Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes made history at ONE: IRON WILL on Saturday, 24 March, as he defeated two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen to claim a pair of ONE Championship records on a spectacular night in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 37-year-old Brazilian expertly avoided the knockout power of the ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion, before eventually scoring a last-gasp knockdown to pull away with the victory via split decision.
The gripping five-round world title tussle at the Impact Arena was filled with tension throughout, as Fernandes constantly walked down Nguyen, who had dropped to bantamweight to challenge for an unprecedented third ONE World Title.
You could cut the tension with a knife in the opening round, as a sense of anticipation permeated throughout the arena.
Both athletes showed each other plenty of respect early in the first stanza.
While that respect remained intact throughout the contest, the bout developed into a striker versus grappler match-up, with Nguyen looking to score from distance, and Fernandes using big punches to close the distance and establish his grappling game.
Such was the level of the two men’s respective defensive skill sets, both were able to nullify the best weapons of the other.
Nguyen showed expert takedown defense to keep Fernandes’ grappling attack at bay for much of the contest, while the Brazilian used his footwork and control of range to stay away from the Vietnamese-Australian’s famed knockout power.
The bout started to open up in the middle rounds, as “The Flash” found some success with his takedown attempts, and Nguyen found a home for his strikes, with his lead leg kick and straight left both proving particularly effective.
By the end of the third frame, the momentum appeared to be shifting towards “The Situ-Asian,” who was landing more consistently with his punches.
However, Fernandes was not to be denied. After much of the same in the fourth stanza, the match carried over to the fifth and final round, where “The Flash” stung the challenger with whipping leg kicks.
Most notably, with just over a minute to go, the Brazilian dropped Nguyen with a big overhand right that the Aussie did well to recover from. The match went all the way to the scorecards, but that may have proved to be the most decisive moment of the contest.
When the judges’ scores were announced, it was “The Flash” who took the spoils, as he retained the ONE Bantamweight World Title by the narrowest of margins with a split decision verdict.
Fernandes’ win took his record to 22-3 and extended his win streak to 14. He also continued his record run of successful world title defenses to eight, and registered the most wins in ONE Championship history with 10.
Undoubtedly, he cemented his position as the most dominant champion in the promotion’s history.
Nguyen, meanwhile, drops to 10-2, and will look to continue his remarkable story as he moves on to defend his ONE Featherweight and Lightweight titles later this year. After a battle as close as that, however, do not rule out a rematch either.
It only took one right hand for the Philippines’ Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado to play the spoiler, and knock out a Muay Thai legend.
On Saturday, 24 March, the Filipino stepped into hostile territory to face former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in his own backyard of Bangkok, Thailand, at ONE: IRON WILL.
None of that seemed to bother Miado, however, as he was more than happy to stand and trade with Amnuaysirichoke, who is also a three-time Lumpinee Stadium world champion, and owns 282 career wins in Muay Thai competition.
During initial striking exchanges, “The Jaguar” was able to use his vastly superior reach to keep Amnuaysirichoke on the end of his punches. That ultimately helped lead to the end of the contest.
Miado invited Amnuaysirichoke to trade punches with him, and the Filipino strawweight stood tough in the pocket while throwing shots with everything he had. Perhaps what was most notable, however, was the Thai threw punches with his chin straight up in the air.
“The Jaguar” made him pay for that defensive blunder when he connected with a perfectly-timed right hook, which sent Amnuaysirichoke crashing to the canvas.
The referee quickly rushed forward to stop the contest before Miado was able to land any follow-up shots, with the end coming at 1:29 of the opening round.
It is a huge win for Miado, as he had just knocked out the most decorated strawweight in ONE Championship. In victory, he moves his record to 7-2, and could find himself back inside the cage relatively soon.
Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai said he had a lot prove coming into his bout with Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raja.
The Thai lightweight, who had a Bangkok night to forget in his last bout, was determined to prove a point in his return to a roaring hometown crowd.
He could not have done so more emphatically, as he knocked Raju out with a stunning right hook in just 21 seconds at ONE: IRON WILL, which emanated from the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday, 24 March.
“OneShin” looked typically relaxed in front of his hometown fans when action got started. He reacted to the Indian’s strikes with composure, allowing “The Kerala Krusher” to lunge into his range before countering.
