ONE Championship 73 took place today May 18, 2018 at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. Below you can find the official results, recap and video highlights. Above you can watch the entire event for ONE: Unstoppable Dreams.
For ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, it was a miracle to even make it back to the cage to defend her coveted title. After miraculously surviving a harrowing car accident last November, the emotional Singaporean felt blessed to even be sharing the cage with Japanese challenger Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi for a second time.
The two skilled martial artists engaged in another captivating bout and after five rounds of non-stop action in front of a capacity crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the local favorite retained her belt.
Both the world champion and challenger had success in a first stanza that played out entirely on the feet. Lee was eager to showcase her improved striking skills, and landed well with straights and low kicks. But the solid counter right of Yamaguchi also found a regular home. In the clinch, it was all “Unstoppable,” as she punished the Japanese athlete with knees and elbows on the fence.
In stark contrast, the second round was contested almost solely on the mat, with Lee tripping her foe early on. The Singaporean representative landed a piston-like right hand and crunching elbows from the top, and came achingly close to submitting her opponent with an ambar. Only the grit of Yamaguchi kept her in the bout, where many others easily would have tapped.
Lee stayed true to the game plan in the third, staying long with her punches and low kicks. However, Yamaguchi looked more comfortable closing the distance, and began to land the right hand regularly enough to swing the momentum back in her favor. With perfect timing, the Singaporean hit a sharp takedown, and locked in a tight rear-naked choke. Yamaguchi hung tough, and was saved by the bell.
The fourth round opened up with more low kicks and punches from Lee, but the Japanese challenger was aiming for the money shot, repeatedly trying to time a big right hand. Lee’s distance kept her at bay, as she peppered away at Yamaguchi’s lead leg, until “V.V” managed to tumble her to the mat later on in the stanza. Yamaguchi silenced the Singapore fans briefly, as she caught Lee’s kick and landed a solid counter right. She followed it with a high kick right on target.
“Unstoppable” looked fallible for the first time as she hit the mat. The Japanese combatant spent most of the final stanza in top position trying to chip away, but the champion did a great job of keeping her opponent contained and limited the damage taken.
In the end, the judges awarded Lee the unanimous decision. The Singaporean, whose record now stands at 9-0, continues to impress and improve with every outing. “Mei is an incredibly tough opponent. Major props to her, it was an amazing fight,” Lee said, paying tribute to her longtime rival.
Yamaguchi is a perennial contender and one of the best atomweights in the world, but she came up short in her second chance at the world title. She was only inches from success, so some small adjustments may see her clinching the gold in the future. ONE Featherweight & Lightweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen spent the past nine months challenging for titles in three divisions. But on Friday, 18 May, he started defending his gold.
The 29-year-old was successful in his first defense as he defeated his longtime rival Christian “The Warrior” Lee by split decision. When these two athletes first met in August 2016, the Vietnamese-Australian put the teenage sensation to sleep via guillotine choke in the first round. This time, however, the pair engaged in a strategic, drawn-out battle.
They opened the bout with much caution, each wary of the other’s finishing abilities. Lee attacked first, sliding in for a body lock on Nguyen, and then slamming the Vietnamese-Australian to the ground.
At one point, the dual-division world champion looked to be in trouble, as “The Warrior” locked him in an anaconda choke attempt against the cage. Despite the teenager’s persistence, Nguyen managed to slide out of the hold and keep his distance as the round drew to a close.
As the second round began, it was clear that Lee was not the same contender “The Situ-Asian” defeated nearly two years ago. The more composed and tactical Singaporean patiently took his time looking for his opportunity to attack.
Unfortunately for him, Nguyen has also evolved, and managed to defend the 19-year-old’s takedown attempts. The “Situ-Asian” was able to hit more consistently towards the end of the round, but Lee managed to evade the strikes.
The third round saw both competitors measuring each other up, knowing full well the championship rounds were near. Lee, who splits his time between United MMA and Evolve MMA, was continuously frustrated by his rival’s takedown defense. With just under a minute to go in the round, Nguyen surprised him with a takedown attempt, but the teenager was able to stay on his feet.
Entering the championship rounds, the hometown hero looked to be more eager, as the visiting titleholder started taking control of the bout. He finally completed a takedown in the middle of the round, but Nguyen sprung back up to his feet.
