ONE Championship: Predictions and How to Watch 'Masters of Destiny'

Haris KruskicContributor IJuly 10, 2019

ONE Championship

A highly anticipated rematch in the featherweight kickboxing world grand prix and Angela Lee's return to the cage headline ONE: Masters of Destiny's stacked card.

In the main event, Giorgio Petrosyan looks to redeem his controversial loss against Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy from their May bout.

The latter initially won the match by split decision, but ONE president, chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong overturned the ruling because he was unsatisfied with the referee's control of the match. 

Before the main event, women's atomweight champion Lee takes on Michelle Nicolini in hopes of picking up her first win in the strawweight division.

Here is everything you need to know about ONE: Masters of Destiny.

       

Where and How to Watch

The event will be held at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Those in the U.S. can watch the contest for free on B/R Live.

The main card starts at 8:30 a.m. ET, preceded by an eight-match preliminary card that begins at 6 a.m.

The full card stands as follows:

      

Main Card

Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy (featherweight kickboxing world grand prix quarterfinal)

Angela Lee vs. Michelle Nicolini

Ev Ting vs. Daichi Abe

Abro Fernandes vs. Gurdarshan Mangat

Jihin Radzuan vs. Jomary Torres

Troy Worthen vs. Chen Rui

Hiroki Akimoto vs. Kenny Tse (kickboxing)

     

Preliminary Card

Kai Ting Chuang vs. Janet Todd (kickboxing)

Dae Sung Park vs. Kimihiro Eto

Aleksi Toivonen vs. Akihiro Fujisawa

Saiful Merican vs. Mohammed Bin Mahmoud (muay thai)

Adrian Mattheis vs. Li Zhe

Bozhena Antoniyar vs. Bi Nguyen

George Mann vs. Sorgraw Petchyindee Academy (muay thai)

Josh Tonna vs. Yoshihisa Morimoto (kickboxing)

     

Angela Lee vs. Michelle Nicolini

ONE

Angela Lee

Age: 23

Height: 5'4"

Weight: 125 pounds

Stance: Orthodox

Record: 9-1

ONE Record: 9-1

At 19, Angela Lee became the youngest professional mixed martial arts champion in the sport's history.

Almost three years later, Lee is still holding on to her atomweight crown and wanted even more gold around her waist as she faced Xiong Jing Nan last March for the right to be ONE's first-ever two-division women's champion. Unfortunately for Lee, she came up just short as Xiong won a thrilling match in the fifth round.

In addition to her loss against Xiong, Lee endured a lot of adversity outside of the cage the past couple of years, being involved in a car crash that kept her out of action for almost a year and a back injury that also sidelined her for an extended period of time. Now the young phenom must regroup in hopes of earning her first win since May of 2018. 

All seven of Lee's finishes have come by submission, but it's her stand-up game she will rely on against former Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Nicolini. 

Lee should look to keep this bout on her feet and disengage in the clinch as often as possible. When the Brazilian does shoot, as she will likely attempt to do so on multiple occasions, Lee would do well to make her pay on the exit.

"I'm extremely confident," Lee told Tom Taylor of BJPenn.com. "I know jiu jitsu is her skillset where she is strongest, and I'm prepared to deal with her strength, but also take her to areas where I don't feel she's as prepared. I think that I'm more of a well-rounded mixed martial artist. MMA is extremely different than jiu jitsu, and I think everyone's going to see that in the fight."

ONE

Michelle Nicolini

Age: 37

Height: 5'5"

Weight: 125 pounds

Stance: Orthodox

Record: 5-2

ONE Record: 3-1

It's no exaggeration to say that Michelle Nicolini is one of the best BJJ athletes of all time, as she's an eight-time world championship gold medalist in the sport.

In 2011, the Brazilian transitioned into mixed martial arts as well and managed to compile five wins all through submission. She has never been finished in a mixed martial arts bout.

Nicolini will likely have to absorb damage from Lee and keep coming forward to enter the clinch and get the bout to the ground, but that's a natural adjustment someone who never had to deal with strikes in BJJ has to make. 

If she can get past the strikes and drag her opponents down to the mat, though, Nicolini finishes almost academically. She has victories with almost every single submission, including a toehold against Lee in a grappling competition four years ago.

This win for Nicolini seemed to be the catalyst for some bad blood between the two competitors.

While she had some mixed martial arts experience before she arrived, the veteran Nicolini was learning many of the sport's aspects for the first time when she relocated to Singapore in 2016 to work with Evolve, Lee's home gym.

In one of her early days training there, Nicolini was paired up with Lee in muay thai sparring. As hard as she tried to keep up, Nicolini was still very much a rookie while Lee was already a seasoned veteran.

"When I have new girls coming to train, I'm not going to beat them up in the first round," Nicolini told ONE. I would like to get to know the girls who are training a little bit. Maybe we can be friends and help each other. Angela, I don't know if she did it on purpose, but she beat me up a lot—like, really bad in muay thai, and it was a very new sport [for me]. After that, I didn't want to be friends."

Clearly, this incident is still on the mind of Nicolini. Will her feelings toward Lee show during their time in the cage together?

       

Prediction

Nicolini is one of the best BJJ athletes in the world, but her most recent loss to Tiffany Teo last November showed clear deficiencies in her mixed martial arts game against an opponent with a decent sprawl and defense against takedowns.

Lee is head and shoulders better with her striking than Nicolini is but also has experience in defending against high-level grapplers. That should be enough to earn the result for her first win in the strawweight division.

Lee defeats Nicolini by unanimous decision

        

Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy

ONE

Giorgio Petrosyan

Age: 33

Height: 5'10"

Weight: 155 pounds

Stance: Southpaw

Record: 99-3-2

ONE Record: 2-0

Nicknamed "The Doctor," Giorgio Petrosyan is known for his supreme technical skills and defensive prowess that helped him defeat some of the best kickboxers in the world while taking very little damage. 

Heading in to his match with Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy last May, Petrosyan was a clear favorite due to Academy's familiarity with a muay thai ruleset rather than kickboxing. However, controversy struck when the Italian lost by split decision.

His Thai opponent was criticized throughout the bout due to his consistent attempts at grappling with Petrosyan, a set of moves that aren't allowed in ONE's kickboxing ruleset for defensive purposes.

A week after, ONE president, chairman and CEO Sityodtong announced the promotion ruled their match a no contest and that a future rematch would decide the last semifinalist in the featherweight kickboxing world grand prix. 

"ONE Championship has conducted an official review of the controversial bout between Giorgio Petrosyan and Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy at ONE: Enter The Dragon in Singapore," Sityodtong said in a statement on Facebook. "In fairness to all parties, the ONE Competition Committee has formally declared the bout a no contest. The referee did not adequately control the illegal clinching, resulting in multiple infractions during the bout."

How will Petrosyan respond in a rematch he's expected to take full advantage of?

ONE

Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy

Age: 26

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 155 pounds

Stance: Southpaw

Record: 159-34-2

ONE Record: 3-1

For all the relief Petrosyan felt when Sityodtong announced a rematch, there was probably just as much dismay from Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy, whose biggest win in his career would now no longer count.

The Thai clearly felt a little out of place competing in kickboxing and felt the need to utilize more grappling than what is allowed, but to take the win away entirely due to the referee's lack of control over the match forces Petchmorakot to do what's never been done by an opponent before, and that's beat Petrosyan twice.

Petchmorakot's agent, Boat Yindee, expressed his disappointment in the decision on Instagram:

"We were all dedicated to this fight. We did everything we can, despite knowing that we are all inferior to (Petrosyan) with the rules of kickboxing; do not use elbows and limit of knees. But we chose to fight because we want to win this challenge. ... The only reasons that he decided to join this tournament because he likes challenging and wanted to make the Thai people proud. Petrosyan has almost hundred times of experience, but Petchmorakot only fought once with these rules. However, we still fight without any negotiation. We agreed to fight the best kickboxer in spite of subsidiary in everything.

"I feel pity to Petchmorakot because he really did everything for this victory. Practiced so hard for two months, and ran almost 40 kilometers from Suvanbhumi Airport to Royal monument King Chulalongkorn as promised if he won.

"We believe that all is not our fault. The problem is that the ONE Championship kickboxing rules are unclear. We should get into the semifinals because we deserve it."

Petchmorakot initially withdrew from the grand prix after ONE's decision to have a rematch, citing Petrosyan's fans potentially not willing to accept a second positive result for the Thai even if Petchmorakot were to win again. However, he changed his mind shortly after.

Can Petchmorakot shock the world once again by defeating one of the best kickboxers of all time?

       

Prediction

Although it was deemed a no-contest result, one can't help but feel a little sympathy toward Petchmorakot, who already had a tall mountain to climb against Petrosyan.

Now he must find a way to defeat The Doctor again all while adjusting to make sure he doesn't grapple nearly as much as he originally did.

That seems like a tall task considering he barely convinced the judges the first time around. It just doesn't appear written in the stars for Petchmorakot.

Petrosyan defeats Petchmorakot by unanimous decision

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