ONE Championship always creates special memories in Yangon, Myanmar.
When Asia’s most exciting martial arts spectacle returns to the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium on Friday, 30 June with ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION, more unforgettable moments will undoubtedly be captured.
Since ONE held its first show in the country back in July 2015, there have been classic title bouts, exciting tournaments featuring homegrown athletes, and incredible finishes that will be on highlight reels for years to come. Of course, it is always electrifying when national hero “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang makes an appearance.
As our heroes prepare to storm back into the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium to showcase their skills, here are five of the best highlights from ONE’s previous blockbuster events in Myanmar.
#1 Aung La N Sang’s Sensational Homecoming
Any time Aung La N Sang walks the streets of Myanmar, let alone enter the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium, it is absolute pandemonium. The crowd is always in a frenzy, and the roar of the fans is simply awe-inspiring.
That raucous reception was on full display when Aung La N Sang made his triumphant return to Myanmar against Egypt’s Mohamed Ali at ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS, and “The Burmese Python’s” popularity has grown ever since.
Needless to say, when Aung La N Sang submitted Ali in the first round with a guillotine choke, the stadium erupted into raptures. Just watch the finish above with the sound turned up.
The love Myanmar has for its favorite son is a sight to behold, and will be experienced again when Aung La N Sang clashes with Vitaly Bigdash in an epic rematch for the ONE Middleweight World Championship.
#2 Bibiano Fernandes’ First-Ever Knockout
A minute into the third round, the Brazilian champion marched forward with an uppercut, left hook, and a right cross, dropping Finnish submission specialist Toni “Dynamite” Tauru to the canvas. It was Fernandes’ first, and only, knockout recorded to date.
Besides successfully defending his ONE Bantamweight World Championship that night, “The Flash” also proved that he had explosive power in his hands to match his devastating Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills.
#3 Adrian Moraes’ Comeback Victory Against Eugene Toquero
After losing the ONE Flyweight World Championship four months earlier, Brazil’s Adriano Moraes was on a mission to bounce back against the Philippines’ Eugene Toquero at ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS. He may have been the favorite, but was nearly upset by Toquero in the first round.
Despite initial success with an early takedown, Moraes was stunned by a flying knee from Toquero that sent him reeling. He was very nearly knocked out moments later by another knee, but was able to regain his composure, score another takedown, and submit Toquero with a D’arce choke for the dramatic comeback.
That win set Moraes up for a shot at the Interim ONE Flyweight World Championship five months later, which he seized with a rear-naked choke against Tilek Batyrov to wrap gold around his waist once again.
#4 Yusup Saadulaev’s Masterful Rear-Naked Choke
Yusup “Maestro” Saadulaev squared off against Australian prospect Jordan “Showtime” Lucas at ONE: STATE OF WARRIORS back in October 2016, and after four and a half minutes, it was clear that the Russian is a real force to be reckoned with in ONE’s bantamweight division.
The submission specialist completely controlled his younger foe throughout the lone stanza before going for a grand finale. He grabbed the Aussie’s neck, flipped over his opponent, and cranked Lucas’ neck with a modified version of the rear-naked choke to showcase his elite grappling game. The performance was so impressive, it ranked second in ONE’s Best Submissions of 2016.
#5 Christian Lee’s Domination Of “The Archangel”
Two bouts into his career, Christian “The Warrior” Lee was given quite the test against Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen, at the company’s second show in the country, ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS, in March 2016. Not only did Lee pass the test with flying colors, he completely overpowered the more experienced Dutch-Indonesian.
The 18-year-old Singaporean featherweight immediately dropped Engelen with a left hook 15 seconds into the bout, and it was all Lee from there. The young prospect knocked Engelen to the canvas again two minutes later with a straight left, and that is when he pounced, soon winning the match with a barrage of devastating ground and pound.