ONE FC 15: Rise of Heroes – What’s next for the main card winners?

ONE FC 15: Rise of Heroes is a thing of the past with some meaningful results coming out of the organization’s first Filipino event of the calendar year.

In the main event, Bantamweight standout Bibiano Fernandes defended his ONE FC belt successfully against Shooto veteran, Masakatsu Ueda. The Brazilian had his grappling prowess to thank as he dispatched Ueda easily over 25 minutes to score a lopsided Decision victory.

With the victory and now a near four-year unbeaten run, Fernandes added to his legacy as one of the most successful fighters in the 135-lbs division today.

In the co-main event, fan favorite Eduard Folayang showed his improved wrestling game by chain-wrestling former ONE FC champ Kotetsu Boku for a Unanimous Decision triumph. Boku’s hard punches were kept at bay by Folayang’s immaculate footwork and the Japanese fighter struggled to find answers for Folayang’s takedown attempts over three stanzas.

With that, several other ONE FC 15: Rise of Heroes competitors made noise as well.

Former world Boxing champ Ana Julaton enjoyed the adulation of the audience and had a pro MMA debut to savor, when she finished Egyptian kickboxer Aya Saeid Saber via Punches in the third round. James McSweeney solidified a spot on the ONE FC highlight reels as he capped his promotional debut off with a stunning knee knockout over Chris Lokteff. Rob Lisita, meanwhile, continued his momentum with his fourth consecutive victory in the bag, after brutalizing former Legend FC champ Yusuke Kawanago with punches to gain revenge for the loss he suffered in their first outing two years ago.

Fight Sport Asia has decided to sit on the armchair belonging to ONE FC’s matchmaker Matt Hume, and derive possible match-ups that could materialize for the main card winners following Friday’s sterling event.

Give our picks a read below and let us know if you agree.

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  • Name: Ana Julaton (1-0)
  • Who she should face next: A ONE FC Newcomer

No disrespect to Ana Julaton who did look impressive in her pro MMA debut but ONE FC will have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a 125-pounder who would match-up well to her. The reality of the situation is that while Julaton will be one of ONE FC’s biggest draws, it’s hard to see her as an accomplished pro MMA fighter at this point, with only a single MMA appearance to her credit. She has a long way to go.

That’s not to say Julaton doesn’t have the potential and skills needed to get to the top, but she must be properly brought up. It remains to be seen if ONE FC can bring in a Flyweight that will not be a overwhelming test for Julaton because let’s face it: that can only benefit her career.

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  • Name: Leandro Ataides (7-0)
  • Who he should face next: Brock Larson (37-8)

With an undefeated record of seven fights into his MMA career, including an unscathed 2-0 ONE FC stint, there’s no denying that Evolve MMA sensation, Leandro Ataides, is legit. While Ataides’ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pedigree is something to behold and translates incredibly well to MMA competition, particularly in his earlier fights, there’s no denying that the Brazilian carries dynamites in this fists as well. His past two fights bears testament to that statement. The 27-year-old is starting to put a blend of his skills together and it would be sensible to offer him a top opponent next.

Now, former ONE FC title challenger Brock Larson would fit this bill perfectly. Larson is coming off a loss in his 185-lbs title encounter with Nobutatsu Suzuki, so a match-up with a rising, hungry contender like Ataides could exactly be what he needs to get back into title contention.

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  • Name: James McSweeney (13-11)
  • Who he should face next: Paul Cheng (4-1)

McSweeney thwarted an experienced Aussie vet with a devastating, highlight-reel knee knockout and made his intentions clear that he wants the best ONE FC can offer. The Brit is much more than just a decorated Muay Thai practitioner, and if he continues to knock opponents out silly like he did on Friday night, it won’t be long before he finds himself challenging for ONE FC’s inaugural Heavyweight strap.

Paul Cheng, meanwhile, is coming off a successful ONE FC debut at ONE FC 13: Moment of Truth over Alain Ngalani.

