ONE Championship just wrapped up another historic night in Manila, Philippines.
Last Friday, 20 April, the promotion held its latest spectacle ONE: HEROES OF HONOR at the Mall Of Asia Arena, and the fans in attendance witnessed a an unforgettable night of the world’s most exciting martial arts action.
What’s more, Filipino heroes won some key match-ups in their divisions, several superstar World Champion strikers made their debuts in ONE Super Series, and the ONE ring was used for the very first time.
Of all the amazing highlights, here are five that topped the night.
Kevin Belingon Scores Yet Another First-Round TKO
There wasn’t a more impressive performance on 20 April than Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon‘s.
The Filipino wushu hero brought a four-bout win streak into his main event clash with Bali MMA’s Andrew Leone, whose black belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu and collegiate wrestling expertise was supposed to be a stylistic nightmare for the Team Lakay veteran.
On this night, however, Belingon proved to be not only the better striker, but also the better grappler. He overwhelmed Leone with his fists early on, proceeded to dominate the Pan-Asian Grappling Champion on the ground, and then delivered one of the most powerful spinning wushu sidekicks ever seen, which sent the Bali MMA co-owner flying into a corner. The finishing sequence practically looked like it came out of a video game.
Belingon has demolished his past five opponents, and has made it look relatively effortless. Now, he has been granted his rematch with ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, and might pose the biggest threat the Brazilian kingpin has ever faced.
The Surgical Precision Of “The Doctor”
Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan, long considered one of the greatest kickboxers in the world, has finally arrived in ONE, and he set up his office in the middle of the Mall Of Asia Arena last Friday.
The two-time K-1 World Max World Champion, competing as part of ONE Super Series, clashed with two-division Lion Fight World Champion “Smokin” Jo Nattawut in the co-main event, and bested the well-respected Thai through three action-filled rounds.
Petrosyan demonstrated uncharacteristic forward-pressing aggression as he walked Nattawut down, limited the movement of his Thai counterpart, and went on the offensive.
“The Doctor” brilliantly showcased his rock solid boxing, where he mixed up his punching combinations to attack both the head and the body. Also, he constantly landed pinpoint strikes, effortlessly cut angles, utilized his masterful head movement, and caught Nattawut’s fierce kicks before retaliating with hard shots.
With that performance, Petrosyan proved he is indeed the finest kickboxer of his generation, and could soon be the biggest star of ONE Super Series.
Return Of The “Cobra”
Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov was never short on motivation, but after losing the belt to Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen last August, it has become abundantly clear that the Dagestani has a new fire in his eyes.
Gafurov tore through surging featherweight contender Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia last Friday. He quickly grounded the Thai-based American, worked the arm-triangle choke from half guard, and smoothly moved to lock it up. Urrutia did his best to defend, but ultimately, had to go out on his shield as he was put to sleep.
The Dagestani looked as menacing as ever, and has surely reminded everyone just why he was the most dominant featherweight kingpin in promotional history.
Nong-O Gaiyanghadao’s Muay Thai Master Class
Muay Thai legend Nong-O Gaiyanghadao looked as good as he has ever been in the ONE ring.
At ONE: HEROES OF HONOR, the Singapore-based Thai outclassed multi-time WBC and Rajadamnern Muay Thai World Champion Fabio Pinca with an extraordinary display of phenomenal footwork, terrific balance, and a dynamic arsenal of kicks.
In fact, Gaiyanghadao’s kicking mastery kept the Frenchman guessing all night. The Thai constantly landed a variety of switch kicks, body kicks, leg kicks, and double kicks. This also allowed him to effectively utilize a plethora of sweeps.
For instance, just a minute into the ONE Super Series Muay Thai bout, the Thai faked a roundhouse, only to step forward with his lead foot, and sweep the Frenchman’s rear leg out from under him.
Gaiyanghadao was impressive from start to finish, and it is clear the five-division Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai World Champion still has what it takes to compete against the world’s best.
Gina Iniong’s Dominance Against Jenny Huang
Belingon silenced his detractors with a resounding main event victory, but earlier in the night on the preliminary card, his Lakay teammate Gina “Conviction” Iniong had given a preview of what to come in a similar stylistic match-up.
The Filipina atomweight also met a former world title challenger and ground specialist in Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang, and proceeded to both out-strike and out-grapple her adversary en route to victory.
Iniong repeatedly tagged her opponent with punches and kicks, and even dropped her in the second round. However, what was most surprising was “Conviction” brought the match to the ground in the latter half of the contest, and was able to control Huang. She constantly fired off ground strikes at “Lady GoGo,” and even threatened with armbar attempts.
Despite Huang’s black belt judo credentials and Brazilian jiu-jitsu savvy, the wushu warrior was never in any danger. If anything, Iniong was putting her opponent in danger, and this is just further proof that Filipino grappling is reaching world-class levels.