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One Championship MMA Returns Friday with Bangkok World-Title Event (Updated)

One Championship Bangkok July 31

(Updated July 28, 2020) – The One Championship mixed-martial arts competition returns to Bangkok July 31 with its first major competition since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The headline fight will be the third bout between One Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and Petchdam “The Baby Shark” Petchyindee Academy.

The undercard will be the One Featherweight Muay Thai Championship bout between Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy and Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex, and four other fights.

The “No Surrender” event is the first since February to feature top athletes when Singapore and then Thailand shut down public gatherings. It held two second-tier events in Shanghai in June featuring kickboxing and minor MMA bouts.

One has cried poor during the pandemic, laying off 20 percent of its employees. Yet it just announced it has secured US$70 million in outside investment.

The 7:30 p.m. Friday night event will broadcast on TV and live-streamed, but no fans will attend.

The first time Rodtang and Petchdam met was in May 2017 at Rajadamnern Stadium. Petchdam struck first, achieving a decision victory. However, in their rematch in February 2018, Rodtang returned defeated “The Baby Shark” to even the score. Now, two and a half years removed from the rematch, the duo will meet for the third time with the One Flyweight Muay Thai world title up for grabs.

Combat sports generally have had an easier time resuming during the pandemic than team sports, but also face the challenge of a far-flung fan base, with One spanning all of Asia and features fighters from around the world.

One CEO Chatri Sityodtong said he hopes to host MMA shows in China, Thailand and Singapore this summer and is working out the logistics of how to get fighters to venues safely.