The Vietnamese-Australian responded with a lightning-quick double-leg takedown, and rained down furious ground and pound on the challenger. Lee endured the offense and tried to neutralize Nguyen, but the champ would not be denied. The Singaporean eventually kicked his way out of trouble to get back to his feet at the end of the round.
In the final stanza, Nguyen showed tremendous balance by managing to stay on his feet despite Lee’s single-leg takedown attempt. The Singaporean was also able to defend against a takedown attempt, but the champ would inflict damage to his opponent’s thighs by landing knees from the clinch. Those knees and Nguyen’s low leg kicks from throughout the match looked to have taken its toll on Lee, as he slipped after a kick to his shin in the final seconds of the tilt.
When the final bell rang, the judges were split in their decision. Ultimately, the victory was awarded to Nguyen, and he had the belt presented to him by none other than Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimming world champion of all time.
“The Situ-Asian” improves his record to 11-2, and has a plethora of contenders in both the featherweight and lightweight division waiting for their shot. Although Lee was not able to avenge his only professional loss nor capture the featherweight world title, he put forth a captivating effort, and could very well challenge for the belt one day again in the future. After all, he is still just 19 years of age.
Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki said he was motivated to recapture the title, and on Friday, 18 May, he backed up that sentiment. The Japanese martial arts legend made quick work of Russian grappler Rasul Yakhyaev.
After a brief feeling out period, Aoki rushed at Yakhyaev in an effort to take him to the ground. The Russian, however, reversed him against the cage, and methodically peppered him with punches to the head and the ribs.
That led to a frenetic scramble, with the Tokyo, Japan resident operating inside Yakhyaev’s guard. He slowly, and strategically, advanced his position. Just after halfway through the opening stanza, the ultra flexible Aoki worked his way to the Russian’s chest, mounted him, masterfully locked in a triangle choke, and rolled to his side to lock it up.
Yakhyaev tried rolling with Aoki, and even stood up and threw punches in an effort to escape. But the Japanese icon grabbed the Russian’s punching arm, cut an angle, and tightened the hold to force the tap at 3:15 of round one.
It was a quick and impressive win for Aoki, who gets the 40th professional victory of his career. With a record of 40-8 (1 NC), “Tobikan Judan” is fully prepared for another run at the gold. Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is back, and he looks just as good as before.
After losing the title six months ago, the Filipino stormed into the Singapore Indoor Stadium and wanted to make a statement. He made that statement, with a decisive unanimous decision victory over unbeaten Russian sambo champion Kharun Atlangeriev.
In the opening round, Folayang attacked the Russian with fierce striking, and inflicted heavy ground and pound whenever the action hit the canvas. Not to be outdone, Atlangeriev powered his way out of a bad position near the end of the first round, before landing a few shots of his own on the former lightweight king.
That brief flurry of offense was about all the sambo expert was able to muster, as Folayang took over as soon as the second round began. The Team Lakay veteran was methodical with his offense. Folayang chipped away at the Russian’s legs with blistering kicks, and punched with surgical precision. Also, every time Atlangeriev attempted a takedown, “Landslide” sprawled and brawled his way back to the feet.
As time ticked away in the third round, the Filipino hero maintained control by using his signature kicks to keep Atlangeriev at distance. At one point, he even caught the tiring Russian by surprise with a lightning quick heel kick.
Following three rounds of intense action, Folayang captured a clear-cut unanimous decision victory. Now, he will try to jump back into the title picture for the ONE Lightweight World Championship. After falling to Timofey Nastyukhin in February, Amir Khan was determined to get back on the lightweight world title track. The 23-year-old added another knockout to his highlight reel by defeating South Korean debutant Sung Jong Lee in front of a roaring hometown crowd. It was by no means an easy victory, however.
Lee, a NAGA No-Gi Grappling Champion, was wary of his opponent’s knockout power, so he tried to take the match to the ground early. The South Korean was successful in catching Khan in an armbar, but the young lion used his raw power to lift and slam his opponent to the ground.
As the round progressed, Lee was persistent in forcing a grappling match. At one point, he even caught the Khan in his signature heel hook, and endured the knockout artist’s strikes. Towards the end of the opening stanza, the South Korean showed tremendous durability by going toe-to-toe with Khan in the striking game.
In the second round, the Cheonan, South Korea native managed a leg scissor takedown to once again attempt his signature submission hold. Khan rained down elbows and fists on his opponent, but Lee was steadfast in his efforts. He held on to the lock with all of his might.
