Martial arts competition in the ONE Championship cage is one of the purest forms of combat today, combining prized traditional values such as honor, courage, and integrity with technical skills of the highest order.
As with all combat sports, no athlete wants to leave the decision at the hands of the judges, and these seven brave individuals have made it known that they always aim to stop their opponents within the distance.
Let’s take a look at seven of the most skilled finishers in ONE Championship.
Vitaly Bigdash Of Rostov-on-don, Russia
Undefeated ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash is the complete package. Within his fists, he possesses incredible knockout power, which has led to four highlight-reel knockouts throughout his career. Certainly not a one-dimensional athlete, Bigdash is also immensely capable on the ground, as proven by four submission victories.
Only one of Bigdash’s wins went to a decision, which gives you an idea of just how fearsome the Russian phenom really is. The man who achieved that feat? Aung La N Sang, who showed the heart of a champion to survive the Russian’s relentless attack in January.
Bigdash once again steps into the ONE Championship cage against Aung La N Sang on 30 June at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION, and this time he will definitely be looking to utilize his world-class striking and grappling skills to put the Myanmar native away.
Aung La N Sang Of Yangon, Myanmar
Myanmar’s favorite son, the “Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, has enjoyed a tremendous stint in ONE Championship. Since joining the promotion in 2014, Aung La N Sang has gone on to win four out of his last five bouts, losing only to ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash in January.
The 32-year-old cage warrior is as fearsome a finisher as they come, possessing 19 total career victories including 18 finishes. To say that Aung La N Sang has a penchant for finishing fights is a huge understatement. Out of his 19 wins, 11 have come by submission and seven by devastating knockout.
That is why when Aung La N Sang meets Bigdash once again in a rematch this June, the two fighters are expected to put on an instant classic. After all, the “Burmese Python” had taken the first bout on short notice, and with a full fight camp this time, he promises an improved performance.
Marat Gafurov Of Dagestan, Russia
Once ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov drags an opponent down into his world on the ground, there is no escape. The 32-year-old Russian is known for his overwhelming strength and technique on the ground, effortlessly using his skills to gain positional advantage over his opponents.
Russian fighters are known for their great wrestling, and Gafurov is no different. But what makes Gafurov shine brightest is when he combines his wrestling with excellent striking and black belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu .
Out of Gafurov’s 15 total victories, 11 have ended via submission. His favorite maneuver? The rear-naked choke. He has nine of those over the course of his career, including six straight – a probable world record – against ONE Championship’s top featherweights.
Angela Lee Of Singapore
ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee is the most accomplished female martial artist in the world at her age. At just 19 years old, Lee captured the title, becoming the youngest mixed martial arts world champion in history with a decision over Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi. It was a bout that would later be known as ONE Championship’s Fight of the Year for 2016.
A proven finisher, Lee has stopped seven out of eight of her fights so far, with six by submission – including a rare Twister – and one by technical knockout. Now 20 years of age, Lee’s stock has risen to superstar status, with the champion now recognized the world over.
The scariest thing about Lee is that she is still young, and continues to improve with each bout. While her grappling has always been a marvel, her striking is rapidly catching up, as shown by her bouts against Jenny Huang and two-time Muay Thai world champion Istela Nunes.
Martin Nguyen Of Sydney, Australia
28-year-old Vietnamese-Australian Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen boasts a 100 per cent finishing rate, having stopped all eight of his foes via either submission (3) or knockout (5). The fearsome featherweight is also riding a four-fight winning streak, which includes victories over some of the top contenders in his division.
What Nguyen does incredibly well is read his opponent’s movements, and then tailor his strategy mid-fight. The result is usually a clean finish that he authored with surgical precision. Since joining ONE Championship in 2014, Nguyen has been on an absolute tear, winning five out of six bouts, with his only loss being to reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov, which he took on short notice.
Nguyen also rarely likes to drag things along, with five out of his eight victories all coming in the first round.
Timofey Nastyukhin Of Russia
Top prospect Timofey Nastyukhin stormed onto the scene in 2014, when he came out of nowhere to stop the Philippines’ Eduard Folayang with a spectacular flying knee. It was a first-round victory that shocked an entire nation, and immediately put the world on notice.
Since then, Nastyukhin has gone on to stop two more opponents in equally stunning fashion: top talents Yusuke Kawanago and Rob Lisita. Even more impressively, Nastyukhin knocked Lisita out cleanly in a mere six seconds, tying the ONE Championship record for fastest finish.
Comprised of four submissions and six knockouts, all 10 of Nastyukhin’s victories have come within the distance, undoubtedly making him one of the most dangerous men to be trapped in a cage with.
Agilan Thani Of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Agilan “Alligator” Thani may not have been quite ready for his first world title shot late last month when he took on reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren, but that doesn’t mean the young Malaysian isn’t one of the deadliest finishers in the promotion.
Thani owns seven spectacular stoppage victories out of seven wins, which includes four submissions and three knockouts. The young Malaysian blazed a trail through ONE’s welterweight rankings with six straight finishes, using a combination of powerful striking and world-class wrestling to overpower his opponents.
Despite succumbing to Askren, Thani remains a certified finisher, and will definitely be one to look out for as he makes his way back to the ONE Championship cage later this year. After all, the Malaysian contender is just 21 years old, meaning he has plenty of time to keep improving and sharpening his skills.