ONE Championship: Top Martial Artists for 2017
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While all ONE Championship athletes go out and give their all inside the cage, there are just a handful who have shown the true championship quality over the past twelve months.
These competitors have gone above and beyond their personal limits, delighting fans with spectacular performances.
Moreover, these martial artists have captured the imaginations of fans in their home countries and fans from all over the world.
Here are the top five martial artists who left an indelible mark on the ONE Championship stage this 2017.
5. Aung La N Sang
Aung La N Sang is Myanmar’s most successful athlete in history, whose constricting style has earned him the moniker of “The Burmese Python” as he owns 12 victories by way of submission.
After starting his 2017 on a sour note by losing the first world title bout of his career on Jan. 14 at ONE: QUEST FOR POWER in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aung La N Sang redeemed himself by stunning former undefeated champion Vitaly Bigdash of Russia in a highly-anticipated rematch to be crowned the new ONE Middleweight World Champion at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION in Yangon, Myanmar on Jun. 30.
4. Christian Lee
Christian “The Warrior” Lee, the younger brother of reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, began his professional career on an absolute tear, railing off five straight victories by thrilling finish.
Lee has impressed fans with his ability to seek out stoppage wins over top-caliber opponents in 2017.
After steamrolling Chinese stalwart Wan Jan Ping at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY in Manila, Philippines on April 21, Lee toppled fellow top featherweight Keanu Subba of Malaysia in his most recent bout, winning by third-round submission in a competitive contest at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Aug. 18.
3. Kevin Belingon
Representing the famed Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is one of the country’s most talented martial artists with a professional record of 16-5.
Belingon is known as a fierce competitor with the ability to finish opponents in a variety of methods as the 29-year old Wushu practitioner owns seven huge knockouts on his resume and is considered as one of the most feared strikers in ONE Championship’s deep bantamweight division.
Since losing to reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes in Jan. 2016, Belingon has barged through his top rivals with a slew of fearsome striking performances and showcased his incredible punching power.
2. Alex Silva
Alex “Little Rock” Silva just wrapped up a banner year in ONE Championship as the 35-year-old Brazilian submission wizard brilliantly defeated a pair of top contenders and then outclassed previously-undefeated titleholder Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito to clinch the ONE Strawweight World Championship.
Following his third-round submission of Filipino journeyman Roy Doliguez at ONE: THRONE OF TIGERS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb. 10, Alex “Little Rock” Silva displayed his elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills on another elite Japanese martial artist.
1. Martin Nguyen
Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Sydney, Australia is a highly-skilled finisher and one of the most talented martial artists in the world today.
Sporting a 10-1 professional record, Nguyen’s all-around skill set allows him to compete at the highest level of competition.
2017 had been a remarkable year for Nguyen as he captured two coveted world titles. Nguyen stepped into the ONE Championship cage on Aug. 18 at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, notching his first gold under the ONE Championship banner when he stopped former undefeated featherweight champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov to claim the ONE Featherweight World Championship.
Nguyen wrote his name in history books as the first man to hold two world titles simultaneously in ONE Championship by knocking out beloved Filipino martial arts superstar Eduard “Landslide” Folayang to bring home the ONE Lightweight World Championship in the main event of ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD in Manila, Philippines on Nov. 10.