Superlek and Mahmoudi to Square Off in ONE Fight Night 18 Main Event

November 23, 2023
From: Spartacus

Bangkok’s iconic Lumpinee Stadium is gearing up for an electrifying start to 2023. On January 12, under the bright lights of ONE Fight Night 18, Superlek Kiatmookao will put his ONE Championship flyweight kickboxing title on the line against Elias Mahmoudi. The event, initially shrouded in secrecy, became public knowledge following a leak on the Thaiticketmajor website, stirring a whirlwind of anticipation on social media.

Superlek, dubbed “The Kicking Machine,” is not just any contender. With an imposing promotional record of 12-1, his only setback was a tightly contested duel against Ilias Ennahachi for the flyweight kickboxing crown in 2021. Since then, Superlek has rebounded with an impressive 10-fight winning streak, solidifying his position as a premier striker and a formidable champion. Despite a slight hiccup in his last bout against Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon, where a missed weight opportunity denied him a World Title, Superlek’s performance still echoes as a 2023 Fight of the Year contender.

As he prepares to defend his kickboxing throne, Superlek faces a formidable opponent in Mahmoudi, known as “The Sniper.” Mahmoudi, who narrowly missed clinching the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title against Petchdam Petchyindee in 2019, is a force to be reckoned with. His recent first-round annihilation of Edgar Tabares signaled a fighter ready to reclaim his position at the summit.

This bout isn’t just a contest; it’s a collision of contrasting styles. Superlek’s impeccable technique and knockout prowess meet Mahmoudi’s relentless pressure and unconventional approach. Fans eagerly anticipate a showdown filled with potential highlight-reel moments and a fierce battle for the flyweight kickboxing title.

ONE Fight Night 18 isn’t just about this headliner. The event also features a clash between former bantamweight Muay Thai title challenger Liam Harrison and ex-MMA champion John Lineker. Additionally, South Korean MMA bantamweight Kwon Won-il returns to face Mongolia’s Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg.

Mahmoudi, a French-Iranian fighter, showcased his lethal skills in his last bout against Edgar Tabares, securing a first-round TKO in a flyweight Muay Thai match. However, like Superlek, he also faced the challenge of missing weight. This common ground adds another layer of intrigue to their upcoming face-off.

Superlek’s path forward is laden with potential marquee matchups. He expressed his willingness to take on any challenger, with rematches against Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Jonathan Haggerty on the horizon. Additionally, a bout with Japanese kickboxing legend Takeru Segawa, who is poised to make his ONE debut in Tokyo, is a tantalizing possibility.

Meanwhile, ONE Championship continues to expand its global presence with it’s comeback to Japan. Chatri Sityodtong, the charismatic CEO and chairman of ONE, recently announced at a press conference in Tokyo that the organization will confirm the exact dates for its highly anticipated return. This development marks a significant chapter in ONE Championship’s expanding global footprint, particularly in a country deeply rooted in martial arts tradition.

The excitement around this return is not just about bringing high-octane martial arts action back to Japan; it’s also about the synergy of two powerhouses. ONE has entered into a multi-year partnership with Rakuten, Japan’s e-commerce juggernaut. This collaboration is a testament to the shared vision and commitment to innovation that both organizations embody.

“I am thrilled that ONE Championship is partnering with Rakuten, a brand with a long-standing reputation in the market. and have the same passion for innovation to bring the ONE competition back to Japan next year,” Chatri announced. 

Japan holds a special place in the world of martial arts, being a land where these arts have not just been practiced but revered for centuries. The historical and cultural significance of martial arts in Japan is unparalleled. ONE’s return, therefore, is not just an event; it’s a homecoming to a place that has been integral to the very fabric of martial arts history.

The collaboration with Rakuten is a strategic move by ONE. Rakuten, known for its innovative approach in the e-commerce sector, brings a wealth of experience and a robust platform to the partnership. This synergy is expected to amplify the reach and impact of martial arts events, making them more accessible to a broader audience, both in Japan and globally.

ONE Championship’s previous events in Tokyo have been nothing short of spectacular, attracting large crowds and featuring some of the most memorable fights in the sport’s recent history. With this new partnership, the scale and grandeur of these events are expected to reach new heights. Fans can look forward to an array of bouts featuring top international talent, showcasing the best of mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, and kickboxing.

Chatri’s excitement is palpable as he looks forward to kickstarting this new era. “ONE is beloved by fans around the world, especially in Japan. A land where martial arts have been steeped in cultural history for a long time. We have held many big tournaments in Tokyo. And with this collaboration with Rakuten, we can’t wait to kick off a new era with our return.”

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