A historic event is upon us.
On Saturday, 24 March, the heroes of ONE Championship will ascend upon the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand for the promotion’s latest thriller, ONE: IRON WILL.
The historic main event features ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes making his record-extending eighth title defense against ONE Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, who will attempt to become the cage’s only three-division world champion in history.
Aside from that sizzling headlining attraction, several other incredible bouts fill out the card, some of which feature the world’s best submission wizards. Here are just five of the best submission victories from our heroes.
Fernandes Submits Leone In A Flash
Last August, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes lived up to his nickname when he defended his coveted title against Andrew Leone at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS.
Fernandes wasted no time in getting the fireworks started, as he immediately shot for a takedown right from the get-go. The two tangled, with each man trying to get the advantage over the other.
A knee to the gut by Fernandes put Leone down, and the Brazilian quickly pounced on the opportunity. As he unloaded a barrage of fists, he took Leone’s back. His flurry was so fast and furious, even he urged the referee to stop the contest.
When that did not happen, Fernandes locked in a rear-naked choke, which forced Leone to tap out at 1:47 of the opening frame. The emphatic win marked his seventh successful title defense, cementing his place as ONE’s most dominant world champion in history. He plans to extend that streak to eight against two-division ONE World Champion Martin Nguyen this coming Saturday.
Sunoto “Terminates” Rin Saroth On The Ground
Indonesian hero “The Terminator” Sunoto looked to excite his home crowd in Jakarta at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE this past January. He faced Cambodia’s Rin Saroth, and continued his reign of dominance.
Saroth used his length to his advantage early, creating distance between him and the local favorite. However, it did not take long for Sunoto to even the odds, as he slammed his adversary to the ground. The Cambodian would spend the rest of the stanza on his back, but would do well in minimizing the damage taken from “The Terminator” with his guard game.
Everything changed in the second frame though, as Sunoto did not give the Kun Khmer specialist a chance to showcase his striking skills. The Indonesian again brought him to the ground with a takedown, and soon secured side control. From there, “The Terminator” caught Saroth’s left arm, and submitted him with an Americana at 2:07 of round two.
Sunoto’s latest conquest was his second straight. Next, he meets Malaysian boxing champion Hisyam Samsudin, and will attempt to get on a three-bout win streak.
Zhao Zhi Kang Delivers On His Prediction
China’s Zhao Zhi Kang made his promotional debut at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD last November, and confidently predicted a first-round submission win against Cambodia’s Thai Rithy.
He may moonlight as a fortune teller, because that prediction came to light.
Rithy, a Kun Khmer specialist, used his striking ability to put the pressure on Zhao. That did not deter the Chinese featherweight, however, as he took down Rithy within the first minute of the contest.
Zhao’s strength made it impossible for the Cambodian to get back to his feet. Rithy was able to fend off an arm triangle, but he gave up his back while trying to defend against a ground and pound attack. That opened an opportunity for Zhao to lock in a rear-naked choke, which forced the tap at the 2:28 mark of the first round.
The Chinese warrior’s impressive victory put the division on notice, but he will immediately be put to the test when he goes up against the returning Pakistani grappling ace Waqar “Psycho” Umar at ONE: IRON WILL.
Tetsuya Yamada’s Dynamic Return
Nearly a year and a half following his promotional debut against Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, Japan’s Tetsuya Yamada looked for redemption, and succeeded in his return bout at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI last September.
Yamada competed against Kyle Rozewski in a featherweight clash, who looked to make a statement in his ONE premiere. The two exchanged kicks to open the contest, but Rozewski caught his rival’s leg, and proceeded to go for a takedown.
However, the Japanese athlete known as “MMA Fantasista” masterfully rolled through, and turned things around by getting top position, later transitioning into full mount.
Rozewski briefly managed to back to his feet, but Yamada brought him back down to the canvas, and secured full mount yet again. The American rolled in an attempt to escape, but the Japanese ZST champion took his back, and then locked in a rear-naked choke to submit him at the 1:56 mark of the first round.
For his next bout, Yamada meets Turkish juggernaut Saygid “Dagi” Guseyn Arslanaliev, in what promises to be a fast-paced lightweight clash.
Garry Tonon Makes ONE History
BJJ world champion Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki made history when the two competed in the promotion’s first-ever Grappling Super-Match at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES last May.
Contested in the ONE cage for a single 15-minute round, the two submission wizards attacked with offensive grappling finesse. Tonon immediately attempted a scissors takedown, which allowed his Japanese nemesis to take top position.
Aoki cleverly took advantage of the fact that the American is not used to competing in a cage. He maximized his top position against the fence to keep the pressure on “The Lion Killer.” At one point, Tonon used his strength to get back to his feet, but Aoki jumped on his back, locked in a body triangle, and spent minutes attempting to sink in the rear-naked choke.
Eventually, Tonon exploded out, and the two tried taking the other down from the clinch. Aoki would secure a takedown, but as “The Lion Killer” got up, he rolled to catch the Japanese athlete’s left leg to attempt one of his signature leg locks. Aoki tied his legs and tried to defend, but Tonon made a couple of adjustments to secure the match-ending heel hook.
After getting a feel for the cage, Tonon is now ready to transition to the all-encompassing world of ONE’s Global Rule Set. He will face Filipino striker Richard “Notorious” Corminal in his official debut.
Bangkok | 24 March | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onewill18