ONE FC 23 Main Card Preview: Bibiano Fernandes vs Dae Hwan Kim

ONE FC 23: Warrior’s Way is just a few short hours away, as a fight card filled with prospects and big names will entertain fans in the Philippines.  The fight card can be watched around the world at or on Fox Sports 3 in Asia.  The ten fight card is headlined by a Bantamweight Title bout between champion Bibiano Fernandes and undefeated South Korean Dae Hwan Kim.  FSA breaks down the main card below:


Jake Butler (4-1) vs Sylvain Potard (7-4)
Jake Butler is a former NCAA Division I wrestler who is currently training with Evolve MMA.  Jake made his ONE FC debut in his pro MMA debut at ONE FC 7, where he finished Antonio Romulo in the first round.  Jake went on to win his next fight before losing to Sylvain Potard at ONE FC 11 in October of 2013.  Butler returned to ONE FC with another finish at ONE FC 18, where he stopped Mohamed Ali with strikes in the third round.
French fighter Sylvain Potard comes from a Judo background, training out of cross fight in Paris, France.  The 34-year-old fighter is 1-0 in ONE FC and will carry a three fight win streak into the circular cage this Friday.  Potard’s most recent fight was a unanimous decision loss in September of this year at Strength & Honor 10.
Jake Butler will have the height and reach advantage going into this fight.  The first fight was just under 14 months ago.  Both men are continuing to grow on the feet, Butler the more dynamic striker with his varied kicking game.  Jake Butler started the first fight very strong, landing the stronger strikes on the feet and once he took the fight to the ground.  Butler showed a tendency in the first fight to drop his right hand, which Potard took advantage off on multiple occasions, including the final left hand counter that was the beginning of the end for Butler.  Butler will need to stay outside of the leaping counters of Potard, but use his wrestling to keep Potard guessing.  Butler looked to slow after the first round of the first fight, expect a better version of Butler to show up on Friday.
Prediction: Jake Butler by TKO (Knees and Punches) in Round 2


Honorio Banario (8-4) +250 vs Herbert Burns (4-0) -350
Former ONE FC Featherweight Champion Honorio Banario will look to end his career high three fight losing streak, two knockout loses to Koji Oishi and a decision loss to current ONE FC Featherweight Champ, Jadamba Narantungalag.  The 25-year-old Team Lakay MMA product will be hoping the home town fans will be on his side, last winning in the Philippines at ONE FC 5 in 2012.
Evolve MMA trained Herbert “The Blaze” Burns is undefeated in his young MMA career. Burns is a No-Gi World Champion and is the brother of UFC Fighter Gilbert “Durinho”. Herbert has strong wins in his three ONE FC fighters, defeating solid fighters Edward Kelly and Hiroshige Tanaka, as well as long-time MMA veteran Harris Sarmiento.
Herbert Burns continues to grow as a striker, but will be best served bringing this fight to the mat. Herbert will be able to be effective enough at range on the feet to not get hit with one Honorio’s power
Prediction: Herbert Burns by Sub (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 3.


Kevin Belingon (12-4) -140 vs Koetsu Okazaki (10-3-1) +100
Former Shooto World Featherweight Champion, Koetsu Okazaki continues to improve as a fighter.  Okazaki debuted with ONE FC in a interim title bout with the current champion Bibiano Fernandes.  The 25 minute loss was Okazaki’s last, as he has since submitted Guam’s Josh Alvarez and knocked out Yusup Saadulaev in a fight of the year contender in July.
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon trains with Lakay MMA, making his fighting return to the Philippines for the first time in a year, when he finished the then undefeated David Santacana.  Belingon is 3-4 under the ONE FC banner, losing his last fight to title challenger Dae Hwan Kim at ONE FC 14.
Both fighters are well rounded with an advantage on the mat the way of Okazaki.  Koetsu is well versed on his feet, but will be at a disadvantage against the aggressive Belingon.  Okazaki will need to rely on his toughness to push through the early onslaught and work for a finish on the feet or with a submission.  Belingon will take the fight to the ground to land heavy ground and pound.  A move that could win him the fight against the very game Okazaki.  No matter who wins, this is going to be one exciting fight.
Prediction: Koetsu Okazaki by Unanimous Decision



