ONE Championship may have just kicked off its 2018 calendar of events, but the the organization has already made history and chronicled some highlight reel moments in its first event of the new year.
The organization staged ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE on Saturday, 20 January, at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia. It featured a main event for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title, a flyweight world title eliminator, a Grappling Super-Match, and talents who were driven to take a step closer in their respective dreams.
Not only was that a recipe for success, but it yielded a slew of moments that will not be forgotten anytime soon. Here are four phenomenal highlights of an action-filled night.
Xiong Jing Nan Captures ONE Gold
One of the most anticipated clashes over the past month has been the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title bout between China’s “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan and Singapore’s Tiffany “No Chill” Teo.
Both of them are highly skilled athletes and well-rounded, but Xiong continued to live up to the hype when she scored a TKO over the previously-undefeated Singaporean. This match had non-stop excitement, drama, and an immensely strong performance from our new world champion.
“The Panda” was tenacious from the opening bell, as she fearlessly marched forward with fire in her eyes and catapulted wild punches with authority. Every strike she threw was quick and powerful, and though her cardio was questioned beforehand, she only seemed to get stronger as the rounds wore on.
There were multiple times where it seemed like referee Olivier Coste would stop the contest, but he let everything play out. He finally intervened nearly halfway through the fourth round after a slew of alternating hooks dropped Teo to the canvas.
In victory, Xiong becomes the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion and China’s first ONE World Champion.
Even though Teo lost, she displayed so much in defeat. She showed incredible toughness, immense heart, and an innate ability to successfully scramble from bad positions and turn the tide of the match in her favor. She just was not able to fully capitalize on those favorable positions this past weekend.
Shinya Aoki Beats Marat Gafurov At His Own Game
After coming off some heartbreaking world title losses, both Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki and Marat “Cobra” Gafurov were looking to gain some momentum in the promotion’s second-ever Grappling Super-Match. It was a battle of highly regarded BJJ black belts, but no one could have predicted this result.
The two athletes played a strategic chess match against the cage for most of the contest, but things got intriguing once “Tobikan Judan” nudged his way onto the Dagestani’s back with less than three minutes remaining in the single 15-minute round.
Aoki kept the “Cobra” guessing, as he simultaneously secured a hook and clasped his arms underneath Gafurov’s chin to lock in a rear-naked choke — the same move the former ONE Featherweight World Champion has relied on to win all his matched in the promotion. For the Russian, there was no escape, and he was forced to tap.
Seeing “Cobra” submit to his trademark hold was a sight to behold, and Aoki may have never looked happier after achieving a victory.
Victorio Senduk’s Dramatic Come-From-Behind Win
After nearly six years away from the ONE cage, Indonesia’s Victorio Senduk proved he still has the skills and the drive to succeed on the global stage for martial arts.
“Indra” looked to be in trouble very early into his match with Yohan “The Ice Man” Mulia Legowo, as he was wrestled to the ground, beaten up, and nearly forced to submit. But after slipping out of a deep armbar attempt, the script was flipped.
Senduk unleashed a calm aggression, as he battered his fellow countryman with a barrage of dynamic strikes. He was so explosive, referee Yuji Shimada came close to calling the match in the waning seconds of the first round. Shimada would call the match 57 seconds into the second stanza, as “Indra” continued his onslaught on the exhausted Legowo.
There are several things to admire about Senduk’s performance. For instance, he persevered through multiple early scares, kept his undefeated record in tact (now 6-0), and maintained a frantic pace that saw him throw non-stop strikes for entire minutes. He remained calm the whole time, never once showing signs of fatigue.
Rene Catalan Surging Towards World Title Contention
Rene “The Challenger” Catalan opened up the main card, and he may have opened up some eyes, too.
The two-time wushu world champion admittedly did not have the best start to his ONE career, but he has since battled back from tremendous adversity, and claimed his fourth consecutive win over a very talented athlete in China’s Peng Xue Wen.
Peng may have entered the bout as a national youth Greco-Roman champion in China, but it was the Filipino who very much appeared like the better wrestler. He controlled and out-positioned his adversary, and used his elite striking to devastating effect.
In fact, towards the end of the second round, Catalan dropped Peng with a straight right before unleashing an absolute flurry of punches to prompt a TKO.
This was Catalan’s finest effort. He has never looked better in the ONE cage.