ONE Championship is back Friday with the Dreams of Gold event in Bangkok.
Flyweight kickboxing world champion Petchdam Petchyindee Academy defends his belt for the first time against Ilias Ennahachi in the main event. The featherweight kickboxing world grand prix semifinals take place as Samy Sana faces Dzhabar Askerov and Giorgio Petrosyan goes up against Smokin' Jo Nattawut.
Dreams of Gold also features the mixed martial arts debut of Stamp Fairtex, who is the reigning atomweight muay thai and kickboxing champions. She begins her journey to claim the championship in a third martial art, which has never been done before in a major promotion.
Here is how to watch Dreams of Gold and three things to pay attention to.
Where and How to Watch
Those in the U.S. can watch the contest for free on B/R Live. The main card starts at approximately 9:30 a.m. ET.
Petchdam Petchyindee Academy vs. Ilias Ennahachi (flyweight kickboxing world championship)
Smokin' Jo Nattawut vs. Giorgio Petrosyan (featherweight kickboxing world grand prix semifinal)
Stamp Fairtex vs. Asha Roka
Samy Sana vs. Dzhabar Askerov (featherweight kickboxing world grand prix semifinal)
Alex Silva vs. Stefer Rahardian
Muangthai Pk.Saenchaimuaythaigym vs. Kenta Yamada
Thanh Le vs. Kotetsu Boku
3 Questions to be Answered
Will Stamp Fairtex pull out any surprises?
Fairtex faces Asha Roka, a 4-0 Indian nicknamed the Knockout Queen who returns to action for the first time since 2017. Although this is Fairtex's debut in the sport, the Thai will still likely be considered the favorite due to her wealth of experience, particularly in muay thai.
The question is, will we see something different out of Fairtex than her usual muay thai striking? Even when she defeated Kai Ting Chuang for the kickboxing crown, she still walked the fine line between its rules and that of muay thai so much so the referee consistently reminded her not to clinch as a defense mechanism, a big difference from her native sport.
How will Fairtex look outside of her comfort zone if Roka decides to bring the bout to the mat, a circumstance the two-sport champion has never needed to consider before. Will we see any aspect of Fairtex's wrestling and jiu-jitsu arsenal or is this a match where striking prevails?
Has Giorgio Petrosyan figured out a strategy against Thai boxing?
ONE Championship @ONEChampionship
🔥 THE REMATCH IS ON 🔥 Smokin' Jo Nattawut meets Giorgio Petrosyan again on Friday! This time, the stakes are even higher as a US$1 million ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix finals spot hangs in the balance 👀 #WeAreONE #DreamsOfGold #Bangkok #MartialArts https://t.co/NEETdILSBn
One million dollars is at stake in the ONE featherweight kickboxing world grand prix, and Giorgio Petrosyan is back in the tournament after defeating Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy in a rematch after ONE ruled his Thai opponent's initial victory a no-contest due to illegal clinching. Clinches are common in muay thai.
Although the defensive clinching of Petchmorakot was deemed illegal, Petrosyan still seemed to struggle with exchanges even after legal clinches from his opponent. The Doctor recovered nicely in their rematch and won in straightforward fashion.
Now Petrosyan faces another descendant of muay thai in Smokin' Jo Nattawut. The Italian already defeated Nattawut in his ONE debut last year, but the latter has grown significantly and is 4-0 since their first meeting.
Can Nattawut capitalize on the playbook Petchmorakot laid out for him and defeat (legally) one of the world's most decorated kickboxers, or has Petrosyan solved the riddle to defeating muay thai-based competitors?
Is Petchdam Petchyindee Academy a worthy champion?
Much has been said about Petchdam Petchyindee Academy. Whether it's the over-the-top entrances, Baby Shark dances, his colorful hair or his prolific striking, Petchdam stands out among the rest in more ways than one.
However, the champion's title win against Elias Mahmoudi in May was unconvincing to say the least.
In unfortunate circumstances, Petchdam won the inaugural ONE flyweight kickboxing world championship after Mahmoudi was unable to continue due to a groin strike in the fifth round. Additionally, an early yellow card given to Mahmoudi docked the Algerian points and effectively made the judges' decision to award Petchdam a unanimous victory a little easier. Had Mahmoudi not been penalized, the judges would've been forced into a closer decision.
Between the abrupt end to the hotly contested match due to injury and a yellow card that in hindsight could've been pivotal to the result of the bout, Petchdam needs a marquee win against Dutchman Ilias Ennahachi (29-2) to help prove his reign as champion isn't due to fortunate circumstances. Can he add substance to the flash of his title reign?