Nguyen And Rodtang Strike Gold, While DJ, Alvarez And Kingad All Win
|ONE Championship returned to a packed Mall of Asia Arena in Manila for the biggest martial arts event in Philippine history with ONE: DAWN OF HEROES. Once again, the finest martial arts talent in the world came out to showcase their incredible skills. In the main event, Martin Nguyen retained his ONE Featherweight World Championship with a technical knockout victory over Koyomi Matsushima. In the co-main event, Rodtang Jitmuangnon captured the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Jonathan Haggerty.|
In the main event, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Australia and Vietnam continued his reign over the featherweight division with a second-round technical knockout victory over Japanese challenger Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima to retain the ONE Featherweight World Championship. Matsushima put the pressure on Nguyen early in the opening round with his solid ground game. The champion was able to make the necessary adjustments in the second round, however, as he picked apart a tired Matsushima with a barrage of strikes to get the stoppage win and successfully defend his title for a third time.
In the co-main event, Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon of Thailand dethroned English striking sensation Jonathan “The General” Haggerty via unanimous decision to become the new ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion. Haggerty utilized his length in the early going, using front kicks to keep the challenger at bay. Rodtang picked up steam in the succeeding rounds and managed to drop Haggerty twice. After five rounds of explosive action, it was Rodtang who walked away with the victory and the prestigious ONE World Title.
In the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Semi-finals, Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the United States recorded his first victory under the ONE banner with a rear naked choke of former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines. Folayang attacked Alvarez with a blitz of strikes to open the contest and a low kick brought “The Underground King” to the mat. Alvarez, however, was able to sweep Folayang to wind up in mount. From there, Alvarez took Folayang’s back, fished for the submission, and forced the tap.
In the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Semi-finals, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson of the United States outlasted Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada of Japan to take home a three-round unanimous decision. After a brief exchange on the feet in the first round, Wada was able to take Johnson to the mat and secure his back. Johnson however defended very well. Action continued in the second round with Johnson dominating the grappling exchanges. In the third and final round, Johnson appeared to have Wada figured out and took control of the bout to cruise to a unanimous decision victory.
|Filipino flyweight star Danny “The King” Kingad secured his spot in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Finals with a split decision win over Australian Reece “Lightning” McLaren. Kingad survived a number of precarious situations in the first two rounds to rally back in the final round. In the last two minutes of the bout, Kingad dominated a fading McLaren as he was able to land a couple of takedowns and unload some ground-and-pound to swing the decision in his favor. Kingad is now one win away from becoming the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion.|
Muay Thai star Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym of Thailand opened the main card in spectacular fashion with a third round knockout victory over Andrew “Maddog Fairtex” Miller of Scotland. Rodlek overcame Miller’s significant height and reach advantage as he outstruck his foe in the first two rounds of action. In the opening minute of the final round, Rodlek dropped Miller with a short right elbow followed by a knee to score the stoppage win.
Japanese flyweight Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu captured his first win under the ONE banner in highlight-reel fashion with a first round knockout of former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio of the Philippines. The heavy-handed Wakamatsu timed his shot, found the opening and unloaded a solid straight right hand that had Eustaquio out before hitting the canvas. Wakamatsu followed up with a few more shots before the referee stepped in to stop the bout.
In a lightweight contest, South Korea’s “Crazy Dog” Dae Sung Park overwhelmed former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario of the Philippines over three rounds. Park came out firing powerful combinations and actively pursuing the takedown in the first round. He dropped Banario with a head kick and followed him to the mat for some ground-and-pound nearly finishing the Filipino. Banario survived and came back with a flurry of his own, sending Park reeling towards the ropes. Park rocked Banario again in the third with a high kick, which “The Rock” again recovered well from. In the end, all three ringside judges scored the bout in favor of Park to win by unanimous decision.
Japan’s Daichi Takenaka and Brazil’s Leandro “Brodinho” Issa figured in an epic back-and-forth battle in a bantamweight contest. Takenaka and Issa began the bout testing each other’s grappling skills, with both men taking turns in dominant positions. As the bout wore on however, action shifted to the feet and Takenaka began to pull away with superior striking. After a right hand put Issa down in the third, Takenaka followed up with a plethora of punches on the ground to force the stoppage.
American top welterweight contender James “Nako” Nakashima put together a well-rounded performance, defeating Japanese mixed martial arts legend Yushin “Thunder” Okami. Nakashima came out to a fast and aggressive start, taking the action right to Okami in the opening moments of the contest. For three full rounds, Nakashima got the better of Okami in the striking and grappling departments. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Nakashima to win by unanimous decision.
In a featherweight contest, China’s “The Stalker” Xie Bin took on the Philippines’ Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly. However, after an unfortunate halt to the bout in round two, Xie was awarded a technical decision victory over the Filipino.
China’s Miao Li Tao was impressive in his return to the ring, defeating Thailand’s Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit via unanimous decision. Miao was in control from the get-go as he took Mitsatit down and controlled him on the mat for the majority of the three-round contest. Mitsatit had no answer for Miao’s aggressive and powerful grappling as the Chinese warrior coasted to a convincing decision win.
Japanese women’s strawweight contender Ayaka Miura continued to roll in her ONE Championship career, defeating former World Title challenger Samara “Marituba” Santos of Brazil with an Americana submission in the second round. Miura bucked a slow start in the opening round and displayed her superior grappling in the second round by taking Santos down and locking in the Americana in just 39 seconds.
Malaysia’s Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman kicked off the action at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES with a unanimous decision victory over Indonesian veteran “The Terminator” Sunoto. Aiman remained a step ahead throughout the three-round bout as he outstruck and outgrappled Sunoto to walk away with the curtain-raising win.