It was another night of the world’s most exciting martial arts action on Friday, 26 January, as a new World Champion was crowned, records were broken, and highlight-reel finishes were aplenty.
Needless to say, ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, was a night fans will not forget anytime soon.
Here are just five of the most dazzling highlights of the night.
#1 Geje Eustaquio Finally Claims ONE Gold
Eustaquio may have failed in his first attempt to become a world champion in 2014, but he capitalized on his second opportunity this past Friday.
Nearly three and a half years after losing to reigning flyweight titleholder Adriano Moraes in a bout for the inaugural ONE Flyweight World Championship, “Gravity” struck gold. He defeated former kingpin Akhmetov to take the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship.
Unlike their closely-contested initial encounter five months ago, Eustaquio definitively had the Kazakhstani’s number. The local hero used stellar takedown defense to stuff most of Akhmetov’s attempts, thus keeping the bout on the feet, and lighting “The Kazakh” up with the striking finesse that earned him a Philippines wushu championship.
Simply put, Eustaquio looked sensational, and he brings Team Lakay their third ONE World Championship. For the 28-year-old, it was an understandably emotional moment being awarded with the belt. He has experienced a mixed bag of results throughout the years, but has now put everything together to make his dreams come true.
#2 Sam-A Gaiyanghadao’s Muay Thai Masterclass
In ONE Championship’s first-ever Muay Thai bout, Sam-A Gaiyanghadao proved exactly why he is a living legend.
The Singapore-based Thai, who has won multiple Muay Thai world championships spread across three different weight classes, handily defeated a tough opponent in Italy’s Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri.
Lasiri is a well-accomplished young gun in the sport, having won the WBC Muay Thai Super Bantamweight World Championship. In spite of all that, Evolve MMA’s Gaiyanghadao is just on a different level.
Throughout the duration of the bout, the southpaw Gaiyanghadao blitzed the forward-moving Italian was an assortment of jabs, crosses, and devastating roundhouse kicks. In the second round, the Thai ended things by knocking Lasiri down three times in succession to earn the TKO victory.
Gaiyanghadao has always been known as an exciting competitor, and is internationally-recognized as one of the greatest Muay Thai warriors of all time. Hopefully, we will see him in the ONE cage again — be it for another Muay Thai bout, or a match under the ONE rule set.
#3 Edward Kelly’s 21-Second KO Of The Night
Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly nearly stole the entire show in Manila, and won the GoDaddy Knockout Of The Night award in the process.
The Baguio City, Philippines native wowed a roaring home crowd in the packed Mall of Asia Arena, as he spoiled the ONE return of undefeated 8-0 Cambodian Meas Meul. After taking a low kick, Kelly responded with a cross, left hook, and roundhouse kick combination to flatten the Cambodian Top Team product in spectacular fashion.
At 21 seconds flat, “The Ferocious” now owns both the fastest knockout and finish in ONE featherweight history, with the highlight-reel stoppage going viral around the world. That will surely be a tough feat to top.
#4 Jomary Torres Makes ONE Women’s History
Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres took a step up in competition when she collided with April Osenio on less than two weeks notice, but she demonstrated that she can certainly handle the pressure of competing against an elite martial artist.
Osenio started the bout strong, whipping fierce leg kicks at Torres, and even had her in a guillotine choke. After a brief scramble, Osenio then latched onto a clever armbar attempt, but “The Zamboanginian Fighter” would then turn the tables in an absolute stunner.
Showcasing tremendous strength, Torres hoisted the Team Lakay athlete off the canvas and slammed her to the ground, scoring an instant knockout to take her undefeated record to 4-0. What’s more, Torres was declared the winner at 40 seconds, giving her the fastest knockout and finish in ONE women’s history across all divisions.
#5 “The Honey Badger” Was Unleashed
Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia earned a unanimous decision victory in his promotional debut back in August, but he had his breakout performance in Manila.
The Thai-based American reached a milestone in his martial arts journey as he knocked out two-time BJJ no-gi world champion Bruno Pucci in the first round.
It was an absolutely fabulous showing for the 31-year-old Urrutia, who stifled the Brazilian’s takedown attempts at every turn, opting to keep the bout standing where he appeared to have the advantage. While “Puccibull” showed some improved striking, it was not on Urrutia’s level, who has been training Muay Thai for years at Tiger Muay Thai & MMA in Phuket, Thailand.
“The Honey Badger” relentlessly connected with powerful strikes ranging from leg kicks to body and head shots, before finally delivering a bout-ending cross-hook combination against the cage fence. Just like that, he put the entire featherweight division on notice.