ONE Championship announced yesterday its long-awaited return to Japan.
ONE 165, which will take place at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo on Jan 28, will be headlined by the highly-anticipated showdown between ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon of Thailand and Japanese kickboxing superstar Takeru Segawa.
The high-profile pair will clash in a five-round flyweight kickboxing super-fight at the blockbuster event.
ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong said a thunderous undercard will accompany the main event.
"We're going to put on a spectacular card on Jan 28 at the Ariake Arena," he said.
"It's going to be an explosive card. I think, personally, it's going to be the best card in the history of ONE Championship for our Japan events, so I'm very excited."
Takeru joined the ONE roster to much fanfare earlier this year and there has been much speculation about who his debut opponent would be.
They don't come any bigger than Rodtang.
"The Iron Man" hopes to rebound from his razor-thin decision loss to fellow-Thai superstar Superlek Kiatmoo9 in September.
The defeat was his first under striking rules as a ONE fighter, snapping an incredible 14-fight winning streak.
In breaking down the match-up, Chatri was quick to note the scale of the fight and the attention that it will draw from across the globe.
"For Japan, Takeru is obviously right now the biggest combat sports superstar. Rodtang Jitmuangnon is the biggest global superstar, in terms of Muay Thai," he said.
"This is a fight that everyone, the whole world, wants to watch because Takeru comes in with a massive, aggressive style with a high KO percentage. Same thing for Rodtang. Both fighters come to bang, and both fighters are going to come for the knockout."
Speaking to the press, Rodtang also promised his fans fireworks when he steps into the circle with Takeru.
"I feel great to be back here in Japan. I've been looking forward to this fight for a while. I think my fans can expect a great and fun fight, me vs Takeru," he said.
Also in the card is a huge lightweight MMA battle between American star "Super" Sage Northcutt and Japanese legend Shinya Aoki.
The fascinating match-up has been rumoured to be in the works throughout 2023 and will now finally take place at ONE 165.
Northcutt will be brimming with confidence after his quick heel-hook submission win over Ahmed Mujtaba at ONE Fight Night 10, which was his first fight in almost four years due to a combination of illness and injuries.
Aoki is not averse to heel hooks himself, and the former ONE lightweight MMA world champion will be hunting for submission No.31 of his long and storied combat sports career.