"ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen" goes down Friday, and fans have plenty of reasons to look forward to this thrilling card.
There are crucial bouts that could promote fighters into the rankings, a heavyweight fiesta that guarantees knockouts, and even a main event that will determine the next ONE featherweight muay Thai world title challenger.
Aside from the headliners Tawanchai PK.Saenchai and Niclas Larsen, there are several other athletes who stand to gain the most at ONE 158. Here are five of them.
A victory for Fabricio "Wonder Boy" Andrade against "Pretty Boy" Kwon Won Il should see him gain a couple of spots in the bantamweight ranks and perhaps make him a clear favorite to challenge for ONE bantamweight world champion John "Hands Of Stone" Lineker's gold.
The Brazilian fighter is riding on a six-fight winning streak, and he confidently believes he’ll extend that streak on Friday.
Andrade feels there is no athlete in the division who can hold a candle to his talents. However, his striking repertoire should be tested to maximum capacity against the Seoul native, who shares a common trait.
Kwon has already lit up the ONE circle with some fantastic knockouts during his four-year promotional tenure. In fact, he recently finished former ONE bantamweight world champion Kevin Belingon with a body shot.
Both men should be in attack mode as soon as the bell rings, and Andrade – who has plenty on the line – could gain one of his most significant victories of his career if he can find a way around Kwon's heavy hands.
Rade Opacic has enjoyed an incredible start to his journey in ONE, but his status as the most dangerous man in the heavyweight kickboxing division will be pushed to the edge against Brazilian colossal Guto Inocente.
The 36-year-old scored a dominant second-round TKO in his promotional debut this past February, and he hopes to maintain that run of form against the Serbian tank, who is on a 4-0 run in the organization.
Opacic's streak has made him a favorite to secure a shot at the ONE heavyweight kickboxing world title if and when it is inaugurated.
But if Inocente can shut down the Belgrade native, he would certainly out himself at the head of the heavyweight fray.
Yodkaikaew "Y2K" Fairtex is one of the most exciting flyweights on the ONE roster.
The 31-year-old has blended his MMA knowledge alongside his world-renowned muay Thai arsenal to kick-start his time at the Singapore-based organization with three successive wins – two of which were jaw-dropping knockouts.
However, things haven’t gone quite as planned for the Pattaya native in recent times, so a win for him over Gurdarshan Mangat is all he needs to get things back on track.
If he can re-discover the heart and the impeccable work rate that made him a force in his earlier outings, then a much-needed win for the Thai is all but guaranteed.
Simon Carson is one of the latest additions to ONE’s stacked heavyweight roster. The Melbourne resident owns two wins in his career, achieving his triumphs via first-round TKO.
He has all the weapons to shine on the global stage, but his next rival – 13-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida – is a far superior litmus test.
"Buchecha" has taken to MMA like a duck to water, using his world-renowned grappling prowess to maintain a 100 percent record in the all-encompassing sport. However, Almeida striking game still appears a bit raw.
Should Carson catch the Brazilian in that very area, the Australian martial artist could probably gain the most at ONE 158 – he can become the first man to stop the Brazilian, introduce himself to the global fan base, and maybe work his way towards a shot at the heavyweight crown.
Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat "The Kazakh" Akhmetov is a man on a mission. The flyweight star has picked up four consecutive victories to secure his spot as the #2-ranked contender in the division.
And a triumph over Tatsumitsu "The Sweeper" Wada could line him up for another shot at the gold he once owned.
The former divisional king’s grappling acumen makes him a dangerous foe on any given day, and he should be able to control this contest with his bread and butter.
Wada, however, is a formidable foe. The Japanese veteran knows how to minimize his opponent’s threats while relying on his huge frame to chalk up attacks in the stand-up department or on the ground.
If Akhmetov can find a way to punish "The Sweeper," it could lead to the golden opportunity he has craved for nearly the past five years.