ONE Championship is about to unleash an assortment of world-class athletes who are always motivated to get a highlight reel finish. Back in Macao for the second time, ONE: KINGS AND CONQUERORS takes place on Saturday, 5 August, at The Cotai Arena.
The main event features Bibiano Fernandes defending his ONE Bantamweight World Championship against Andrew Leone, while the co-main event pits ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov against interim titleholder Adriano Moraes in an epic rematch.
This card is loaded with athletes who are looking to become the next title challengers in their respective weight classes, and they know the best way to do that is through exciting finishes.
Here are 11 unforgettable finishes from the kings and conquerors who will be competing in Macao.
Bibiano Fernandes Flattening Toni Tauru At ONE: KINGDOM OF WARRIORS
Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes proved to be the explosive one when he met Finnish grappler Toni “Dynamite” Tauru at ONE: KINGDOM OF WARRIORS in July 2015. In the third round of their title match, the two took their time establishing range. But after 45 seconds, Fernandes started throwing some heavy shots.
The Brazilian then went low for a takedown, but immediately popped up with a right uppercut, left hook, right cross combination that dropped his opponent flat on the mat. The referee called the bout, and the “The Flash” began his victory dance as he celebrated his first-ever TKO in ONE Championship.
Adriano Moraes’ Comeback Submission At ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS
When Adriano Moraes lost the flyweight championship in a hotly-contested split decision to undefeated grappling juggernaut Kairat Akhmetov, it forced him to begin his road to redemption. The first stop was in Yangon, when he collided with Filipino knockout artist Eugene Toquero in March 2016.
Despite suffering two near-knockouts early in the first round, courtesy of some devastating Toquero knees, the wobbly Brazilian recovered enough to rush in for a takedown. There, he put his BJJ black belt expertise to good use, and sensationally submitted the Filipino via D’arce choke with only seven seconds remaining in the stanza.
Kotetsu Boku’s Title-Clinching KO At ONE: RISE OF KINGS
Kotetsu “No Face” Boku did not have an easy introduction to ONE Championship. The Japanese warrior entered the promotion with a shot at the inaugural ONE Lightweight World Championship, but was coming up against Zorobabel Moreira, who had been finishing everyone in his path.
In the third round, as both athletes started throwing absolute haymakers, it was Boku who countered with a right cross that dazed his opponent. “Zoro” staggered against the cage, using the fence to keep himself upright as the Japanese warrior attacked the body and head.
The referee had no choice but to stop the fight just as Moreira fell to the ground. It was Boku’s most impressive finish, and it deservedly won him championship gold.
Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai’s One Punch At ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM
Shannon Wiratchai had been stating his case for a shot at the lightweight belt, and he only strengthened his campaign at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM earlier this March. Wiratchai was coming up against Malaysian-based Filipino Richard Corminal, with the bout taking place in front of his hometown crowd in Bangkok, Thailand.
Despite the match only being three and a half minutes in length, he did not disappoint. It was a hotly-contested affair that almost saw the hometown hero get knocked out. Fortunately, Wiratchai found his calm, and attacked his rival with an innovative and pinpoint attack. After dropping Corminal briefly, he missed with a flying knee, but Thai immediately followed up with a right cross that sent Corminal to the canvas.
Timofey Nastyukhin’s 6-Second Blitz Of Rob Lisita At ONE: KINGDOM OF CHAMPIONS
After a tough submission loss in 2015, Timofey Nastyukhin was determined to regain some momentum, and he accomplished just that in May 2016. The Russian was up against Australian slugger Rob Lisita at ONE: KINGDOM OF CHAMPIONS, and he made headlines around the world with what followed.
The bout lasted just 6 seconds, as Nastyukhin threw a straight cross, absorbed a leg kick, and dropped Lisita cold with a left hook. With that sensational performance, he tied the record for fastest knockout in ONE history.