Roger Gracie (6-2) -245 vs James McSweeney (14-11) +175
Roger Gracie will be making his ONE FC debut after a long layoff and decision loss at UFC 162 to Tim Kennedy.  Roger Gracie is widely considered one of the best grapplers in BJJ, No-Gi grappling and MMA.  Since debuting in 2006, Gracie has defeated the likes of Keith Jardine, Trevor Prangley and Kevin Randleman.  Roger has fought in Asia once before, a submission win over Yuki Kondo at Sengoku 2.
James McSweeney is also a former UFC fighter and undefeated in ONE FC, finishing both of his fights by brutal knockout.  A recent win in Abu Dhabi over Brazilian Cristiano Kaminishi and a Knee knockout of Chris Lokteff headline a three fight winning streak.  James McSweeney won’t have to travel far, as he currently trains in Thailand.
This fight is the classic “striker vs grappler” match-up, as Gracie will need to stay away from James McSweeney’s powerful kicks and knees.  Gracie has improved on the feet, but his previous fight against Tim Kennedy showed he can be hit inside.  James will have an advantage if Gracie shoots in for a take down with ONE FC rules allowing knees to a grounded opponent and soccer kicks.  Graice will not have a height or reach advantage against James, something Roger is not used to.  Roger Graice is the safe bet here, but this fight is ripe for an upset.
Prediction: James McSweeney by KO (Knee and Kicks) in Round 1

Eduard Folayang (14-4) -150 vs Timofey Nastyukhin (7-1) +110
25-year-old Russian Top Team prospect Timofey Nastyukhin will be making the trip to fight outside of Russia for the first time.  Timofey brings a 7-fight winning streak into this fight, finishing all seven fights.  His most recent finish, a knockout win over Said-Khamzat Avkhadov at ACB 9 in June.
Eduard Folayang is another Lakay MMA fighter making his return to his hometown.  Eduard is on a two fight winning streak, after alternating wins and loses for his first four fights in ONE FC.  His most recent win was over former ONE FC Lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku.
Both fighters carry a striking background into this fight, in what should be a display of wild exchanges and heavy leather being thrown.  Timofey Nastyukhin is very wild with his kicks and punches, getting himself in trouble defensively.  Every time Nastyukhin throws, he looks for the knockout.  Eduard will throw heavy punches and look for takedowns and top control.  This could play into the good submission game of Timofey.  This will easily be the biggest test of Nastyukhin’s career.
Prediction: Eduard Folayang by Split Decision



Brandon Vera (12-7) -530 vs Igor Subora (5-1) +350
Brandon Vera will be making his ONE FC debut after a long career with the UFC, where Brandon was once a highly touted Heavyweight prospect.  Brandon Vera has lost two straight fights, getting finished by Ben Rothwell in 2013 and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in 2012.  Vera’s last win was in 2011, when he defeated Elliot Marshall by decision.  Brandon will be fighting in his parents home country for the first time.
Igor Subora is a 34-year-old Ukranian Heavyweight with all five of his wins coming by way of first round finish.  Fighting in URCC his entire career, Fist gym’s Subora makes his ONE FC debut after a 27 second knockout just over one year ago.
Igor Subora is a very tough fight with heavy hands.  He will look to be aggressive in this fight against the longer Vera.  Brandon will look to stay on the outside and use his kicks to control the aggression of Igor.  Brandon is the better fighter overall, but Igor’s power is the X-factor in this fight.
Prediction: Brandon Vera by Unanimous Decision



Bantamweight Title:  Bibiano Fernandes (16-3) -900 vs Dae Hwan Kim (10-0-1) +500
Bibiano Fernandes might be the best fighter not signed with the UFC.  Bibiano won the DREAM Featherweight and Bantamweight Grand Prixs before the promotions closure.  Bibiano signed with ONE FC in 2012, when he made a successful debut against adopted Australian fighter Gustavo Falciroli.  Bibiano hasn’t lost a fight since 2010’s Dynamite show, where he lost the DREAM Featherweight title to Hiroyuki Takaya.  Bibiano is 4-0 in the ONE FC, winning the title in his second bout against Koetsu Okazaki.
South Korean fighter Dae Hwan Kim is undefeated in his professional career, only fighting to a draw with Koji Yoshida at Gladiator 25 in a two round bout.  Dae Hwan Kim has finished 7 of his ten wins, including his two ONE FC bouts against Kevin Belingon and Thanh Vu.
Dae Hwan Kim will be the best striker that Bibiano has faced since a win over Yoshiro Maeda at DREAM 18.  Kim is aggressive and will look to go after Bibiano all fight long.  Fernandes will need to utilize take downs and avoid the heavy strikes from Kim.  Bibiano will drop heavy ground and pound and possibly transition for a submission of his own.  This fight could hit the 25 minute distance, but not without a priority on finishes.
Prediction: Bibiano Fernandes by Sub (Armbar) in Round 2





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  1. ONE FC 23: Warrior’s Way Play-by-Play and Live Results | FSA - FightSport Asia - December 5, 2014

    […] 5th.  The event is being streamed on and on Fox Sports 3 in Asia.  FSA has your main card and preliminary card previews, as well as the weigh-in results to get you ready for the ten fight […]

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