ONE Championship: Battleground 3 Preview

Tawanchai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym walks to the ONE cage.
Tawanchai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym (pictured) will face Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong in the main event. (ONE Championship)

ONE Championship’s final “Battleground” event will take place on Friday morning, and Muay Thai veterans will serve as the main event. The pre-taped six-fight card was recorded last month at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore but will air for the very first time this weekend.

Here’s a preview of what will happen.

Main Card (8:30PM EDT / 8:30AM SGT) (Youtube / Bleacher Report App)

Bout 1: Purev Otgonjargal (6-1) vs. Ben Royle (5-1) (145 lbs) (MMA Bout)

After a successful ONE Championship debut one year ago, Ben Royle will return to face promotional newcomer Purev Otgonjargal in the opening bout of the show.

Royle first competed for ONE in 2020, finishing Quitin Thomas late in the third round of a bout with strikes. Previous victories in his six-fight career took place in Australian promotion Eternal MMA and Thailand-based Full Metal Dojo.

Otgonjargal has fought in ONE’s “Warrior Series” once, although his fight on Friday’s show will be his first appearance on their flagship program. He is currently on a hot six-fight streak of finish victories.

Bout 2: Tial Thang (3-0) vs. Song Min Jong (11-8) (145 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Undefeated featherweight Tial Thang will get his most experienced opponent yet when facing Song Min Jong.

Thang has been part of the ONE roster since 2019. His rookie year saw him earn two wins, defeating Rin Saroth and Kim Woon Gyeom. After taking 2020 off, Thang returned in early 2021 to defeat Paul Lumihi, marking his first stoppage victory as a pro.

He now faces Jong, who has fought as a pro for over a decade. The 29-year-old returned to flagship ONE programming in the fall, losing a bout to Geje Eustaquio. Prior to then, he had scored four consecutive wins from 2015 to 2019.

Bout 3: Bi Nguyen (6-6) vs. Jenelyn Olsim (4-2) (115 lbs) (MMA Bout)

In a fight that has implications on the upcoming ONE 115-pound tournament, Bi Nguyen and Jenelyn Olsim will compete under MMA rules.

It was revealed recently that the winner of the bout will return on September 3rd to face Grace Cleveland in one of the two alternate bouts for an eight-woman strawweight bracket.

For many, they feel Nguyen should be in the tournament anyway. The ONE vet pulled off an upset earlier this year, handing Ritu Phogat her first pro loss in a split decision. The victory was a meaningful one, specifically because Phogat was already billed for ONE’s eight-woman tournament at that time. Despite this result, Nguyen didn’t get placed in the bracket, and Phogat is still set to compete (Phogat was removed from the tournament briefly, but was then announced earlier this month as a competitor in the bracket yet again).

The win for Nguyen over Phogat earlier this year snapped a two-fight losing streak and evened her pro record at six wins and losses each.

She now faces Olsim, who is returning after winning her ONE flagship debut earlier this year. She scored a submission win on a “Fists of Fury” card in February, stopping Maira Mazar with a guillotine choke.

Bout 4: Kim Dae Hwan (15-7-1) vs. Xie Wei (7-3) (135 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Kim Dae Hwan will look to snap a losing streak when facing rising bantamweight Xie Wei.

Kim has lost three consecutive bouts in ONE. He has been part of their roster since 2013, but his current skid of losses is the longest he has suffered in his pro career. His last bout was in late 2020, where he dropped a decision to Kairat Akhmetov.

Kim has a tough opponent ahead of him, as Xie has been on the rise in ONE as of late.

Xie was a regular in ONE’s “Hero Series” in 2019, picking up five wins on the show. He moved up to ONE’s flagship events in 2020 with a tough challenge in Danny Kingad. After losing to him, Xie came back and scored back-to-back stoppage wins, defeating Chan Rothana and Kantharaj Agasa.

Bout 5: Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (11-6) vs. Banma Douji (13-1) (125 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Flyweight prospect Banma Douji will make his first ONE appearance when facing Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in the co-main event.

Banma has been active on the regional scene in China since 2016. He has gone undefeated for most of his career thus far, attaining 13 wins before losing his most recent bout in 2019.

Banma and his gym Endo Fight Club were featured in a 2017 Vice documentary titled “China’s MMA Club for Poor and Orphaned Boys” (H/T @_Yodsanan)

Dejdamrong will be attempting to bounce back from a split decision loss he took to Hexigetu in October. The fight that airs Friday is Dejdamrong’s 18th appearance for ONE.

Bout 6: Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong vs. Tawanchai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym (155 lbs) (Muay Thai Bout)

Muay Thai specialists Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong and Tawanchai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym will meet in the main event of Friday’s card.

Both veterans will be competing in ONE for only the second time of their careers. For Sitthichai, the bout will also be his first time fighting under ONE’s Muay Thai ruleset, which utilizes MMA gloves instead of the usual Muay Thai gloves.

Sitthichai lost his ONE debut last year, fighting to a unanimous decision against Superbon Banchamek at the promotion’s first event back after a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sitthichai was making his first appearance after a long stint in GLORY Kickboxing. He was the promotion’s long-time lightweight champion, having defended his belt six times since first claiming it in 2016. He departed the promotion after losing his belt to Marat Grigorian in 2019.

Tawanchai scored a highlight-reel finish in his ONE debut earlier this year, stopping Sean Clancy early in the third round of a fight with a head kick. The 22-year-old’s pro career dates back to 2013 and includes dozens of fights at notable Muay Thai venues like Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium.

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