ONE Championship’s 2023 has the potential to be the most exciting year of the promotion’s existence.
Having already confirmed plans to triple the number of events broadcasted in 2023, The Home of Martial Arts will look to headline its record 68 scheduled events with scintillating bouts.
With that said, here are three fights we would like to see banner a ONE event in the next calendar year.
Christian Lee Vs. Saygid Izagakhmaev
Christian Lee’s year was undoubtedly the most eventful and impactful of his career.
Having lost his ONE Lightweight World Title to OK Rae Yoon earlier in the year, Lee battled back to reclaim the gold before winning a second title at welterweight.
Many were calling the champion-versus-champion bout with then-ONE Welterweight World Champion Kiamrian Abbasov a true contender for fight of the year, and it lived up to the hype.
The Singapore scrapper came back from the verge of defeat to stop the Russian in the fourth frame.
In 2023, Lee could see himself face another Russian foe in Saygid Izagakhmaev. The lightweight contender is fresh off a first-round crushing of MMA legend Shinya Aoki at ONE 163 in November.
Now 3-0 in the organization, Izagakhmaev is calling for his opportunity with Singapore’s favorite son. The style both men bring would make for an intriguing bout in the coming year, should the 22-2 contender get his shot.
Anatoly Malykhin Vs. Buchecha
Anatoly Malykhin’s year was also a gleaming success. In early 2022, “Sladkiy” was crowned the ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion after beating Kirill Grishenko.
Then, the heavyweight slugger put his momentum to good use, challenging former two-division ONE World Champion Reinier de Ridder for his light heavyweight crown. Malykhin made good on his opportunity, dismissing “The Dutch Knight” in the opening stanza by knockout.
As he returns to the heavyweight division with a second World Title over his shoulder, Malykhin is eager to continue his form. He could do so against Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, a 17-time BJJ World Champion who is currently 4-0 with four first-round stoppages.
The Brazilian has been eying a return on ONE’s debut U.S. event in May, ONE Fight Night 10, and might well find himself standing adjacent to the Russian standout.
Jonathan Haggerty’s MMA Transition
Jonathan Haggerty has long been a staple of ONE. A former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion, fans could see Haggerty transition to mixed martial arts in the new year.
ALSO READ | 3 ONE Championship stars that retired in 2022
The Englishman feels unimpressed by ONE’s bantamweight MMA athlete’s abilities on the feet and believes he could challenge for the division’s crown after a few tune-up fights.
Should we see him enter the MMA ranks in 2023, the fierce striker’s evolution will prove to be intriguing viewing.