ONE Fighting Championship continues to strengthen its roster with the addition of six new faces to exclusive contracts.
The promotion today announced that it had come to terms with Marat Gafurov, Kelvin Fitial, Rob Lisita, Martin Nguyen, Kentaro Watanabe and Kultar Gill (pictured). The deal(s) will see all six fighters ply their trade in the ONE FC cage for their next few fights or so.
Rob Lisita and Kultar Gill among latest ONE FC recuits
The pick of the lot may in fact be Gafurov, who brings a perfect 8-0 resume to the ONE FC banner. Noted for his stints in M-1 Global, the Ukrainian was the promotion’s Featherweight champ prior to signing with ONE FC. With seven of his eight victories coming via TKO or submission, there’re absolutely no doubts that Gafurov represents the latest breed of European fighters looking to make a statement in the MMA landscape. He will fight in an exciting 145-lbs division that’s now currently ruled by Koji Oishi.
Fitial (12-7-2, 1 NC) is a former PXC Heavyweight champ, and one of Saipan’s top Mixed Martial Artists. A veteran for almost a decade, the 30-year-old is known for his relentless move-forward pace along with his Boxing duels, which will surely entertain fans on a global scale. After a tough 7-7 start to his career, Fitial currently finds himself on a brilliant 5-0-1 run. He’ll link up with ONE FC’s ever-expanding Heavyweight division, which already boasts names such as Chris Lokteff, Paul Cheng and Alain Ngalani.
Phuket Top Team’s Lisita (13-5) is a well-known commodity in the regional MMA circles having made appearances in a myriad of promotions including AFC, Legend FC, CFC and Rebel FC. Aptly nicknamed “Ruthless” for his aggressive fight style, Lisita always has fans on the edge of their seats for the relentless pace he sets for his contests. The 30-year-old is considered as Australia’s best 145-lbs combatant, and with recent wins over Nova Uniao product Rodolfo Marques and former Shooto champ “Lion” Takeshi, Lisita will now firmly set his sights on gaining ONE FC’s Lightweight strap, which is currently held by grappling extraordinaire, Shinya Aoki.
Nguyen (3-0) bested Luke Standing at BRACE 24 to capture both BRACE’s Featherweight strap, and a six-fight deal with ONE FC. Known as the “The Situ-Asian”, don’t be deceived by the starlet’s lack of experience. The 24-year-old possesses some brutal ground-and-pound as evident in his previous outings in BRACE. He will now be tested in the deep shores of ONE FC’s 145-lbs division, which will definitely aid in his development as a fully-fledged Mixed Martial Arts fighter.
Shooto vet Watanabe (10-4) would be a nice addition to a Flyweight division that’s in need of depth. After a two-year unbeaten spell under the Shooto banner, the 30-year-old suffered a setback in April of last year, before rebounding with a split-decision victory just three months later. The Osaka, Japan native has a signature lightning quick striking style that has made him a favorite among Japanese MMA fans for a long time.
Canadian-Indian Kultar Gill (12-8) will be another familiar face to most Mixed Martial Arts faithfuls. A veteran in both the Kickboxing and MMA circles, Gill has fought in many famed promotions most notably DREAM, MFC, PXC, Hero’s and the Super Fight League. And with bouts contested against a who’s who of top MMA talents including Tatsuya Kawajiri, Joachim Hansen, Rodrigo Damm, Caol Uno, Hideo Tokoro, Harris Sarmiento and Yves Edwards, the 34-year-old brings a wealth of experience to ONE FC’s Welterweight division, where with a win or two, he could be a serious contender at 170-lbs.
The six fighters are expected to compete in ONE FC’s upcoming fight cards. The promotion returns with “War of Nations” in March, at the Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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*Photo credit: Super Fight League