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Masaaki Noiri Wants Impressive Win To Become Top Contender At ONE 167

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Masaaki Noiri will arrive in ONE Championship on Friday, June 7, at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut. The kickboxing superstar is eager to jump right into the thick of things in the featherweight division. The first stop on his road to glory is Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong.

Noiri admitted that the Thai athlete will be his toughest test to date. And that is exactly why he has chosen to join ONE. The level of competition excites Noiri, who is excited for his imminent debut.

“ONE really has gathered the world’s top fighters from across the different promotions, which is why I wanted to challenge myself on this stage. I have the confidence to win here, which is why I came to challenge them. Sitthichai has been a famous, strong fighter for a long time with great technique. He’s the model of a southpaw fighter,” Noiri remarked to ONE.

When asked about Sitthichai’s biggest strength, Noiri said it was his ability to stay true to his style. Even when faced with immense pressure, Sitthichai meets it and doesn’t get drawn into playing someone else’s game. But Noiri believes he has noticed opportunities to exploit in his foe’s past matches, including Sitthichai’s most recent loss to Marat Grigorian.

“His weakness is defense when the distance gets closed. Last time he got caught with a body shot for the KO loss, so that will be an area to target this fight. He won’t want to fight at my range, he’ll want to keep his distance. So from his perspective, it may be an unfavorable matchup,” the featherweight said.

The Japanese athlete expects an even more determined Sitthichai to be present at ONE 167, thanks to the aforementioned loss. The former K-1 World Champion feels that will only strengthen the importance of this matchup should he get the win. Noiri is preparing for a dynamite debut against a top featherweight superstar.

“I really think Sitthichai will come with an ‘I cannot lose’ attitude and be more serious than ever before. He’ll come with the mindset of having fought at the top level until now. He’ll come at his absolute peak form ever. And by defeating that, I can prove my own strength. It’s my ONE debut so I have nothing to lose. I’ve always had the challenger’s mindset, but this time I’m the real, legitimate challenger. The fans’ expectation and pressure will only fuel me,” Noiri stated.

The stakes are high, and Noiri wants to make sure a message is sent to the rest of the featherweight division. He is determined to earn a finish, which he hopes will elevate him into title contention. Noiri is putting everyone on notice that he plans to be a title challenger right out of the gate in ONE.

“I think how I win this fight will be important. It will determine my next opponent. But I want to get to the World Title as soon as possible. My thinking is that since Grigorian knocked out Sitthichai in the third round if I can get the KO quicker than that, many people will recognize my strength. That’s the clear way to make a statement,” Noiri said.

ONE 167 airs live on Prime Video on Friday, June 7, from the Impact Arena in Bangkok. The action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The event is free for all Amazon Prime members in the U.S. and Canada.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.