McSweeney’s resume is undoubtedly impressive and while Paul Cheng isn’t what you call the cream of the crop in the weight class, it does make sense given the division’s lack of fighters.

Phuket Top Team's Rob Lisita poses for the camera at a press conference held in Singapore.

  • Name: Rob Lisita (14-5)
  • Who he should face next: Winner of Honorio Banario (8-3) vs. Jadamba Narantungalag (8-3)

It’s pretty obvious that Phuket Top Team native Rob Lisita is in the form of his life. He’s on a stellar run with four straight wins, all of which have ended in stoppages.

It’s certainly criminal to take away the jaw-dropping finishes Lisita has pulled off in his past four outings, but it would sensible to have the Australian paired against a top 145-lbs opponent in the division before hailing him as the next title contender to champ Koji Oishi’s throne.

Two fighters who have had success in the region thus far are Honorio Banario and Jadamba Narantungalag, who meet at ONE FC 16: Honor & Glory in Singapore later this month.

Regardless of who comes out as the winner, either would provide an interesting, stylistic match-up for Lisita, as he looks to impress the ONE FC brass for a shot at the title.

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  • Name: Rey Docyogen (11-2)
  • Who he should face next: Eugene Toquero (5-1)

Docyogen’s time in the ONE FC cage hasn’t quite gone as planned. After opening his ONE FC career account with a 0-2 record, he finally scored his first victory under the promotion’s flag with a lopsided decision victory over Josh Alvarez on Friday night. While Docyogen’s title hopes faded upon those losses, mouth watering match-ups to get him back into title contention still remain.

One of those fights could be against Eugene Toquero, who bagged a victory in the preliminary portion of Friday’s card over rising starlet, Gianni Subba. Toquero’s unorthodox and in-your-face fighting style coupled with Docyogen’s highly praised all-round game could provide some nice fireworks.

Moreover, Team Lakay, the gym that Docyogen’s hails from, and Submission Sports Philippines, the facility that Toquero plies his trade in, have developed a rivalry of sorts over the years so should this match-up materialize, it could further wet the appetite of fans.

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  • Name: Eduard Folayang (14-4)
  • Who he should face next: Peter Davis (8-3)

Peter Davis will be looking for a match-up to cement his place in the upper echelon of the 155-lbs division, which fits well with Filipino MMA superstar Eduard Folayang, a Lightweight contender who’s still finding his groove to string a couple of victories together.

It’s also a perfect clash of styles. Folayang will be wary about enforcing takedowns knowing that could play right into the hands of Davis, who’s by far one of the division’s strongest grapplers.

There are certainly plenty of fights available for Folayang in the current state of the division, but the most intriguing of which could be against the Malaysian.

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  • Name: Bibiano Fernandes (16-3)
  • Who he should face next: Winner of Adriano Moraes (10-1) vs. Dae Hwan Kim (10-0-1)

Although reigning ONE FC Bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes has been nothing short of dominant in his outings thus far, the top of the division must roll on.

After ONE FC 14: War of Nations, prospects Adriano Moraes and Dae Hwan Kim established themselves as worthy contenders to the 135-lbs throne, regardless of what some would call ‘inexperience’.

Nonetheless, each potential match-up would likely produce some sparks, which of course, markets well for spectators. Even though the talent pool in the division, as it is right now, does not contain that many worthy title challengers, both Moraes and Kim are at the top of the pile.

While they will be considered huge underdogs, either of them would pose a threat to Fernandes.

Furthermore, both Moraes and Kim carry a strong submission game which so happens to be the bread and butter of Fernandes’ skill-set, so stylistically, this would make sense.

For full ONE FC 15: Rise of Heroes results, click here

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Thinesh John is a Singapore-based MMA writer. You can check out some of his work over on MMASucka.com. Follow him (@ThineshJohnMMA), and be sure keep up with the latest Asian MMA news from FightSportAsia.com on Twitter (@FightSportAsia) and Facebook

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Categories: ONE FC, Philippines

Author:Thinesh John

20, Asian MMA nerd in Singapore.

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