ONE Championship 27: Warrior Quest - Aoki retains lightweight title again, "Kru Rong" Amnuaysirichoke crowed inaugural strawweight champion
It wasn't particularly a good Friday night for Malaysia as both of our boys on the card lost their fights. Local Muay Thai practitioner Ali Yaakub (0-2) was submitted by China's Yang Jian Bing (4-0) with an armbar at the beginning of the second round while Malaysian born New Zealander Ev Ting (9-3) was handed his first loss in ONE by Russia's undefeated M-1 champion, Marat "Cobra" Gafurov (11-0). As mentioned in my interview post with Ting, his bout was the featherweight title eliminator fight, meaning that whoever won would get to face featherweight champion Jadamba Narantungalag for the ONE World Championship title.
Although our dream for the first Malaysian champion would not be realised as soon as we were hoping, Ting's performance against the Russian MMA star was nothing to be ashamed about. He never looked intimidated and landed some great punches and kicks, one of them cut Gafurov's nose. The Kiwi force was strong within him. Sadly, Gafurov's wrestling and BJJ were just too good. Gafurov started the bout fancy, throwing a few kicks including a flashy Meai Lua de Compasso (a Capoeira spinning kicking technique), but Ting seemed unfazed by any of that. Just when Ting was beginning to find the range, Gafurov closed in and set up a takedown off a front kick. Gafurov slammed Ting to the ground, landed in half guard, immediately started hammering Ting's oblique and abdomen, and eventually advanced to full mount position from side control.
I thought it was going to be over as soon as Gafurov mounted but Ting pulled off a smart escape and got back onto his feet, followed by a soccer kick attempt, which would prove to be a costly mistake as it allowed Gafurov to catch the leg and take down him back down into the ground. Gafurov landed right into side control where he was able to move to mount again. Ting tried to do the same escape again by giving away his back but Gafurov knew right away so he slipped one underhook in and locked the body triangle. And this was where Gafurov finished the fight by applying a deep rear naked choke submission which Ting had no choice but to tap.
Ting looked unhappy with his own performance but was in good spirit later. In his FB post with included a post-event photo of him and Gafurov, he apologised for the results, said that he took a swim with his opponent at 3AM, revealed that Gafurov needed stitches for the cut on his nose, and suggested that he's intending to come back stronger.
Held in Singapore on May 22nd, ONE: Warrior's Quest was a stacked card featuring many familiar high profile fighters and headlined by 2 title bouts. Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki (38-6) has successfully defended his ONE Lightweight World Championship title again, this time against fellow Japanese fighter, Koji "The Commander" Ando (11-4), who was a champion in Legend FC. Aoki showcased his trademark world class grappling and dominated all 5 rounds of the bout for the easy unanimous decision win. He was the aggressor from start to finish, scored takedowns and near-submissions (armbar and rear naked choke), controlled the control and also caused some damage to Ando's face with his ground and pound (mostly elbows and short hammerfists). Aoki was also testing out his striking abilities in the second round and threw some impressive kicks, which I believe he's learnt from the other fighters at Evolve MMA gym, but he went back to his ground game after his nose has gone red and bloodied by Ando's jabs.
Aoki started getting a bit cocky in the final round where he pulled guard and started chasing his opponent on his butt. Ando gave Aoki so much respect that he didn't attempt a single kick even when potential soccer kick was presented. ONE seriously needs to find someone who could match Aoki's crazy BJJ skills. Perhaps Ariel "Tarzan" Sexton (10-3) is the answer. He's a BJJ black belt under Renzo Gracie and on this night, he was able to be defeat Aoki's Evolve teammate, Eddie "The Magician" Ng (7-3), who's one of top fighters in the division, with a broken arm that was caused by one of Ng's kick in the first round. Dubbed as the Finish of the Night by ONE PPV, Sexton landed a wild overhand punch which gave him the opportunity to take Ng's back and applied the rear naked choke which NG was forced to tap out to. Seriously, I think Aoki versus Sexton sounds like a good match up.
In the co-main event, it was the inaugural ONE Strawweight World Championship title bout between Thailand's three-time Lumpinee champion Dejdamrong "Kru Rong" sor Amnuaysirichoke (5-0) and Philippines' Roy Doliguez (6-2). I was wondering who this Doliguez guy was as he had no fights at ONE before this, and his record didn't exactly suggest a deserving instant title shot. Even Aoki had to fight once in ONE first before getting title shot. In fact, I thought it was actually too early for a strawweight title bout. Although Kru Rong is the first pure Muay Thai fighter to find success in ONE and has been impressively improving, he only had 4 MMA fights prior to this. But I guess for MMA to continue growing and inspiring South East Asia, the region needs a champion, quick.
Anyway, Kru Rong dominated the fight with, of course, his striking ability, and Doliguez absorbed a lot of punishment including accidental eye pokes and low blows, which eventually stopped him from continuing in the final round. That forced the referee to put the fight into the judges' hands and Kru Rong was awarded the unanimous decision win. Doliguez protested but nobody seemed to care.
The postponed ONE Championship 24: Dynasty of Champions, which was intended to take place in December last year, was announced to take place in Guangzhou, China on June 20th. However, no card or fighter has been confirmed and there's only less than a month left. Stay tuned to ONE's FB Page for updates.
ONE FC 27: Warrior's Quest - Results
ONE Warrior Bonus: (none awarded since the first time?)
Lightweight: Shinya Aoki (c) def. Koji Ando | Unanimous Decision | 5 rounds
Strawweight: Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichok def. Roy Doliguez | Unanimous Decision | R4
Featherweight: Marat Gafurov def. Ev Ting | Submission (RNC) | R1 4:30 mins
Lightweight: Lowen Tynanes def. Kuat Khamitov | Unanimous Decision | 3 rounds
Lightweight: Ariel Sexton def. Eddie Ng | Submission (RNC) | R2 1:10 mins
Featherweight: Shannon Wiratchai def. Amir Khan | Split Decision | 3 rounds
Women’s Strawweight: Angela Lee def. Aya Saeid Saber | Submission (Armbar) | R1 1:43 mins
Bantamweight: A La Teng Hei Li def. Stephen Langdown | TKO (Strikes) | R2 0:51 mins
Featherweight: Benedict Ang def. Waqar Umar | Unanimous Decision | 3 rounds
Flyweight: Yang Jian Bing def. Ali Yaakub | Submission (Armbar) | R2 0:49 mins
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