ONE Championship: Fernandes retains bantamweight crown, Moraes undisputed flyweight champ
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The largest sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship (ONE), returned to the glamorous entertainment capital of Asia with another evening of authentic world-class martial arts action. The Cotai Arena at The Venetian Macao played host to ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS, featuring the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent.
In the main event, Bibiano Fernandes remained the most dominant world champion in ONE Championship history by toppling American Andrew Leone. In the co-main event, Adriano Moraes overcame a spirited performance from Kairat Akhmetov to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.
Defending ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes made quick work of Andrew Leone, submitting the American challenger with a rear-naked choke in the first frame of the much-awaited championship clash. It was the beginning of the end for Leone when Fernandes hammered a knee to the midsection that slumped his opponent to the mat.
The 37-year-old Brazilian authored the final sequence by latching on the match-ending submission, keeping the prestigious gold-plated strap securely fastened around his waist. With the impressive victory over Leone, Fernandes has set an unprecedented ONE Championship record of seven successful title defenses, remaining unbeaten in the promotion.
“I feel great. I feel great, thank you Macao for having me. Thank you for my family in Canada and my family in Brazil who are watching me right now. I am here to stay. I welcome all challenges. I want to say thank you to Chatri [Sityodtong] and Matt Hume. I’m happy with ONE Championship. I want to continue fighting. Whoever I have to fight, I will accept. I am always ready!” said Fernandes.
In the co-main event, Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes of Brazil defeated Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan via five-round unanimous decision to become the sole owner of the ONE Flyweight World Championship. Moraes, who previously held the interim title, controlled the majority of the action with his grappling while defending champion Akhmetov tried his best to fend off the Brazilian’s advances with his wrestling.
On the feet, Moraes got the better of the exchanges and landed the harder blows. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Moraes, who unifies the flyweight titles to become the undisputed king of the division.
“I’m not surprised [with the victory]. Thank you very much, one more time, for the opportunity, ONE Championship. I want to thank my coach, my family and my friends. I’m very grateful,” said Moraes.
Hard-hitting Russian featherweight Timofey Nastyukhin and former world title challenger Koji “The Commander” Ando of Japan figured in an incredibly tactical three-round matchup, with Nastyukhin coming away with a well-earned unanimous decision victory. After Ando nullified most of the action using his feints and pacing, Nastyukhin turned up the pressure in the second half of the contest, consistently landing the more telling blows.
Top lightweight contender Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai made quick work of India’s Rajinder Singh Meena, winning by knockout just moments into a scheduled three-round bout. The Bangkok Fight Lab mainstay authored one of his quickest finishes yet, landing a right knee flush to Meena’s head from the clinch. Referee Olivier Coste wasted no time in calling a halt to the contest once he realized Meena was completely out of it.
Undefeated Japanese veteran Hayato Suzuki made a successful ONE Championship promotional debut, thwarting former title challenger Joshua Pacio of the Philippines to win by first round submission. After Pacio missed slightly on a spinning back kick attempt, Suzuki capitalized by taking his back and dragging the Filipino to the ground.
In a heated featherweight showdown between two top contenders, Kotetsu “No Face” Boku of Japan posted a thrilling technical knockout victory over Eric “The Natural” Kelly of Baguio City, Philippines, utilizing his exceptional boxing skill. Although Kelly was able to score on a couple of knockdowns by way of a monstrous right hand, Boku was never fazed and kept putting the pressure on the Filipino stalwart.
Highly-touted Chinese prospect “Rock Man” Chen Lei notched his sixth-straight triumph in his young professional martial arts career by submitting Malaysian standout Saiful “The Vampire” Merican in the third round. Leaning on his superb grappling pedigree, Chen overwhelmed with his takedowns and sustained sturdy top control on the canvas.
Jomary Torres of the Philippines overcame insurmountable odds to mark the first blemish in the professional record of Thai martial arts superstar Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige. Torres had to endure the initial onslaught from Ishige, who wasted no time in taking her Filipina opponent to the ground, nearly scoring a submission finish via armbar. In the second round, Torres pulled off a gutsy rally, wobbling Ishige with lashing right hands.
Leandro “Brodinho” Issa of Brazil made a triumphant return to ONE Championship by stopping Finnish martial artist Toni “Dynamite” Tauru inside of two rounds. Carrying his dominant momentum from the first round to the second, Issa staggered the former world title challenger with a left hook-right straight combination and drove him to the mat with a high-impact slam.
Magomed Idrisov of Russia kept his unblemished professional record intact at the expense of Herbert “The Blaze” Burns of Brazil, defeating the ONE Championship veteran in his promotional debut. Idrisov made sure to leave a lasting impression in his first outing under the ONE Championship banner, connecting on crisp combinations in the stand-up trade, while denying all of Burns’ takedown attempts.
Marcin Prachnio of Poland continued his winning roll inside the ONE Championship cage as he thwarted Brazilian submission specialist Gilberto “Giba” Galvao via first-round knockout. Prachnio, who had to brush off a hard overhand left from Galvao in the opening moments of the first frame, was able to sneak in a clean left straight to the chin of his opponent.
A tactical three-round middleweight bout served as the curtain-raiser contest for ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS as Leandro Ataides of Brazil collided with Polish combatant Michal Pasternak in a battle of former world title contenders. With both men seeking to vie for gold once more, Ataides and Pasternak employed efficient strategies from bell to bell.
Complete results for “ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS”
- ONE Bantamweight World Championship bout: Bibiano Fernandes defeats Andrew Leone by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:47 minutes of round 1
- ONE Flyweight World Championship bout: Adriano Moraes defeats Kairat Akhmetov by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds
- Lightweight bout: Timofey Nastyukhin defeats Koji Ando by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
- Catchweight bout: Shannon Wiratchai defeats Rajinder Singh Meena by Knockout at 0:29 minutes of round 1
- Strawweight bout: Hayato Suzuki defeats Joshua Pacio by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:17 minutes of round 1
- Featherweight bout: Kotetsu Boku defeats Eric Kelly by TKO (Strikes) at 3:27 minutes of round 3
- Bantamweight bout: Chen Lei defeats Saiful Merican by Submission (Armbar) at 3:58 minutes of round 3
- Atomweight bout: Jomary Torres defeats Rika Ishige by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:58 minutes of round 2
- Bantamweight bout: Leandro Issa defeats Toni Tauru by TKO (Strikes) at 1:36 minutes of round 2
- Featherweight bout: Magomed Idrisov defeats Herbert Burns by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
- Middleweight bout: Marcin Prachnio defeats Gilberto Galvao by Knockout at 1:23 minutes of round 1
- Middleweight bout: Leandro Ataides defeats Michal Pasternak by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds