One day out from his main event match-up at Powerplay 36 and it has been announced overnight that Brad Riddell has signed with ONE Championship to compete in their new kickboxing/muay thai Super Series.
Announced in early February, the new event aimed at becoming a global league for elite strikers will feature bouts using both international kickboxing rules (similar to K1) and muay thai rules using mma gloves (similar to ‘John’ Wayne Parr’s Caged Muaythai). The kickboxing bouts will take place in a ring, and the muay thai in the cage.
The move represents a golden opportunity for Riddell who despite being the premier welterweight kickboxer across Australia and New Zealand, has not been able to crack into the top stand-up promotions such as Glory or Bellator.
While Riddell has fought on large promotions in China such as Kunlun and WLF, neither of those organisations seem interested in promoting beyond their Chinese audience, so opportunities become limited on a global scale.
With some of the names being announced by ONE Championship to take part, the fledgeling series, at least on paper, is set to have one of the strongest lineups in muay thai and kickboxing today. With many stars making their way over from rival promotions, it remains to be seen what effect this will have on the industry, but it is a bold move from the Asian MMA giant that will shake up kickboxing and muay thai.
Stars such as Giorgio Petroysan, Jo Nattawut, Fabio Pinca, Petchboonchu FA Group, Yodsaenklai Fairtex are just a selection of the fighters who have already signed to fight with ONE Championship and will make their debut on hybrid mma/muay thai events this year.
The first event to feature fights from the new Super Series will be in Manila, Philippines at ONE: Heroes of Honour on the 20th of April at the Mall of Asia Arena. On this card, Riddell is set to face “The Immortal” Regian Eersel, a former Lion Fight Muay Thai world champion. Also set to feature on the card is a bout between the highly decorated French-Italian Fabio Pinca and multiple-time Lumpinee champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao.
In addition to Riddell’s signing, it was also announced that Australian muay thai legends Daniel ‘The Rock’ Dawson and Steve McKinnon had put pen to paper with the organisation. It is unclear at this stage when the two will make their debut.
What is clear though however, is that there is a new power promotion in the kickboxing world and the opportunities for Australian and New Zealand fighters are greater than ever before.