ONE Championship is only halfway through its 2018 calendar of events, but ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER is likely to be remembered as one of the year’s most memorable shows.
Fans inside Macau’s Studio City Event Center were treated to arguably the most exciting flyweight match in the organization’s history on Saturday, 23 June, as well as a slew of incredible mixed martial arts and ONE Super Series bouts.
The event was loaded with highlight-reel finishes and career-defining moments. Here are the four biggest highlights from an action-packed Macau night.
#1 Geje Eustaquio’s Amazing World Title Victory
The epic World Champion versus World Champion main-event tilt in Macau was his chance to prove that statement.
Eustaquio was fearless against ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes. He grappled willingly with the BJJ black belt, even taking the Brazilian to the ground early in the bout to attack with ground and pound.
Down on the canvas, he showed impeccable defense, and was able to fend off a deep guillotine choke – the same hold the Brazilian used to submit him in their inaugural ONE Flyweight World Title clash in September 2014.
With confidence building, “Gravity” escaped every dangerous situation. When they were on their feet, he showed great takedown defense, and out-struck “Mikinho” with an aggressive approach.
Moraes showed the heart of a champion by coming on strong late in the bout, but it was not enough to overcome the Filipino’s efforts in the performance of a lifetime.
It was an enthralling battle that represented the true spirit of martial arts. Eustaquio earned a split decision and the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Title, but he left the Studio City Event Center with the knowledge that his friendship – and rivalry – with Moraes is sure to continue.
A rubber match between these two warriors will be high on fans’ wish lists in the years and months to come.
#2 Xiong Jing Nan Begins Her Reign With Dominance
“The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan made a decisive statement in Macau.
In her first defense of the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title, the Chinese powerhouse dominated Laura “La Gladiadora” Balin for five rounds en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
Xiong never looked threatened by the ultra-tough Argentinian challenger. She stayed calm and appeared to be fresh throughout the 25-minute contest.
She displayed her improved wrestling, showed off her powers of endurance, and was dominant in the boxing exchanges to defeat Balin in every area.
As Xiong keeps tightening up her techniques, it looks like it could become more and more difficult for other athletes to knock the strawweight queen off her throne.
#3 Li Kai Wen’s Record-Setting KO
Over the past six months, “The Underdog” Li Kai Wen has learned how to control his emotions and maintain his focus.
Interestingly, now that he maintains his composure and follows a game plan to perfection, he has become more dangerous than ever.
The explosive Chinese featherweight submitted Roel Rosauro in 43 seconds – a personal best – in February. Four months later, he broke that record in his 10-second demolition of the Philippines’ Rodian Menchavez.
Following an ambitious spinning heel kick, he rushed forward with a stiff jab-cross that moved his opponent backward. He threw another jab, and then fired an overhand right, which instantly dropped Menchavez.
“The Underdog” was ready to follow up with another blow, but he withdrew his fist upon realizing his opponent was done for the night. It was all over in just 10 seconds.
He has also proven to have both the skills and the maturity to challenge the best talents in the weight class.
#4 Jadambaa’s Dynamic Return
Narantungalag Jadambaa may not have competed for a year and a half, but he showed no signs of ring rust in his return at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER.
As promised, he showed new elements to his skill set – specifically, a revamped grappling game.
After a brief feeling-out process, the former ONE Featherweight World Champion attacked surging contender Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly with relentless takedowns, as well as heavy ground and pound.
The powerful Mongolian did not give the Team Lakay standout a moment to breathe. He constantly pressured the Filipino and never stopped looking for the finish, eventually forcing the referee to step in and stop the bout with just two seconds remaining in the second frame.
Jadambaa may be turning 43 next month, but he looked no less impressive than any of ONE’s younger athletes. In victory, he reestablished his status as a top contender in the featherweight division.