Zhang Peimian and Jonathan Di Bella.
ONE Championship
On Friday, October 21, ONE Championship begins a doubleheader with ONE 162: Zhang vs. Bi Bella from the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.

The card is full of incredible talent and will be capped off by an intense battle for the vacant ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship. But there is more intrigue on the card, and that is what we are going to examine.

Let’s take a deeper look at what you should know about ONE 162. Here are three storylines you should know ahead of ONE’s return to Malaysia.

A New Strawweight King

No matter what happens at ONE 162, a new strawweight king will be crowned. The vacant ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship will headline the evening between Zhang Peimian and Jonathan Di Bella.

Di Bella will be making his organizational debut in a huge spot and is known for his hand speed. However, the “Fighting Rooster” has put on a show in his two ONE bouts, including a TKO over Josh Tonna in March. Zhang has made noise in the kickboxing division since arriving and has quickly become a fan favorite.

The main event marks a big moment for both men. They can claim the sport’s top prize in their division and chart a course for stardom in the process. Di Bella will be looking to bring the belt back to Canada, while Zhang hopes to keep China’s streak rolling after title victories from Tang Kai and Xiong Jing Nan. The ONE 162 main event will be history in the making.

Will Balart Become A Top Contender?

Gustavo Balart will enter as the #4-ranked strawweight contender, but a win over former ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex Silva would put him in serious contendership for the gold. Both men are striving for that next slot in the race for the strawweight crown and this match will have significant implications.

Balart earned his spot in the rankings with a unanimous decision win over former titleholder Yosuke Saruta. The win allowed the Cuban wrestling machine to finally break through to the next level, but if he can get past Silva, who has been on a run of his own lately, he will show it was not a fluke.

Combating Silva’s ground game will also be something to watch. Balart’s wrestling is world-class, but will he want to test a BJJ legend on the mat? If not, can he show off his developed striking and take out the Brazilian? These questions weigh just as heavily as Balart will want to impress in victory. This key strawweight bout will give fans insight into how the title picture will play out as we head to 2023.

Can Saputra Crash The Flyweight Party?

Eko Roni Saputra has been on a roll with six consecutive victories by first-round finish. At ONE 162, Saputra will look to keep that streak alive and state his case to be included in the official ONE athlete rankings.

Flyweight is stacked with talent, but Saputra’s performances should not go unnoticed by anyone. The Indonesian National Wrestling Champion has shown his wrestling skills, but also scored knockouts. He is a well-rounded talent wanting to elevate his game to the upper echelon of the division.

Yodkaikaew Fairtex will test him. The Thai athlete has incredible striking, and has shown quality takedown defense. The stylistic matchup makes this a possible statement match for Saputra, if he can take out “Y2K” in emphatic fashion. Saputra could be a future contender, and his ONE 162 showing could be his strongest argument for that yet.

ONE 162 airs on watch.onefc.com on Friday, October 21, at 7 a.m. EST/4 a.m. PST

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