What a historic and epic fight for both world champions Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang and Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen when the latter knocked out heavy crowd favorite Folayang of Team Lakay in the second round of the evening’s main event at a once again jampacked Mall of Asia Arena.
Considered as an underdog, Nguyen who trained as much or even more as all the other athletes in the fight card landed a well-timed signature right hand counter hook as Folayang attempted a spinning back fist, according to the match report.
Reaping the victory of his main goal, Nguyen now has both ONE Featherweight World Championship and ONE Lightweight World Championship titles in his possession and yes, two very shiny belts to be proud of.
At the post-fight press conference, Nguyen emerged in the press room all smiles with his belts and even invited his precious coaching team with him on the interview table. Feeling euphoric over his epic win, Nguyen shared, "I think coming into the fight my main objective was a TKO or a submission. Eduard, I still love you like a brother, I hope you're fine and I hope you come back stronger. I'm still your number one fan."
I noticed that right after knocking out Folayang, a very concerned Nguyen stayed beside with half unconcious Eduard for a few minutes until the champ slowly stood up and went back to his corner. Now that's also a clear sign of respect for a fellow athlete.
And here are the results of the rest of the exciting fights of ONE: Legends of the World:
Peng Xue Wen collided with Phat Soda in the curtain-raiser for the event. Peng, a National Youth Greco Wrestling Champion, left a lasting impression in his maiden trip to the ONE Championship cage by scoring a knockout victory over Soda with a high-impact slam in the first round.
Strawweight bout: Peng Xue Wen defeats Phat Soda by Knockout (KO) at 2:15 minutes of round 1.
Xie Chao made his trip to Manila a memorable one by picking up his second-straight win in ONE Championship at the expense of Malaysia’s Kelvin Ong. Xie easily staggered Ong with a hard knee, giving him the leverage to convert a takedown. Employing sturdy top control, Xie drilled Ong with crisp elbows to get the stoppage in the opening stanza of the featherweight showdown.
Featherweight bout: Xie Chao defeats Kelvin Ong by TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) at 1:48 minutes of round 1
Joshua “The Passion” Pacio emerged victorious against veteran martial artist Roy “The Dominator” Doliguez by notching a highlight-reel knockout in the second round. The young Team Lakay standout exhibited stellar form from the get-go, wearing down his fellow Filipino opponent with impeccable grappling and heavy high kicks. Hungry to place himself back on the winning track, Pacio put the finishing touches in the second frame, where he unleashed a well-timed spinning back-fist that sent Doliguez crashing down to the canvas.
Strawweight bout: Joshua Pacio defeats Roy Doliguez by Knockout (KO) at 0:38 minutes of round 2
Gina “The Conviction” Iniong extended her winning streak inside the ONE Championship cage with an outstanding second-round finish of Indonesia’s Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol. With a diverse striking arsenal, Iniong unloaded her signature right hand on multiple occasions, finding the mark. In the second frame, Iniong found an opening to take Gaol down to the mat. Applying a crucifix, Iniong delivered a flurry of ground punches to force the referee to step in and call a halt to the contest.
Women’s atomweight bout: Gina Iniong defeats Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol by TKO (Strikes) at 2:12 minutes of round 2
“The Ghost” Zhao Zhi Kang made an astounding statement in his first assignment as a ONE Championship competitor, submitting Cambodian standout Thai Rithy in the first round. With a game plan to take matters to the ground, Zhao got the job done by fastening a rear-naked choke to force the tap from Rithy.
Featherweight bout: Zhao Zhi Kang defeats Thai Rithy by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:31 minutes of round 1
Former world title contender Reece “Lightning” McLaren found a new home at flyweight as he pulled off a successful submission victory by defeating flyweight mainstay Anatpong Bunrad. Debuting effortlessly in his new weight class, McLaren showcased his fluid grappling skills and solid striking.
With a mere eight seconds remaining in the first round, McLaren caught Bunrad in an anaconda choke and transitioned into a D’arce choke to force the tap.
Flyweight bout: Reece McLaren defeats Anatpong Bunrad by Submission (D’arce Choke) at 4:52 minutes of round 1
Japanese prospect Hayato Suzuki bowed down for the very first time in his professional career as he yielded to Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion black belt Alex “Little Rock” Silva. Silva spun a web of crafty grappling to overwhelm Suzuki as the Brazilian was able to get the submission finish in the first round, making Suzuki tap from an armbar.
Strawweight bout: Alex Silva defeats Hayato Suzuki by Submission (Armbar) at 1:22 minutes of round 1
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon captured another sensational victory in front of a jubilant hometown crowd by routing South Korean-American dynamo Kevin “Oldboy” Chung, solidifying his position as a top contender in the stacked bantamweight division. Belingon effortlessly dictated the pace in the stand-up, where his opponent was at a stylistic disadvantage.
Chung tried to change the complexion of the match by resorting to his superb grappling skills, but Belingon’s defense against submission attempts was enough to steer him to a unanimous decision triumph after maximizing their three rounds.
Bantamweight bout: Kevin Belingon defeats Kevin Chung by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
Considered as the evening's co-main event, Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes remained the undisputed king of ONE Championship’s flyweight bracket, denying Danny Kingad’s bid to become a world champion by submitting the Filipino talent with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Moraes put on a masterful performance, pacifying Kingad’s striking advantage in the early going as the Brazilian grappling expert utilized his high-level ground game.
Moraes executed a forceful transition into a rear-naked choke that left Kingad no choice but to submit in the final seconds of the round to retain his ONE Flyweight World Championship.
During the post-fight press conference, Moraes stated, ”This night was amazing for me. It was a tough fight against Danny Kingad. He has a big future ahead of him, but now it's my time. This is my house, this is my belt, and this is my class.”
On his part, Danny Kingad humbly learned from his defeat from a world class defending champion and realized it is not yet his time for a world title. "I will go back to the gym and train even harder. My time will come."
Beside Adriano during the interview, I was able to ask Lala, the charming and lovely wife of Moraes, how she felt after his win and how it is to have a champion husband?
"I am happy for his win. He works and trains very hard. He is a good husband. Always gives me what I need. My family loves him more than me." She also adds, "We love your country. We love the Philippines, it is our first time here and we love the people who have been very nice and friendly."
Thank you for the kind words, Lala. Enjoy your trip to Palawan! Surely, you and Adriano will both love your stay there.
ONE Flyweight World Championship bout: Adriano Moraes defeats Danny Kingad by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:45 minutes of round 1
Folayang was unable to join Nguyen when referee Olivier Coste declared Martin as the victor. Nguyen immediately went to and gave Eduard a tight congratulatory embrace and shook the hands of everyone at Team Lakay.
That was a very emotional moment for both champions that the crowd cheered on and acknowledged though many were still shocked and in denial that Folayang got defeated resulting to a loss of his hard-earned title.
“This is a special place for me. Last year, I came in and won Fight of the Night, now it's possibly the Knockout of the Night," declares Nguyen.
Aside from thanking his coaching staff and everyone else who came in to watch the fights, Martin dearly thanked his wife Brooke who's with their three kids back abroad.
Asked of his potential upcoming fights now that he is a two division title holder, Nguyen also looks forward to having fights in Japan, in his home base in Australia or his birth land of Vietnam.
Congratulations Martin enjoy your victory and see you back again here in Manila. Congratulations to all triumphant warriors. We wish and hope all the very best to the rest of the athletes who gave out their best fights.
Kudos to ONE Championship for another successful staging of an epic asian mixed martial arts. ONE: Legends of the World presented unique and world class fights that will be remembered and learned a lot from.
See you all again on January 2018!