ONE CHAMPIONSHIP ARE PUTTING Indian MMA at the front and centre of their upcoming event 'ONE: Dangal."
The fight card will feature some of the most talented Indian fighters in the world, along with the most anticipated bout in Indian MMA for over a year.
Headlining this event, which took place behind closed doors at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 28th April but will not air until 15th May, will pit Arjan Singh Bhullar (10-1) against the reigning ONE Championship Heavyweight Champion Brandon Vera (16-8-1). Both of these former UFC veterans were supposed to face off last year at ONE: Infinity but the proposed event, and this marquee match-up, was postponed when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck.
Undefeated Atomweight prospect Ritu Phogat (4-0) will also feature prominently in the card, takng on Bi Nguyen (5-6) from Vietnam. Ritu, whose transition from wrestling into Mixed Martial Arts is taking place at Evolve MMA in Singapore, is scheduled to take part in the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix that where the winner will get a title shot. Her first bout in the tournament, against Meng Bo from China, is scheduled to take place on 28th May; and so far that fight is still on schedule. Bi Nguyen, meanwhile, has faced an Indian opponent before. She took on Puja Tomar in a Muay Thai bout and won by split decision.
Another Indian wrestler-turned-MMA fighter and Evolve MMA prospect on the card is Roshan Mainam Luwang (6-2). After winning three back to back fights in ONE Champioship in rather dominant fashion, submitting all three of his opponents, he is getting a marquee match-up in this card against the experienced Gurdarshan Mangat (15-3). This will be a rare occasion for the promotion where two fighters who fly the Indian flag in the MMA arena will face off against each other.
Mangat, who won his first two fights in ONE, got a setback submitted by Reece McLaren in 2019. Both he and Roshan are considered to be future title contenders in the promotion and a win for either would be a major springboard in their campaign to fight for gold.
There's a good chance that "ONE: Dangal" will feature more Indian fighters, as the card seems to be curated towards the fans in the subcontinent. ONE Championship have been planning to host an event in India for a long time now, as confirmed to TFG by ONE CCO Hari Vijayarajan. The plans got delayed, again, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But this event behind closed doors, nonetheless, puts together a star-studded card that's arguably the biggest in the history of Indian MMA, putting the best talent from this country on display for a worldwide audience.