Raju may not have done his homework on the counter-striking specialist, as he continued to press forward. Wiratchai, with his back to the fence, timed a thunderous right hook over the leading jab of his opponent, and sent him crashing to the mat for a devastating early finish.
In the post victory interview, Wiratchai remained modest, all while urging the Thai fans to keep supporting their martial arts stars.
“I hope you guys keep supporting me, and all the Thai athletes. We are going to keep going, and not stop.”
Wiratchai extends his record to 9-2 (1 NC), and now holds the record for the second-fastest knockout victory in the lightweight division.
Angelie “D Explorer” Sabanal had a night to remember on Saturday, 24 March, as she made a perfect debut in ONE Championship.
The 28-year-old kicked off her cage career against hometown hero Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige at ONE: IRON WILL in Bangkok, Thailand, and claimed a hard-earned unanimous decision victory in their women’s atomweight clash.
Ishige received rapturous support from her home fans at the Impact Arena as she made a typically spectacular entrance. But when the bout began, it was Sabanal who delivered the superior performance.
Working from the southpaw stance, Sabanal looked to engage from close quarters early on, and caught an Ishige kick to score the first takedown of the contest.
The Thai’s best work of the round came from the clinch, where she scored with some solid knees against her shorter opponent, and forced the debutante against the cage, where she worked her Muay Thai knees from the clinch.
Sabanal came out more aggressively at the start of the second frame, and dominated the stand-up exchanges throughout the stanza. The Filipina, who is a national Muay Thai silver medalist, had worked out the Thai star’s timing. She was consistently catching “Tinydoll” as she looked to close the distance.
The bout was hanging in the balance heading into the final frame and, with just over half a round to go, Ishige scored the takedown the Bangkok crowd were looking for. Sabanal would not be denied, however, as she gamely scrambled and worked her way back to her feet.
After 15 minutes of breathless back-and-forth action, the result was left to the judges to decide. With Sabanal’s superior work rate, and higher strike output, she earned the unanimous decision victory.
“Tinydoll” will return to compete another day, but ONE: IRON WILL was the night that introduced “D Explorer” to the world as a new exciting talent in the women’s atomweight division.
With multiple shows scheduled for Manila in 2018, Sabanal could soon receive the opportunity to build upon her hard-earned debut win with a bout on home soil later this year.
Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev has finally gone past the two minute mark in his martial arts career, but the result was still the same.
The Turkish lightweight picked up another incredible victory at ONE: IRON WILL on Saturday, 24 March, in Bangkok, Thailand.
After more than a year away from the cage, Arslanaliev did not look like he had any rust to knock off, as he constantly attacked Tetsuya Yamada, and eventually submitted the veteran Japanese champion late in the match.
From beginning to end, it was an action packed contest.
The first round was filled with several high-level scrambles, with both Arslanaliev and Yamada going for takedowns, and looking for submissions on the mat. “Dagi” was happy to use a ground and pound attack after first taking Yamada to the mat, but he was not able to keep him there, as the Japanese competitor consistently worked his way back to the feet.
Yamada did his best to counter Arslanaliev’s wrestling with a takedown of his own, in addition to an armbar attempt from the bottom. However, the Turkish powerhouse just muscled out of trouble each and every time.
Arslanaliev continued his grappling dominance in the second round. He caught almost every single kick that came at him from the Japanese veteran, and tossed him to the ground with authority.
It was a disheartening sequence of events for Yamada, as he started to tire from the frantic pace. Still, he refused to go queitly, and he was actually able to drag “Dagi” to the ground late in the frame, and control the action before the bell rang to end the second round.
As the third stanza got underway, both Arslanaliev and Yamada were forced to dig deep into their reserves to gut out those final five minutes.
While the Japanese competitor has more submission wins on his resume than Arslanaliev has bouts, it was “Dagi” who found a way to earn the finish, only after bringing the action back to the ground.
It was a beautiful sequence, as the Turkish warrior made his way around his opponent’s defenses, grabbed the arm, and then fell down to his belly to secure the armbar. He extended the elbow until Yamada had no choice but to tap out at the 2:51 mark of round three.
