Former two-division ONE World Champion Martin Nguyen is excited to make his highly anticipated return to the Circle at ONE Fight Night 7 this Friday, February 24, but there has been a big change of plans.
“The Situ-Asian” was originally scheduled to face Shamil Gasanov at the show, but a health issue has forced the undefeated Russian rising star to withdraw from the featherweight MMA contest.
Now, Nguyen will meet unbeaten Kyrgyzstani dynamo Razhab Shaydullaev, who will make his official ONE Championship debut and look to make an instant impact at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The matchup between #4-ranked Nguyen and #5-ranked Gasanov was shaping up to be a pivotal showdown, especially since the Vietnamese-Australian acknowledged that he has “one chance and one chance only” to get to the top of the featherweight division.
Gasanov was also looking forward to the clash, hoping to use a victory over the former two-division king to catapult him up the rankings and get a ONE Featherweight World Title shot. But “The Cobra” was diagnosed with a staph infection, rendering him unable to compete.
The Russian wrote on social media:
“Only what is prescribed by the Almighty will reach us For health reasons, I had to withdraw from the battle, as I caught a furunculosis infection! Those who’ve been close know the shape I was in and how carefully I approached this fight, but God has His own plans!”
Nguyen’s “one chance” now starts with Shaydullaev, who by all indications is just as dangerous of an opponent.
The 22-year-old Kyrgyz is a well-rounded competitor who owns a spotless 8-0 professional record with a 100 percent finishing rate, earning half his victories via knockout and the other half via submission.
Shaydullaev is coming off a landmark year, having rattled off a trio of second-round stoppage wins in Russia’s top organization. Now, he hopes to have a breakout moment in his first appearance on the global stage.
Stay tuned to onefc.com for more news about ONE Fight Night 7.