ONE Championship action returns this weekend with “ONE: DANGAL,” a tape-delayed event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium to be broadcast on Saturday.
Filipino-American ONE world heavyweight champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera headlines the event as he makes his third title defense this time against Indian challenger Arjan “Singh” Bhullar.
Forty-three-year-old Vera (16-8) is out to retain his standing as the top fighter in the division and show that he is nowhere done doing mixed martial arts (MMA).
Mr. Vera trained at Sanford MMA in Florida for much of the time for his latest fight. It was a move, he said, that gave him added perspective in what he is doing and reinvigorated him to be on top of his game.
“Out of all the techniques, out of the perfect training schedule at Sanford MMA, coach Henri Hooft, coach Greg [Jones], how they communicate, out of everything that I could tell you, the best part of me moving to Sanford is that I got to become just a student again,” he said of the experience he got in his training camp.
At Sanford MMA, Mr. Vera, who traces his Filipino roots to Quezon Province, got to train with top-level fighters, including fellow ONE campaigners and former champions Aung La N Sang and Martin Nguyen.
Out to cut the reign of Mr. Vera, meanwhile, is champion wrestler Bhullar, who sports a 10-1 MMA record.
Like The Truth, Mr. Bhullar paraded his wares at the Ultimate Fighting Championship before signing up with ONE.
In his ONE debut in October 2019, the Indian fighter beat Mauro Cerilli of Italy by unanimous decision.
Mr. Bhullar said he is looking forward to the contest and vowed to do well as he vies to become India’s first MMA world champion.
“Being a world champion is the most important to me and the fact that I have the ability to make history and be the first (mixed martial arts world champion) in India is very, very important. One, for myself and my legacy, and two, for the next generation to wake up and other wrestlers and martial artists from India to understand that this is possible for them,” he said.
Serving as co-main event for “ONE: DANGAL” is the bantamweight muay thai clash between Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym of Thailand and Sean Clancy of Ireland.
Also on tap is Vietnam-American atomweight Bi Nguyen against India’s Ritu Phogat; Japanese Ayaka Miura versus Rayane Bastos of Brazil in an MMA catchweight (58.3 kg) fight; and Indian-Canadian Gurdarshan Mangat against Roshan Mainam of India in a 65 kg catchweight battle.
“ONE: Dangal” will be broadcast here over One Sports at 6 p.m. and on May 16 at 12 a.m. over TV5. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo