The 36-year-old possesses a strong wrestling and submission attack that has led to 26 of his 37 career wins. The American has had nearly four times as many fights as Suzuki and has faced much stiffer competition over the course of his lengthy career. Larson holds wins over Mike Pyle, Ryan Jensen, Carlo Prater and, most recently, striking stalwart Melvin Manhoef. Larson has also gone the distance against Jon Fitch and Mike Pierce.

Suzuki, despite being the same age as Larson, was largely an unknown outside of Japan until a wild knockout win over Phil Baroni in his ONE FC debut. The 36-year-old has primarily competed for Zst throughout his career, and he has made a habit of competing just once a year since 2007. The Japanese fighter is a reckless and powerful striker, as evidenced by all 10 of his wins coming via knockout. Although that might seem impressive, only the win over Baroni would be considered notable. In fact, Suzuki’s lone defeat came against the other significant name he’s faced, Keita Nakamura, who handled Suzuki in just two minutes.

This might be a title fight, and every fighter has a puncher’s chance, but this fight screams mismatch. Larson is far more experienced, much more well-rounded, and has the skill set to easily walk through Suzuki. Unless Larson gets very careless and lets Suzuki connect, Larson will take this fight to the ground and submit Suzuki via arm-triangle within the first round.

Henderson: Let’s just call this the “Keep the Welterweight Title Warm Until Ben Askren Arrives” bout. In all honesty, that’s probably ONE FC’s (ridiculously long) code name for this contest. After all, can we really see either of these men putting up a competitive defense against Askren? Suzuki would spend the entire bout on his back, until the final bell or the elusive Askren TKO finish. Larson would fare better, but his wrestling and grappling skills wouldn’t be enough against the former Bellator champ.

Against each other, Suzuki and Larson make for a slightly more competitive affair. Larson has to be the heavy favorite, given his resume and skills, but Suzuki does have knockout power and Larson was knocked out by Eric Davila in just seven seconds. So, there’s that detail riding in Suzuki’s favor. All else points to Larson. If anything, Larson is more prone to submission losses than knockouts, but Suzuki isn’t much of a threat in the grappling aspect of the fight.

Larson will utilize a similar approach to the one he implemented against Manhoef, who stands as a much more dangerous striker than Suzuki. This will turn into a wrestling and grappling clinic in as much time as it takes for Larson to get a takedown. Suzuki lasted two minutes against Nakamura, but Larson’s takedowns are better than those of Nakamura. Larson ends this fight via armbar within the first minute and a half.

Quick Picks
FlyW: Khim Dima (0-1) vs. Saiful Merican (2-1)

Henderson: Cambodia’s Khim Dima is an aggressive striker, but perhaps he’s too aggressive. His first fight was ruled a no-contest after he landed several hard blows to the back of Rene Catalan’s head. He paid the price in his second outing when Rene’s brother, Ruel, defeated him via TKO. Now, Dima finally gets an opponent who isn’t named Catalan. That would be the more successful Saiful Merican, who has scored two decision wins and has suffered a loss via submission. With Dima’s striking arsenal and Merican’s own Muay Thai background, expect to see some fireworks here. Merican will pick up another victory on the scorecards in an entertaining fight.

Tatum: I’m inclined to agree with Bryan on his synopsis of this fight. Merican will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd and has the striking skills to capitalize on the young Cambodian’s aggressive nature. Look for Merican to use superior technique to frustrate Dima and walk away with the decision win.

Women’s StrawW: Sherilyn Lim (1-0) vs. Ann Osman (0-1)

Tatum: This fight is a bit of an anomaly. Sherilyn Lim and Ann Osman met in their professional debuts back in October, with Lim taking a split decision win in her native Singapore. Now, the pair meet once again, but this time they’re in Osman’s homeland of Malaysia. The first meeting was an entertaining, back-and-forth affair, and there’s no reason to believe the rematch won’t be the same. Given the close nature of the first fight, look for Osman to eke out the decision this time around and set up a potential rubber match for the women.

Henderson: The last time these two fought, my prediction was that Lim would emerge with a decision. My colleague’s prediction? He said Osman would play spoiler. After the results of the first fight, it’s clear that this fight could go either way. Rob is again picking Osman to win, and I’ll take Lim once more. It’ll be a hard-fought battle, but Lim will claim another close decision win.

FW: Herbert Burns (2-0) vs. Harris Sarmiento (36-25)

Henderson: This is one of those bouts, due to the discrepancy in experience, that could only happen in a promotion not under regulation by a U.S. athletic commission. Harris Sarmiento is a WEC, Strikeforce and PXC veteran who has locked horns with the likes of Nick Diaz, Roger Huerta, Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson and Bart Palaszewski over the course of a 61-fight career, and he went deep in all of those fights, though they were all losing efforts. Herbert Burns is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with a no-gi World championship to his name, but the Evolve MMA product is only two fights into his pro MMA career. We’ve seen plenty of phenoms from other combat sports stumble in their early MMA careers, and Sarmiento’s experience makes him a likely contender to hand Burns a loss. Burns stormed his way through a 2-17 fighter and a 5-1 prospect, but this isn’t going to be another easy assignment. Sarmiento takes the win on the scorecards.

Tatum: I’m with Bryan in that this fight is certainly strange on paper. It’s hard to believe that Sarmiento has been competing in MMA for a dozen years, but as his record indicates, he hasn’t found consistent success. As Bryan pointed out, Sarmiento has lost to nearly every recognizable name on his resume. The concern for the 30-year-old is his propensity for the scorecards, even in victory. He’s gone the distance 31 times in his career, while finishing 14 fights and getting finished 16 times. Certainly, I share the same concerns as Bryan about Burns’ lack of cage time—his two wins came in a combined 69 seconds—but you cannot deny his grappling prowess. Sarmiento fits the bill of a journeyman, and Burns is going to pull off an impressive win, forcing his more experienced foe to tap to an armbar in round one.

LW: Peter Davis (7-3) vs. Waqar Umar (3-0)

Tatum: One of the strengths of ONE FC has been finding talent in places that the UFC and Bellator haven’t. This fight is a perfect example, as unbeaten Pakistani Waqar Umar makes his promotional debut against Malaysia’s Peter Davis. The 23-year-old Umar has found success on the mat thus far in his career, but his striking skills are going to be tested against the more experienced Davis. Umar will put up a fight, but eventually succumb to the hands of Davis in round three.

Henderson: Umar may be a talented fighter, but he raises the same questions I had in the UFC’s trip to China. He is undefeated, but he’s from a region that doesn’t offer the same level of training as that of his opponent, nor does it offer competition that can seriously test the young upstart. The 23-year-old could surprise Davis with a submission, but it’s more likely that Umar gets exposed as a fighter whose record is built on wins over opponents who sport a combined 0-3 record (with all three of those losses coming to Umar). Davis is going to give him a rude welcoming to the world of experienced mixed martial artists. Davis via a vicious first-round knockout.