In my last piece, we previewed why you should wake up early to catch the ONE FC 2 preliminary card, but for those who like sleeping in the main card has a tentative start time around 9:00 AM EST tomorrow morning. Plenty of time to catch some shut-eye before the fights, right?
The main card also has five bout, and features several notable fighters. Bob Sapp, Rolles Gracie, Gustavo Falciroli, Rustam Khabilov, and Ole Laursen are all standouts on this card. With some intriguing fights that could be pivotal to the future of several of ONE FC’s divisions, all eyes will be on Asia’s biggest MMA promotion as they find their footing. The main card will be available on UStream for $9.99 USD. Considering how expensive most MMA PPV cards are these days, that’s more than reasonable for a card of this caliber. So grab a bowl of cereal, put some Saturday morning cartoons on your TV, and check out the ONE FC 2: Battle of Heroes internet PPV.
And now a look at the main card…
Rolles Gracie (5-1) vs Bob Sapp (11-9)
Fighting out of the Renzo Gracie Academy, Brazil’s Gracie, a one-time UFC and IFL fighter, looks to live up to the family name and show his submission chops against the mammoth Sapp. The 33-year-old submission specialist has five wins in his MMA career, all by way of Arm-Triangle Choke in the first round. Rolles looks for his third consecutive win since a 2010 loss to Joey Beltran stopped his UFC career before it ever really got started.
The lone American on the card, Sapp, fights out of Team Beast. A popular fighter in Japan, Sapp has fought some of the best in MMA and K-1, although those fights, for the most part, came earlier in his career. Sapp was winless in kickboxing from 2005 until this month, where he won a very controversial TKO over Tofan Pirani. Sapp has also managed only one victory in his last seven outings. Looking for his first MMA victory in two years, Sapp brings a near 100-pound weight advantage to this cage.
Sapp needs to use his size and sub-par, yet powerful striking, to punish Gracie. On the other hand, Gracie needs to keep Sapp at bay on the feet, and bring him into his realm, where the submission victory shouldn’t be hard to find. The best way to describe this fight that it is a simple battle of size versus skill.
Soo Chul Kim (4-2) vs Gustavo Falciroli (11-3-2)
Fans of ONE FC may recall the South Korean Kim. The Team Force prospect came into the first event as a heavily watched Korean MMA fan favorite, however, whether it be pressure, or just facing a better fighter in Leandro Issa, Kim came up short. The 20 year old looks to rebound from his second career loss in this bout, and will likely use a variety of striking to try to keep the fight where he wants it, and defeat the second high-level grappler that he has faced in as many fights.
Godoi Jiu-Jitsu Club’s Falciroli is Australia’s lone fighter on the card. The Shooto Australia veteran comes into this match with three victories in his last four fights, one by submission, one by knockout, and one by decision. Falciroli has the tools required to win any battle, no matter where it goes. The second degree BJJ black belt is also an accomplished striker, and the word is that with another victory or two, he could very well be UFC bound as they expand their operations.
A considerably tougher fight for than Kim is used to, the South Korean needs to be smart in this bout, and perhaps work a defensive game. Falciroli is a dangerous fighter and can end it on the feet or on the ground at any given time, and although I never like to count any fighter out before match-up happens, it’s no secret that Falciroli is heavily favoured in this time out. Look for these two to put on a fast pace, and don’t be surprised if this bantamweight tilt encompasses all the aspects of the MMA game.
Rodrigo Ribeiro (9-7) vs Rustam Khabilov (12-1)
Fighting out of Evolve MMA, Brazillian grappler Riberio steps into the ONE FC cage in only his second bout outside of Brazil. The third degree BJJ black belt has a mixed record in his career thus far, and looks for his second consecutive victory in this bout. With most of his wins coming by way of submission, it’s fairly clear where Ribeiro wants this fight to go.
Across the cage from him is Jackson’s MMA fighter Khabilov. The Russian Sambo player is one of Russia’s highest touted prospects with his 12-1 record. His first non-European fight, Khabilov has almost exclusively competed within the M-1 ring. His only loss was a controversial split decision loss to Russian Khaskhanov back in February of 2011. With most of his wins coming by way of submission or decision, it could be a gamble for him to take the action to the ground, but with his Sambo experience, it may also be his best weapon.
This bout pits two dominant martial arts against each other. For the Brazillian, Ribeiro, BJJ is his bread and butter, and he’ll look to use his skills to hand Khabilov his second loss. For the Russian, Khabilov, Sambo is held in the same regard as BJJ is to the Brazillian, and he too, will look to use his dominate skills to find success outside of the European MMA scene.
Bae Young Kwon (6-2) vs Honorio Banario (6-0)
The #1 ranked South Korean fighterKwon enters the cage on the strength of a two-fight win streak. A Team Posse fighter, the “Serial Killer” loves to go for the knockout, but is definitely not afraid to fight wherever the action goes. The Shooto veteran faces likely his toughest challenge yet in Banario, but he’s not the #1 ranked Korean featherweight for nothing, and he plans to confidently show the world why he’s as highly regarded as he is.
Team Lakay’s Banario is undefeated; the Filipino striker mixes his powerful standup skills and his excellent wrestling and submissions to win his fights, with all of his victories coming within the distance. “The Rock” is the current URCC lightweight champ, but is dropping down to featherweight for this bout. He is well known for his ability to push the pace without gassing, and looks to make a statement in his ONE FC debut.
This bout pits the best Korean featherweight against one of the best Filipino lightweights around, and promises to be an exciting fight, which should add some clarity to the top of the ONE FC featherweight division. Most certainly, the winner of this match-up will be able to stake his claim as perhaps the best featherweight on the ONE FC roster.
Felipe Enomoto (5-3 1 NC) vs Ole Laursen (5-2)
Japanese standout Enomoto fights out of Enomoto Dojo. Despite losing in his last two outings, Enomoto is always a very dangerous fighter. With an abundance of BJJ experience, as well as being trained in muay Thai and boxing, Enomoto is more than capable of winning. Having experience in ProFC and Pancrase, Enomoto is used to shows at this level, and should have no problem getting into his comfort zone this time out.
Fighting out of Legacy Gym, the Filipino Laursen returns to MMA after more than a year away due to injuries. After suffering two losses to open his career, to Genki Sudo and Caol Uno, Laursen put together a five-fight winning streak, with all but one of those victories going within the distance. The muay Thai champion will look to use his vast array of strikes to punish Enomoto and secure his sixth consecutive win.
While both men have experience against tough opponents, their toughest fights could come against each other. While Enomoto doesn’t excel in any specific area, his well-rounded fighting style should allow him to be more than able to compete with Laursen. For “Iron Fist”, ring rust may be an issue, but he has had long layoffs before. His striking is his key to victory, but don’t be shocked if he looks for a submission win along the way.
All in all, for those who get up early enough, this card will be excellent. I know that I, for one, will be up at the crack of dawn, proudly wearing my ONE FC shirt, and you should be too. Don’t have a ONE FC shirt? Get a shirt and write ONE FC on it and wear it.
Enjoy the fights!