A number of weeks ago, we featured Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series’ official schedule for 2020. The subsidiary of ONE Championship will hold their events in Singapore, where mixed martial arts prospects from different parts of the world will sharpen their skills and battle it out for a roster spot in the largest global sports media property in Asia. This, in more ways, is just a simple testament to the ever-growing popularity of the combat sport in the region.
It’s safe to say that ONE Championship has a firm grip on the Asian MMA market. Their marketability is second to none; and if 2019 is any indication, it seems like there’s no stopping them anytime soon. With that, let’s look back at the last seven ONE Championship Events of the year.
ONE Championship: Immortal Triumph — September 6, 2019 (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
The crowd inside Phu Tho Indoor Stadium were treated to superb striking action in this Muay Thai and kickboxing card, headlined by the bout between Thailand’s Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and Brice Deval of France for the ONE Muay Thai Bantamweight Championship. The former won via a unanimous decision, after dominating his opponent for five rounds.
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Another notable fight on the card was that of Brazil’s Anderson Silva against Russian Beybulat Isaev. Not to be mistaken by his namesake and fellow Brazilian, UFC legend Anderson Silva, the former The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters contestant had a hard time during the reality competition, losing a quarterfinals match opposite grappler Justin Frazier. During this event, though, Silva leveraged on his striking prowess en route to a knockout victory over Isaev in round one.
ONE Championship: Century — October 13, 2019 (Tokyo, Japan)
This aptly named event marked ONE Championship’s 100th show. It featured two separate fight cards in one day, with Angela Lee and Demetrious Johnson headlining the first and Aung La Nsang and Bibiano Fernandes top billing the second.
All champions, Lee, Fernandes, and Aung retained their respective titles in dominant fashion, while top pound-for-pound fighter Johnson walloped Filipino contender Danny Kingad to win the Flyweight Grand-Prix final. Japanese legend Shinya Aoki also got himself back on track after submitting another Filipino in Honorio Banario by D’Arce choke in just 54 seconds.
ONE Championship: Dawn of Valor — October 25, 2019 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Jakarta, Indonesia played host to the ONE Welterweight Championship fight between Zebaztian Kadestam and Kiamrian Abbasov. Kadestam, the Swedish title holder, failed to defend his title, losing on points to the Kyrgyzstan fighter. On the other hand, striking sensation and ONE Kickboxing Lightweight contender Nieky Holzken lost his co-main event bout versus champion Regian Eersel.
Former UFC Bantamweight fighter John Lineker also made his ONE Championship debut in this card, controlling Muin Gafurov on his way to a unanimous decision victory. From the looks of it, Lineker feels right at home in the Asian MMA organization, especially after his tumultuous run in the UFC. Despite a 12-4 record in the Octagon, UFC President Dana White wasn’t a huge fan of the 29-year-old knockout artist from Brazil as detailed by Dan Hiergesell of MMA Mania. This issue in Lineker’s professionalism, of course, stems from his inconsistency to make weight.
ONE Championship: Masters of Fate — November 8, 2019 (Pasay, Philippines)
The Philippines reflects one of the best representations of MMA growth in Southeast Asia — it sure helps that ONE Championship regularly holds events in the country. To add to that, in an article on the ‘Best Filipino MMA Fighters’ by James Gonzales reported on plans for the aforementioned ONE Warrior Series to launch in the country sometime in 2020. This could open more doors for Filipino fighters to follow the footsteps of the Folayangs, the Eustaquios, and the Pacios, and become future world champions.
As for the card itself, it highlighted an all Filipino main event between Joshua Pacio and Rene Catalan, where the former retained his belt after tapping his challenger out via arm triangle choke in the second round. It also signified Eduard Folayang’s return in the win column, after an anticlimactic bout with Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu.
ONE Championship: Age of Dragons — November 16, 2019 (Beijing, China)
Cadillac Arena’s marquee underlined a ONE Kickboxing Flyweight Championship fight between title holder Ilias Ennahachi and hometown hero Wang Wenfeng. Unfortunately for the Chinese crowd, their bet lost a razor thin decision.
In addition, fabled Muay Thai fighter Yodsanklai Fairtex was in the card against Russia’s Jamal Yusupov. It wasn’t his night either, losing the bout by way of knockout, 39 seconds into the second round.
ONE Championship: Edge of Greatness — November 22, 2019 (Kallang, Singapore)
More than the amazing food, the diverse culture, and the eye-popping architecture, Singapore has established itself as a legitimate hub for Asian MMA. In an interview on Asia One Evolve MMA General Manager Wesley De Souza claimed it to be the epicenter of mixed martial arts in the region, thanks to ONE Championship. He even went as far as comparing Singapore to Las Vegas in terms of its significance in combat sports.
Thankfully, the last ONE Championship fight card lived up to the billing. Colbey Northcutt — Sage’s sister — was successful in her ONE debut against Putri Padmi of Indonesia, hometown favorite Amir Khan escaped perennial lightweight contender Ev Ting, and Nong-O Gaiyanghadao retained his ONE Muay Thai Bantamweight title after knocking out Saemapetch Fairtex in round four.
ONE Championship: Mark of Greatness — December 6, 2019 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
This card was the last ONE Championship event of the year and crowned the first ever ONE Kickboxing Strawweight and Bantamweight champions. In the co-main event, Alaverdi Ramazanov of Russia edged out China’s Chenglong Zhang to capture the bantamweight crown. Thai fighter Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, on the other hand, also won via unanimous decision over Chinese opponent Wang Junguang.
The bout also featured Anderson Silva, who, this time, lost a lightheavyweight kickboxing fight against equally decorated striker Andrei Stoica. Up-and-coming women’s atomweight fighter Denice Zamboanga from the Philippines and New Zealand flyweight contender Reece McLaren made their returns in the Circle, outclassing Malaysia’s Jihin Radzuan and Canada’s Gurdarshan Mangat respectively.
Piece exclusively written for fightbookmma.com
by Brendon Jennielee
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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