Koji Ando Tapping Out Rafael Nunes At ONE: WAR OF DRAGONS
Japanese lightweight Koji “The Commander” Ando was making his ONE Championship debut at ONE: WAR OF DRAGONS in July 2014, but he did not have an easy task in front of him. After all, he was coming up against previously-unbeaten submission specialist and fellow newcomer Rafael “Indio” Nunes.
Ando took the center of the cage during a brief feeling out period, and that was where Nunes impatiently lunged for a single-leg takedown. “The Commander” had it well-scouted, however, as he stuffed it and wrapped his free leg around Nunes’ back.
He also snuck in a deep rear-naked choke, which gave the Brazilian no choice but to tap out. That victory turned out to be Ando’s first step towards a title shot for the ONE Lightweight World Championship.
Saiful Merican’s Relentless Striking At ONE: TIGERS OF ASIA
After engaging in a ground battle where he lost via armbar against multi-time Lumpinee World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, fellow Muay Thai specialist Saiful “The Vampire” Merican returned to his roots in his next match.
It proved to be a wise move. At ONE: TIGERS OF ASIA in October 2015, he met Melvin Yeoh, and displayed his top-notch striking all throughout the opening stanza. When the second frame began, Merican went right back to work. A minute into the round, Merican backed up his opposition with blistering hooks, crosses, and elbows, eventually crumpling him with a pair of left hooks before finishing the downed Yeoh with rapid-fire punches.
Rob Lisita’s 28-Second Debut At ONE: RISE OF HEROES
Lisita may have fallen on some hard times as of late, but every time he steps into the cage, fireworks ensue – he appears in three entries on this list. In his ONE debut back in May 2014, Lisita faced Yusuke Kawanago in a rematch of their bout two years prior, where the Aussie fell on the wrong side of a decision.
This time, however, the judges would not be needed. Lisita was in total headhunting mode, as he stalked ahead with punches right from the opening bell. After a clinch exchange, Kawanago rushed forward with a left knee, but ran into the Aussie’s left hand instead. The Japanese athlete fell instantly, and Lisita immediately followed up with ground strikes. The “Ruthless” debut lasted just 28 seconds.
Eric Kelly’s Bonus-Winning Submission At ONE: WAR OF DRAGONS
After a successful promotional debut, Lisita scored the main event slot opposite Eric Kelly at ONE: WAR OF DRAGONS in July 2014. The match lived up to its top billing, as the two excited the crowd in the standup, on the ground, and with thrilling back-and-forth action.
Whenever it looked like the Aussie had the edge, Kelly turned the tide. The pendulum of momentum kept swinging, until one pivotal moment when the Filipino escaped Lisita’s rear-naked choke attempt. Kelly dropped strikes from half guard, maintained top position when an exhausted Lisita attempted to sprawl, and finally secured a match-ending rear-naked choke late in the second round.
With that win, Kelly became the first-ever – and only one of two – recipients of the US$50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.
Leandro Ataides’ Sensational Flying Knee At ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION
Leandro Ataides was desperate heading into his Manila bout against Egypt’s Mohamed Ali at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION last December. Having lost three in a row for the first time in his career, Ataides needed to make a statement, and that he did.
Though Ali stunned the Brazilian in the second round, Ataides recovered quickly, and rocked his Egyptian opponent with an overhand right. From there, the five-time BJJ world champion strategically peppered Ali with some well-timed shots, backed him against the fence, and with six seconds left in the round, launched into the air and crumpled Ali with a perfectly-placed flying knee. It would win the Knockout of the Year award for 2016.
Rika Ishige’s Knockout Debut At ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM
Before Rika Ishige made her professional and promotional debut in March 2016, she could not have imagined what a huge star she would become in just one year. Fighting in front of her countrymen in Bangkok, the Thai took on Malaysia’s Audreylaura Boniface, and made a thrilling start to her career.
Although it was Boniface who took matters to the ground with a takedown, Ishige was unfazed, and in fact became the aggressor. She swept Boniface, and even threatened with armbar submissions before achieving the mount position. Once there, it was all “Tinydoll”, as Ishige rained strikes relentlessly to earn the first-round TKO victory.