TWO Filipino world champions in a week.
Not bad for a country wanting in sports heroes to look up to.
Less than a week after Senator Manny Pacquiao regained his WBO welterweight crown, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of Baguio City completed his journey through the ONE Championship’s lightweight ranks by stopping Asian MMA legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki by technical knockout within three rounds to clinch the ONE Lightweight World Championship.
Aoki dominated the first round with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but Folayang came alive in the second round as he opened up his striking, showcasing his world-class wushu talent.
In the third round, Folayang rocked Aoki against the cage fence and finished him off with ground-and-pound.
In the co-main event of the evening, reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov of Russia successfully defended his title against challenger and top contender Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa of Mongolia.
It was the champion’s second title defense, after lifting the belt from Jadambaa a year ago. After a brief exchange of strikes, action quickly went to the mat when Jadambaa missed a kick and fell to the canvas. Gafurov followed the Mongolian down and that’s where he worked on the submission. Jadambaa was able to defend for a few moments, but once Gafurov re-established himself, the choke came effortlessly.
Lightweight prospect Amir Khan of Singapore overcame a spirited effort from former Pan Asia BJJ Champion Vaughn “The Spawn” Donayre of the Philippines to win by submission in the third round. After spending the first half of the bout tagging each other with various striking combinations, the two fighters decided to take things to the mat.
On the ground, Khan showcased his technical brilliance, threatening Donayre with multiple choke attempts, while dominating the grappling exchanges. Although Donayre had his moments, particularly catching Khan in a very deep kimura attempt, the younger fighter survived to win by rear naked choke in the third round.
Eight-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Michelle Nicolini of Evolve MMA made a successful ONE Championship debut, finishing former Egyptian wrestling champion Mona Samir in one round via submission. Samir tried her best to keep from getting taken down, but Nicolini’s high-level grappling skills made that very difficult. Once on the mat, Nicolini worked her magic and effortlessly secured the choke.
Lightweight veterans Roger “El Matador” Huerta of the United States and Adrian “The Hunter” Pang of Brisbane, Australia went toe-to-toe in an action-packed lightweight contest.
The first round saw Huerta own the edge in accuracy and speed, plastering Pang with pinpoint punch combinations while going to work on the Australian’s legs. Pang countered with his straight right hand, which landed with tremendous force. While Huerta landed the cleaner blows, it was clear Pang owned the edge in power and sheer brute strength. Both fighters turned in great performances, but it was Huerta who did just enough to notch the hard-fought victory via split decision.
Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu Boku scored a technical knockout victory over Russia’s Timofey Nastyukhin in a highly-anticipated featherweight contest. Nastyukhin blasted Boku with power shots in the first couple of minutes as Boku tried his best to keep his distance. After moments of intense action however, Boku checked a kick and Nastyukhin hurt his leg, falling to the canvas writhing in pain but somehow surviving the round. Nastyukhin then failed to answer the call for the second round and Boku was awarded the TKO.
Singaporean female mixed martial artist Tiffany “Soul Crusher” Teo made her ONE Championship promotional debut with a dominant performance to cheers from fans in attendance. Teo owned the advantage in striking exchanges but surprised everyone with her high-level grappling game, gaining full mount on multiple occasions while pounding away at Abbas who tried her best to defend. In the second round, Teo took Abbas’ back once more and converted on a rear naked choke, forcing her Egyptian opponent to tap out.
Previously unbeaten Singaporean featherweight prospect Benedict Ang experienced the first loss of his career as he went to battle against Pakistani mixed martial artist Ahmed Mujtaba. Both fighters began the bout firing away at the center of the cage as they traded strikes to the roar of crowd. Mujtaba scored points for a near-finish towards the end of round two, taking Ang’s back and working on a rear naked choke. In round three, Mujtaba continued to work towards getting Ang to the ground, scoring on a few more takedowns to earn the unanimous decision victory.
Singaporean fighter Niko Soe made his ONE Championship debut against Malaysian Muhamad Haidar to kick off ONE: DEFENDING HONOR. Both fighters started out aggressively, but it was Soe who showed a more capable set of grappling skills, winning by armbar in the first round to the roar of his hometown crowd.
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