Next weekend, ONE Championship will be holding its biggest event yet. On Saturday, 24 March, the promotion will stage a historic spectacle, ONE: IRON WILL at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
The main event features ONE Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, going up against ONE Bantamweight World Champion, Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, for the Brazilian’s belt.
If Nguyen is victorious, he will become history’s first-ever three-division World Champion in the cage. But if Fernandes retains his belt, he would extend his record for most world title defenses to eight.
Beyond that, the main card is stacked with plenty of matches featuring some of the best knockout artists on the planet. Here are just five incredible knockouts from the warriors competing at the show.
Fernandes’ First ONE KO
ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes put his title, and undefeated promotional run, on the line against Finland’s Toni “Dynamite” Tauru at ONE: KINGDOM OF WARRIORS in July 2015.
“The Flash” dominated his opponent early on, but Tauru was able to neutralize his attacks by hooking the Brazilian’s leg while he was on his back. Fernandes was able to get back to his feet though, then soon grounded his Finnish rival once again, remaining in side control for the rest of the opening stanza. It would be much of the same in the second round, as Fernandes took down Tauru early, and never let him back to his feet.
However, everything changed in the third frame. With Tauru already cautious of the champ’s takedowns, “The Flash” opted to throw haymakers instead. A powerful punch combination then sent the Finn flat on his back merely a minute into the round. Fernandes did not even bother following up his attack, knowing full well that it was enough to stop the match.
Fernandes will have his biggest test yet against Nguyen, and a win would cement his status as the greatest bantamweight martial artist of all-time.
Nguyen’s History-Making Overhand Right
Last November, in Manila, Philippines, ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD set the stage for a legend to be born. ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen challenged ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang for the Filipino’s belt, and the outcome left the world in shock.
Both competitors knew how high the stakes were, so they were understandably tentative to start the bout. In fact, it took a solid minute before the first kick was thrown by Folayang. The SEA Games wushu gold medalist continued to pressure Nguyen with powerful kicks throughout the stanza.
Early in the second frame, Folayang rocked Nguyen with a head kick after dodging a spinning back fist. Despite the home crowd cheering “Landslide” on, Nguyen recovered from his predicament, and established himself in the middle of the cage. As Folayang went for another spinning back kick, “The Situ-Asian” masterfully countered with his signature overhand right, which instantly dropped the Filipino hero.
The historic win made Nguyen the promotion’s first-ever two-division ONE World Champion. Next weekend, he could complete the hat trick by taking Bibiano Fernandes’ ONE Bantamweight World Title.
“The Panther” Pounces On His Prey
In November 2015, Alain “The Panther” Ngalani proved yet again why he is one of the most explosive knockout artists in the organization. The four-time Muay Thai and kickboxing world champion faced off against Ukraine’s Igor Subora in a heavyweight tilt at ONE: PRIDE OF LIONS, and demonstrated his masterful striking.
Ngalani was clearly not intimidated by Subora’s taller stature, as he unleashed powerful kicks at his opponent to deny him any chance of setting up his own offense. One of those kicks hit the Ukrainian in the body, which caused him to backpedal immediately.
As “The Panther” closed in with knees and a barrage of punches, Subora tried to take the bout to the ground. The plan backfired, however. Ngalani evaded, and unloaded massive punches at his rival. A huge right hook rocked Subora, and” The Panther” pounced on his prey with an avalanche of fists until the referee stopped the bout just 69 seconds into the contest.
On Saturday, Ngalani begins the road back to a rematch with newly-crowned light heavyweight world champion Aung La N Sang. He is scheduled to make his light heavyweight debut against Mongolia’s Ariunbold Tur-Ochir
The Power Of Dejdamrong’s Muay Thai
Two world-class strikers clashed at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS in August, as Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke’s Muay Thai pedigree went up against Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan’s wushu and kickboxing prowess.
It was Catalan who looked to have control early, shooting for a takedown, and lifting the three-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai world champion on his shoulder before dropping him for a slam. He could not capitalize, as Amnuaysirichoke locked his arm in a crucifix. However, the Filipino countered with a crucifix of his own.
Catalan had Amnuaysirichoke in trouble when he got his back momentarily, but the Muay Thai legend managed to get back to his feet. “The Ilonggo” would close the round with a couple more takedowns, and a heel hook attempt.
Amnuaysirichoke, however, made the necessary adjustments in between rounds, and flipped the script in the second stanza. A Catalan takedown attempt was countered into a Muay Thai clinch, where the Thai introduced the Filipino to his devastating knees and elbows. Catalan dropped to his knees, which prompted the referee to stop the contest.
Next weekend, at ONE: IRON WILL, Amnuaysirichoke will test his legendary stand-up against another Filipino striker in Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado.
Kongsrichai’s Thunderous Ground And Pound
Rising Thai hero Kritsada “Dream Man” Kongsrichai looked to build some momentum as he faced off against Filipino warrior Rabin “The Rock” Catalan at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD last December.
Kongsrichai, a multi-time Thai national wrestling champion, has a tendency to finish bouts quickly. In fact, all five of his previous victories ended in the first round. He was determined to add another one to his highlight reel.
“Dream Man” played the aggressor early on, and stood toe-to-toe with the Filipino striker. Catalan tried to take down his opponent after evading a spinning back elbow, but Kongsrichai reminded him of his wrestling forte by reversing it for a takedown of his own.
Instead of taking advantage of the ground game, the Thai stood up, and invited Catalan to get back on his feet. “The Rock” would later go for another takedown, but Kongrsrichai managed to defend it, and take Catalan down yet again. From there, “Dream Man” smoothly transitioned to full mount, where he rained elbows down on the Filipino until he submitted to the strikes.
The Thai gets another Catalan at ONE: IRON WILL. This time, it will be wushu and Muay Thai world champion, Robin.
Bangkok | 24 March | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onewill18