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The List: 5 reasons to be excited about ONE on Prime Video 4, ONE 163 this month

From world title fights to a grand prix finale and much more, here's why these November events will be so much fun.
rodtang-jitmuangnon

ONE Championship's schedule this month should pique the interest of any combat sports fan.

The world's largest martial arts organization will stage back-to-back cards at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, with "ONE on Prime Video 4: Abbasov vs. Lee," airing live in U.S. primetime on Friday, November 18, and "ONE 163: Akimoto vs. Petchtanong" following on Saturday, November 19.

With world Title fights, a world grand prix championship final, many of the promotion's top stars in action, and four different sports on display, there will be plenty to entertain the global fan base.

As we look ahead to both events, here are five big reasons to get excited about November's matchups in ONE.

1. Two world champions challenge for double-gold

ONE on Prime Video 4 will be topped by two world champion vs. world champion contests, with both challengers seeking gold in a second weight division. 

In the main event, ONE lightweight world champion Christian Lee (16-4) steps up to face ONE welterweight world champion Kiamrian Abbasov (23-5).

After regaining his crown with a dominant second-round stoppage of Ok Rae Yoon, Lee is brimming with confidence, but he'll have his hands full against the Kyrgyz king. 

Both men possess finishing ability on the feet and on the ground, and it'll be interesting to see how Lee's skills can match up with "Brazen's" physicality.

The co-main event will see ONE strawweight muay Thai world champion Joseph Lasiri move back up to challenge for Rodtang Jitmuangnon's ONE flyweight muay Thai world title.

Lasiri caused a shock when he finished Prajanchai PK.Saenchai to win his belt, and he could score an even greater upset by dethroning "The Iron Man."

Of course, Rodtang has been unstoppable inside the ONE circle with a perfect 11-0 slate across kickboxing and muay Thai.

It will take a ton of heart and desire to beat him – but those traits are embodied by "The Hurricane," who's hoping to make the seemingly impossible become possible.

2 Akimoto defends his belt for the first time

After a sensational run through the ranks, Hiroki Akimoto will put his ONE bantamweight kickboxing world title on the line in the main event of ONE 163.

The Japanese star will face off against seasoned Thai striker Petchtanong Petchfergus, and although he holds the crown, there are plenty of reasons to believe the challenger will pose an incredibly difficult test.

Most notably, former WMC muay Thai world champion Petchtanong owns a 357-56-1 professional record – dwarfing Akimoto's 26-1 slate – so there isn't much he hasn't seen.

But with a karate background that will offer up some unfamiliar territory for his opponent, Akimoto still has some tricks up his own sleeve.

His crowning moment against Capitan Petchyindee showed that experience is not everything, and the 30-year-old titleholder will aim to prove that once again by fending off the No. 3-ranked contender.

3. Heavyweight kickboxing stars settle rivalry in grand prix final

Roman Kryklia and Iraj Azizpour will square off at ONE 163 in a matchup that's both figuratively and literally massive.

The inaugural ONE heavyweight kickboxing world grand prix championship final pits the familiar foes against one another again with their head-to-head score level at 1-1.

Reigning ONE light heavyweight kickboxing world champion Kryklia and Iranian star Azizpour are 4-0 and 3-0 in the organization, respectively, meaning nobody's been able to stop them so far.

One of them will leave with a blemish on their record, while the winner will exit with a new silver belt over their shoulder and the likely chance to compete for the inaugural ONE heavyweight kickboxing world title in the future.

Both Kryklia and Azizpour have the skillset to be technical and devastating at the same time, and this clash of titans is sure to deliver all-out action. 

4. Top lightweight MMA contender could emerge

ONE 163 will include a pivotal matchup between two athletes who are on the cusp of ONE lightweight world title contention.

Russian phenom Saygid Izagakhmaev (21-2) has been touted as the future of the division, and the No. 4-ranked contender could push himself closer to the top while reigning king Lee is occupied at welterweight.

However, he's facing a tough battle against former ONE lightweight world champion Shinya Aoki (47-10) – a legendary submission specialist who could have the antidote to Izagkhmaev's smothering top game.

With four wins in his last five outings, No. 5-ranked Aoki is still one of the division's elite competitors, and this is a massive opportunity for Izagakhmaev to prove he belongs in the upper echelon.

5. Former ONE world champions hit the comeback trail

Getting to the top of ONE Championship is an astonishing feat, and no athlete who reaches those heights can ever be written off. 

Along with former lightweight king Aoki, there are four more former ONE world champions looking to move back toward the throne in their respective divisions.

Bibiano Fernandes' long reign as the ONE bantamweight world champion made him the most dominant titleholder in ONE history, and he'll face No. 5-ranked Stephen Loman at ONE on Prime Video 4.

Fernandes (24-5) still occupies the No. 3 contender spot, but Loman (16-2) will carry a 10-fight winning streak into this contest.

On the same card, Fernandes' old nemesis and former bantamweight king Kevin Belingon (20-9) welcomes Kim Jae Woong (12-6) to the division, while former ONE flyweight muay Thai world champion Jonathan Haggerty starts his own bantamweight campaign against Vladimir Kuzmin. 

And once the owner of the ONE middleweight and light heavyweight world titles, Myanmar hero Aung La N Sang (27-13) is back in business against Japanese legend Yushin Okami (37-14) at ONE 163.

This story first published at ONEFC.com.