Just when it looked like Lee had his hold in deep, the hometown hero rolled through and escaped to his feet. Like a lion locked on his prey, Khan pounced quickly on the South Korean, and furiously rained down punches.
The referee stepped in at 3:39 of round two to prevent any further damage to the South Korean. With the victory, Khan extends his ONE Championship record for most knockouts to eight, and improves his professional record to 10-3. If he gets a few more wins, he could slide right back into the lightweight world title picture.
The preliminary card perfectly set the pace for a historic night of martial arts action in the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The four bouts were capped off by the inspirational return of Muay Thai legend Singtongnoi Por Telakun, who defeated Stage three cancer just a year and a half earlier. Here is what unfolded during the prelims.
An Inspirational Return From Singtongnoi Por Telakun
Singtongnoi Por Telakun already won the biggest battle of his life when he defeated cancer, but he also returned to competition to add another victory to his legendary Muay Thai career.
He faced Italy’s Joseph “Hurricane” Lasiri in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai flyweight bout, and looked as sharp as ever. With a raucous crowd on his side, the Evolve MMA representative came out like a ball of fire against Lasiri, who had no answer for the Singapore-based Thai’s barrage of kicks and elbows. Singtongnoi followed up two knockdowns in the first round by dishing out even more punishment in the second frame.
While the Italian striker showed a ton of heart, the offensive attack from the multi-time Lumpinee Stadium World Champion was just too much. The referee waved off the action at the 2:36 mark of round two. The living legend elevates his astonishing record to 221-80, and from the looks of it, he is only getting started in ONE Super Series.
Xie Chao Continues His Rise Up The Ranks
Chinese featherweight Xie Chao showed off a diverse ground attack to stop Cambodia Top Team’s Meas Meul in the third round. While it was a battle on the mat from the opening seconds of the first round, Xie ultimately displayed his superiority by constantly taking Meul’s back and looking for the rear-naked choke submission.
When the finish did not come from that position, Xie made an adjustment in the third round to take the Cambodian down, before opening up with a rapid-fire succession of punches. This time, Meul could not escape. The bout was stopped at the 1:10 mark of round three. In victory, Xie moves his record to 8-3, and will continue his ascension up the ranks.
Xie Bin Gets Hard-Earned TKO
“The Stalker” Xie Bin put on a striking clinic while giving local favorite “Boogeyman” Huang Shi Hao a rude welcome in his promotional debut. Xie had to defend some early grappling wizardry from the Singaporean submission specialist, but once the action moved back to the feet, he maintained complete control.
The end came midway through the second round, as the 20-year-old Chinese athlete found an opening in Hao’s defense and pressured forward with a flurry of punches and knees. Huang’s corner threw in the towel, and the referee no choice but to stop the contest before any further damage was inflicted to “Boogeyman.” With the victory, Xie now finds himself on a three-bout win streak.
Sunoto Grapples His Way To A Four-Bout Win Streak
“The Terminator” Sunoto earned his fourth win in a row with a dominant performance over the Philippines’ Roel “Akiyama” Rosauro. The Indonesian bantamweight relied on his grappling prowess, taking Rosauro to the mat numerous times over the course of three rounds.
While “The Terminator” was unable to get the finish, he constantly applied pressure to the Filipino on the mat with a barrage of strikes. He also attempted several submissions from his arsenal, but could not get the tap. Sunoto was able to stave off every attempt from Rosauro on the feet, as he suffocated his opponent on the ground for all three rounds. When it was over, the judges agreed that the Indonesian had done more than enough to earn the unanimous decision victory.
Angela Lee def. Mei Yamaguchi via unanimous decision – for atomweight title
Martin Nguyen def. Christian Lee via split decision– for featherweight title
Shinya Aoki def. Rasul Yakhyaev via submission (triangle choke) in Round 1, 3:15
Eduard Folayang def. Kharun Atlangeriev via unanimous decision
Amir Khan def. Sung Jong Lee via TKO (punches) in Round 2, 3:39
Chao Xie def. Meas Meu via TKO (punches) in Round 3, 1:10
Xie Bin def. Shi Hao Huang via TKO (corner stoppage) in Round 2, 2:26
Sunoto Peringkat def. Roel Rosauro via unanimous decision