This past weekend, the heroes of ONE Championship put their warrior spirit on full display.
On 29 June, the promotion hosted its latest blockbuster, ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR, at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium, and our heroes lived up to the event’s name.
There were incredible finishes, jaw-dropping comebacks, and a historic main event that exemplified the true meaning of martial arts.
Here are just four of the most extraordinary highlights from an unbelievable night in Yangon, Myanmar.
#1 The Greatest Bout In ONE History
Aung La N Sang’s first defense of the ONE Middleweight World Championship could very well go down as one of the best — and most entertaining — contests in mixed martial arts history.
The 24-minute affair featured non-stop action starring a pair of tough, skilled, and tenacious competitors who never backed down for a moment.
Every single shot “The Burmese Python” launched at his Japanese rival was with absolute power. He unloaded diverse strikes that had the challenger reeling throughout the bout.
Ken Hasegawa, however, did an excellent job of getting close to the World Champion to fire off solid boxing combinations and stiff counterstrikes, which often stopped the titleholder in his tracks.
Besides the thrilling stand-up, there were also intense grappling exchanges with both men scrambling for superior position.
In the end, however, Aung La N Sang showed the heart of a champion, and the true spirit of a warrior. He was the fresher of the two combatants, and with his countrymen rallying behind him, he put away Hasegawa with a minute and 30 seconds remaining in the bout. An uppercut to the Japanese challenger’s jaw sealed the deal.
Aung La N Sang retained the belt in epic fashion, but Hasegawa brought out the best in the two-division ONE World Champion. It was truly the best bout in ONE history.
#2 Leandro Issa’s Comeback Finish
Leandro “Brodinho” Issa has looked absolutely phenomenal ever since he returned to ONE last year.
The Brazilian soundly defeated a pair of former ONE Bantamweight World Title challengers in Toni Tauru and Dae Hwan Kim in 2017.
Then, this past weekend in Yangon, he extended his win streak to three after putting debuting knockout artist Roman “Boom” Alvarez to sleep with an arm triangle choke.
It was not easy, however. Merely 20 seconds into the contest, the Guam-based bantamweight floored Issa with a heavy left hook, followed by a lunging left cross. But when “Boom” followed him to the ground, Issa used his world-class grappling and showed why he is a BJJ World Champion.
“Brodinho” instinctively latched onto Alvarez, drove him to the ground, masterfully worked for an arm-triangle, and tightened the hold until he fell asleep. The whole match took all of 86 seconds.
Not only did it mark Issa’s third consecutive win, but it was a victory that showed his ability to overcome adversity and finish the job in the blink of an eye. That effort could very well have pushed him into World Title contention.
#3 Chen Lei’s Thrilling TKO
Issa was not the only bantamweight to stage a comeback victory on Friday night.
“Rock Man” Chen Lei continued his climb up the ranks, but his spotless record was put into jeopardy early in his bout with Ahmad Qais Jasoor.
Jasoor, the first Afghan to compete in ONE, fearlessly boxed with the unbeaten Chinese athlete midway through the first round. He connected with an array of punches before dropping “Rock Man” with a picture-perfect cross.
Fortunately for Chen, he was able to regain his composure, while his opponent began tiring out.
In the second round, he capitalized on Jasoor’s exhaustion by taking him to the canvas and spending the rest of the stanza dropping ground strikes. He forced the stoppage just 97 seconds into the third frame.
Although he entered deep waters in the first round, Chen weathered the storm, and he left the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium with another stoppage win and his perfect record still intact.
#4 Elliot Compton’s Masterful Striking Display
Every single ONE Super Series bout has been nothing short of stellar, but Elliot “The Dragon” Compton set the standard for an unforgettable night of action in Yangon.
The Australian looked crisp and sharp in the night’s opening clash. He remained active, and constantly threw punches, kicks, and knees at his adversary, Matthew “Sobek” Semper.
Evidently, the jab proved to be his most effective weapon, as he used it to knock down the Phuket-based American twice in the contest.
Compton was much quicker and more energized than Semper, and he did now allow his power-punching opposition get close enough to connect with his monstrous strikes. It was a marvelous showing, and it truly started the night off in perfect fashion.