Won-il Kwon’s ONE ranked opponent is a force to be reckoned with in the U.S.


Won Il Kwon, 28, has a big fight coming up as the No. 4 ranked bantamweight in Asia’s largest organization, ONE Championship Mixed Martial Arts, where he will do more than just accept a challenge from No. 5. It will be broadcast live in Korea on ‘Coupang Play’.

ONE Fight Night 11 takes place on June 10 at Lumpini Stadium (capacity 5,000) in Bangkok, Thailand. All eyes will be on a top-five bantamweight showdown between No. 4 Won Il Kwon and No. 5 Artem Belach (27-Russia).

Their ONE Championship records are evenly matched, with Won Il Kwon holding a 7-4 record and Belach a 1-0 record. However, while Won-Il Kwon’s June 2022 title-match participant decision loss took him away from the top of his game, Belach has the potential that the U.S. fight community has been watching closely to see if he can fulfill that potential on the big stage.

Artem Belach (left), ranked No. 5 in the official ONE Championship mixed martial arts bantamweight rankings, and Won Il Kwon, ranked No. 4. Photo courtesy of ONE Championship
“An exciting Russian prospect has joined the ONE Championship bantamweight division,” said American ‘Sherdog’. A submission specialist who can knock out his opponents without prolonging the fight,” and has been interested in Velach since his debut in mixed martial arts last year.

The Sherdog is a 26-year-old mixed martial arts publication. At the time of his induction into ONE Championship, the publication described Velasquez as a “100 percent finisher with nine professional wins by way of submission (2 KOs and 7 TKOs).”

Velasquez won a unanimous decision in his ONE Championship debut against Leandro Isa (40-Brazil). His streak of 100% finishes came to an end, but the win over the former bantamweight champion proved his top-five credentials.

‘Sherdog’ said: “Most of my wins have come on the ground, but my striking is also dangerous. He has killer footwork, including a unique aerial knee attack that scored him a knockout, so don’t judge him solely on his grappling.”

The training environment, where he works out with former UFC bantamweight champion Pyotr Yan (30-Russia), was also cited as a reason to keep an eye on Belach’s success in the future. His previous victories over “Shooto Brasil” champion Elvis Ciuba (34)스포츠토토 and Russian AMC title fighter Nikita Voltavaev (27-Kazakhstan) also cannot be ignored.

However, Won Il Kwon said, “I’m going to make ONE Fight Night 11 my fight. I’m going to knock him out and go higher,” he said, adding that he hopes to use the fight with Belach as an opportunity to climb the ONE Championship rankings.

Won Il Kwon has the best physical attributes in the bantamweight division, including a height of 178 centimeters and a wingspan (shoulder + arm) of 182 centimeters, as well as an 83.3% (10/12) knockout ratio, which is his biggest advantage as a mixed martial artist. He has more experience than Belach, as evidenced by his 11 ONE Championship fights.

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