A hero’s legacy was made immortal on Friday, 24 November, while others laid the foundation for their own growing legends.
At ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT, ONE Championship returned to its birthplace at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and showcased a slew of talented athletes who were eager to prove themselves on the global stage.
The main event saw ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren compete for the last time, and he made a lasting impression with the best performance of his eight-year professional career.
Not to be outdone, there were other competitors who created some incredible memories. Here are the top four highlights of ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT.
#1 Ben Askren’s Final Battle Ends In A Masterpiece
This could not have been written any better.
ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren faced what was supposed to be the stiffest challenge of his legendary career in former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki. But within a minute, he demolished his teammate and fellow legend.
Within seconds of the opening bell, Aoki jumped and pulled guard, perhaps trying to set up one of his famed flying submissions. Instead, Askren slammed him to the mat, delivered a few perfectly-timed punches, and secured a TKO of the Japanese superstar.
This was undoubtedly Askren’s finest work, as he earned the fastest victory of his eight-year, 19-bout professional run. It was a phenomenal way to cap off his career, as Askren leaves the sport on the highest note possible.
#2 Amir Khan Emerges As A Top Lightweight Contender
Local favorite Amir Khan may not have gotten the knockout against the shockingly tough and durable Adrian “The Hunter” Pang, but for 15 minutes, he proved why he is a top contender in the organization’s lightweight division.
In the battle between experience and youth, the 23-year-old Evolve MMA product used his speed and reach to his advantage, as he constantly moved around and strategically attacked the battle-hardened Australian.
Khan mixed up his strikes, picked his shots, and constantly stayed busy against Pang. While “The Hunter” was more than happy to engage on his feet, there were times he attempted to take the young bull down. The Singaporean, however, defended well, and kept the bout standing. It was a game plan that served him well, as he was awarded the unanimous decision victory.
The evolution of Amir Khan has simply been a sight to behold, and by defeating an incredible talent like Pang, he has proven to be one of the best martial artists in ONE’s stacked lightweight division.
#3 Singaporean Strawweights Women Warriors Make Singapore Proud
Teo overwhelmed Indian wushu champion Puja Tomar in their clash, as she lived up to her nickname and pushed the pace. “No Chill” easily tripped her opponent late in the first round, unloaded furious ground and pound from full mount, and then smoothly transitioned into a match-ending armbar with 53 seconds left in the opening frame.
An opportunity at the soon-to-be inaugurated ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship looms near for Teo, and her dance partner could very well be Ooi, her fellow compatriot.
Ooi met Cambodian kun khmer champion “Pretty Punch” Vy Srey Khouch later in the evening, and although it was a little more tentative in the beginning, the local favorite would eventually find her groove.
The former Olympic swimmer took Khouch to the ground, where she landed calculated ground strikes and threatened with submissions. A tight rear-naked choke would force the Cambodian to tap with 62 seconds left in round one.
Like Teo, the “Mighty” Singaporean has her eyes on the world title belt, and continues to stake her claim for an eventual opportunity at the gold.
#4 Arnaud Lepont Returns With A Dominant BJJ Game
Arnaud “The Game” Lepont may have taken a two-year hiatus from the cage, but in his return bout with Filipino Richard “Notorious” Corminal, he proved that his skills have aged like a fine wine. Or, in his case, an expensive whiskey.
Just seconds into the opening round of their lightweight encounter, Lepont took Corminal down, and never allowed him to get back up.
The Vietnam-based Frenchman exercised patience from side control, as he methodically worked for various submissions before settling on the arm-triangle choke. He moved counterclockwise and slowly tightened his vice grip until “Notorious” tapped at 3:16 of the first round.
Lepont is extremely happy to be back with ONE, and eagerly awaits his next adventure inside the cage.