Arslanaliev elevates his record to 5-1, and continues his ascension up the lightweight ranks.
China’s Zhao Zhi Kang brought an experience advantage to the cage in his featherweight bout at ONE: IRON WILL, but his opponent, Pakistan’s Waqar “Psycho” Umar, brought a will to win that could not be overcome.
On Saturday, 24 March, in Bangkok, Thailand, Umar managed to submit the Chinese warrior via rear-naked choke with less than a minute remaining in the opening stanza
It was Zhao who came out on the front foot, and dominated proceedings early on. With a renowned grappling game, he opened up with a high kick, and then charged at Umar for the takedown.
Umar never stopped working for submissions, but the Chinese athlete controlled from the top with ground and pound. Still, “Psycho” would not be deterred, and just as it looked like Zhao would settle into the mount, he reversed the position.
From there, Umar was relentless. He stayed tight on his adversary, and searched for openings. He eventually settled on the back, and threatened with the choke.
His opponent’s defenses could only last so long, and the Pakistani finally locked in the rear-naked choke during the final minute of round one. He was able to force the tap at the 4:21 mark of the first round.
It was an emotional win for Umar. He captured his first victory in the promotion, over a prodigious martial artist no less, and proved he belongs on such an elite roster.
Grappling superstar Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon looks every bit as dangerous in the cage as he was on the mats.
The American, who captured a host of BJJ world titles in his dazzling grappling career, transitioned to the next part of his martial arts career at ONE: IRON WILL at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
He made his debut under ONE’s Global Rule Set on Saturday, 24 March, and showed he is more than just a grappler.
The 26-year-old New Yorker showcased his previously-unseen striking talent to finish Filipino striker Richard “Notorious” Corminal via TKO in the second round of their lightweight bout.
Corminal unsurprisingly started the bout looking to engage in the stand-up, but Tonon surprised the crowd – and his opponent – by returning in kind. He threw a spectacular head kick and a flying knee in the opening exchanges, and showed he was equally happy to stand and trade early on.
Tonon’s confidence in his striking grew as the round progressed. He started to find a home for his hands, landing a slick one-two combination, and successfully evaded most of Corminal’s big shots.
Gasps filled the Impact Arena when a huge right hand from the American dropped Corminal with 30 seconds to go. Tonon looked to close out his debut with a first-round stoppage win.
To his great credit, “Notorious” showed great heart to survive the round, as he was saved by the bell.
In the second frame, it looked like Tonon was going back to his bread and butter — his grappling — as he took Corminal to the ground early on.
However, “The Lion Killer” appeared uninterested in claiming a submission victory in his ONE debut. He seemed to pass up a number of potential submission openings, instead looking to secure a finish via strikes.
Once he transitioned to the mount position for the second time in the round, a powerful salvo of punches and elbows eventually forced referee Olivier Coste to halt the bout at the 3:40 mark of the second stanza, awarding the TKO victory to Tonon.
It was a hugely impressive display from the American, who will definitely be one to watch in 2018 as he looks to move up the ranks, and continue to test his skills under ONE’s Global Rule Set.
With an impressive debut victory now under his belt, all eyes will be on Tonon the next time he sets foot inside the ONE cage.
ONE Championship 70 Official Results:
- Bibiano Fernandes def. Martin Nguyen via split decision (to retain bantamweight title via split decision)
- Jeremy Miado def. Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke via knockout (punch) in Round 1, 1:29
- Shannon Wiratchai def. Rahul Raju via knockout (punch) in Round 1, 0:21
- Angelie Sabanal def. Rika Ishige via unanimous decision
- Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev def. Tetsuya Yamada via submission (armbar) in Round 3, 2:51
- Waqar Umar def. Zhao Zhi Kang via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 1, 4:21
- Garry Tonon def. Richard Corminal via TKO (elbows) in Round 2, 3:40
- Robin Catalan def. Kritsada Kongsrichai via disqualification (illegal suplex) in Round 1, 1:40
- Alain Ngalani def. Ariunbold Tur-Ochir via split decision
- Gilberto Galvao def. Jake Butler via TKO (knee injury) in Round 2, 0:07
- Sunoto Peringkat def. Hisyam Samsudin via unanimous decision
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