The ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinals just took a surprising turn heading into ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON.
Costa Rican submission specialist Ariel “Tarzan” Sexton has withdrawn from his upcoming semifinal bout against Turkey’s Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev. Sexton suffered a broken arm last week and expressed his disappointment in a recent Instagram post.
However, the show must go on.
ONE Championship recently announced Singapore’s own Amir Khan will replace “Tarzan” in the tournament and challenge the Turkish dynamo in front of his home crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 17 May.
The 24-year-old is considered one of the best mixed martial artists in the division. He has faced some of the best lightweights in the promotion and challenged for the ONE Lightweight World Championship as recently as November.
Khan, who trains out of Evolve MMA, holds the record for most knockouts in the promotion with eight. Furthermore, all but one of his 11 career victories come via stoppage.
He prides himself with always being ready to take on a new challenge, and he quickly accepted this bout against a high-caliber opponent on short notice.
Arslanaliev is an Azerbaijan Open BJJ Champion and a multiple-time wushu champion, and his all-around skill set has led him to a 7-1 professional record. Every one of his victories come via stoppage, and his only loss comes via disqualification in a match where he was absolutely dominant.
The Turk’s latest masterpiece was a 25-second knockout of Ev “E.T.” Ting in Singapore last February, which earned him a spot in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinals.
While the opponents may have changed, the excitement has not diminished. Both competitors want to advance to the tournament finals, and they want to accomplish this feat by living up to their reputation and finishing their rival.