History was made in Macao on Saturday, 5 August. At ONE: KINGS AND CONQUERORS, Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes successfully defended his ONE Bantamweight World Championship for a record seventh time, and Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes redeemed himself against Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov and became the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.
While the main events created a slew of unforgettable moments, the main card and the preliminary bouts were loaded with an assortment of “must-see” battles and highlight-reel finishes.From the brilliant homecoming of Leandro Issa to the return of Timofey Nastyukhin, ONE: KINGS AND CONQUERORS was simply spectacular.
Here are just five highlights from ONE’s second show in Macao.
#1 Bibiano Fernandes’ Relentless Attack
Many fans and experts alike were wondering how Bibiano Fernandes (21-3) was going to perform after his split decision victory over Reece “Lightning” McLaren last December at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION. At 37, was the game finally starting to catch up with him? Were his skills actually beginning to slip?
The Brazilian answered both questions with a resounding victory, as he completely overpowered Andrew Leone (8-3) from the opening bell. He decimated the 27-year-old American grappler, crumpling Leone with a knee to the gut before eventually taking his back for the match-ending rear-naked choke. For a minute and 47 seconds, it was complete and utter domination.
Fernandes has undoubtedly cemented his place as the greatest bantamweight martial artist of all-time, and looks as hungry as he ever has. The only question left to ask is if there is anyone who can defeat the Brazilian, and end his marvelous four-year title run.
#2 Adriano Moraes Becomes Undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion
Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes (16-2) may have lost the title to Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov (23-1) in a hotly-contested split decision match-up two years ago, but on Saturday, there was no doubt whatsoever. The Brazilian simply outclassed Akhmetov, earned a unanimous decision nod, and became the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.
Throughout the five-round affair, Moraes was better in every way. He effectively utilized his striking, kept tagging “The Kazakh” as the bout wore on, and successfully evaded most of Akhmetov’s infamous takedowns. In fact, he reversed quite a few, and tried put his BJJ forte to use. Moraes was outstanding. He truly improved his entire game and deservedly the two flyweight title belts.
#3 The Genius Of Hayato Suzuki
Hayato Suzuki (17-0-2) entered the event as a highly-regarded and undefeated athlete who could immediately pose a challenge to ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito for the title. The Japanese competitor backed up those claims with relative ease on Saturday Night.
The 31-year-old grappler spent opening seconds of his promotional debut wary of Joshua Pacio’s (9-2) powerful kicks. But once he sensed an opening, Suzuki immediately rushed forward, absorbed a spectacular spinning back kick attempt, and latched onto the Team Lakay standout’s back.
Then, he masterfully used his veteran experience to kick away from the cage and complete the takedown, rendering Pacio’s defenses ineffective. From there, he systematically softened up the Filipino, and cleanly submitted him with a rear-naked choke.
While defeating the talented Pacio is certainly a feather in anyone’s cap, Suzuki did it within the first round, and that is something not even Naito could do. Simply put, this Japanese grappler is the real deal.
#4 Kotetsu “No Face” Boku’s Incredible Comeback
Kotetsu “No Face” Boku (26-11-2) has always been one of the most beloved characters in Asian martial arts. Not only does the Japanese warrior stand out due to his colorful appearance and spirited demeanor, but his boxing is truly a sight to behold.
Boku always brings his best and refuses to quit. “No Face” was nearly finished in the opening stanza of his match against Eric “The Natural” Kelly (12-4) when he ate a right hand that knocked him to the ground. He experienced similar adversity in the second frame after getting dropped again, but the Japanese warrior maintained his composure, amplified his pressure on the tiring Filipino, and finally stuffed a last-ditch takedown en route to a third-round TKO victory.
At 40 years old, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion is turning back the clock and experiencing a resurgence in the featherweight division, and could very well be a final run at gold. He truly leaves it all in the cage, and is a perfect example of what warrior spirit is all about.
#5 Jomary Torres Stops Rika Ishige In Her Tracks
Jomary Torres stepped into Macao with little fanfare, but by the time the Filipina warrior left the Cotai Arena, everyone knew who she was. In their preliminary bout, Torres put a stop to the meteoric rise of Thai superstar Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige with a rear-naked choke.
Everything that Ishige threw at Torres, she withstood. The Catalan Fighting Systems product countered the Thai’s strikes, and even successfully defended several submissions. But the most telling moment was when the Filipina caught Ishige’s kick in round two.
There, her confidence skyrocketed as she held onto the leg and landed strike after strike. By that point, the exhausted “Tinydoll” looked completely deflated, and it is not surprising the end arrived soon thereafter.