There was no shortage of excitement on the ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY preliminary card in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday, 9 March, as three bouts paved the way for an exciting night of martial arts excellence.
Malaysian favorites “Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman and Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan got the event off to a perfect start for the nation’s warriors in the Axiata Arena, and Khon Sichan made his mark for Cambodia, causing an upset in the night’s opening bout.
Muhammad Aiman Reels Off A Thrilling Victory
Topping off the prelims was an all-action bout between two of the bantamweight division’s most exciting combatants. It was always going to guarantee a ferocious pace, and it delivered.
Malaysia’s “Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman whipped the crowd into a frenzy by taking the unanimous decision win, edging out Cambodia’s Rin Saroth with his takedowns and ground attacks, following some evenly-balanced action on the feet.
With Saroth’s Kun Khmer style up against Aiman’s hustle, it promised to be interesting on the feet. ”Jungle Cat” kept busy and moving, peppering his Cambodian rival while darting in and out of range, while his opponent planted behind push kicks and heavy punches.
Aiman scored with a good double leg takedown to control much of the opening stanza with solid ground and pound, though Saroth never gave up the battle to get back standing.
In the second, the Cambodian found a home for his right hand several times after working into range behind a left teep. Aiman landed left hooks and kicks, switching stances to keep his opponent guessing. In an evenly contested round, there was another big takedown for “Jungle Cat” to make an impression in the closing seconds.
Aiman decided his best option in the final round was to try and win the bout on the ground, and he did just that with yet another emphatic takedown. After surviving a scare from the Cambodian’s ‘mouse trap’ submission, he dominated with punches and elbows, coming close to the finish as he flattened his man out in the final moments of the bout.
It was another impressive outing for the hometown hero, who elevates his record to 4-2.
Jihin Radzuan Makes An Impressive ONE Debut
India’s Puja “The Cyclone” Tomar was aiming to derail Malaysian debutante Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan in front of a partisan crowd in Kuala Lumpur, and certainly brought her best to the Axiata Arena.
However, despite a spirited performance, it was the grappling acumen of the local favorite that saw her pick up a second-round victory, managing to subdue Tomar with a hard-earned triangle choke in the second round.
Radzuan’s intentions were clear from the start, as she took her opponent down early in the first round. “The Cyclone” lived up to her moniker and pushed a hard pace, scrambling up to her feet and not letting “Shadow Cat” have it her own way. Tomar landed some good elbow strikes in the clinch, but was taken down to the mat, where a ground and pound strategy was working for Radzuan.
The Indian used the opening of the second round to take aim with hard strikes, ending up on top of Radzuan from a slip. She could not maintain her position, however, as “Shadow Cat” showcased her effective BJJ. Radzuan then attacked relentlessly for submissions, coming close with several armbar attempts before finally forcing the tap with a triangle choke.
The win at 2:23 was a good one for Radzuan, who at just 19, moved on to 2-0, much to the delight of the local fans.
Khon Sichan’s Experience Shines Through In Kickoff Bout
The kickoff bout featured a thrilling back-and-forth encounter between Cambodia’s Khon Sichan and Indonesia’s Riski “King Kong” Umar.
Sichan, a Kun Khmer specialist, used his extensive striking experience to counter Umar on the feet, and also surprised the Bali MMA product with his grappling acumen en route to taking a split decision victory after three hard rounds.
It looked like Umar’s movement would be tricky for the Cambodian to get to grips with in round one, but Sichan was patient. He waited for his opponent to reach in with his punches and kicks, before evading and countering.
A perfectly timed right sent Umar reeling to the mat, but “King Kong” recovered quickly. He took the action to the ground, where he came achingly close to finishing a triangle choke. Sichan, however, toughed it out to see the second round.
The Phnom Penh MMA competitor worked punches and low kicks to start round two, with the pace slowing a little. That suited Sichan perfectly, who waited to counter the Indonesian. As Umar attempted to force the match back to the ground, it was Sichan that ended on top, and dominated from mount and back control as he tried to end with a submission. Umar was saved by the bell, and had a chance to make a final impression in the third frame.
Following a barrage from Sichan in the second, it seemed Umar would need something special in the third to win the bout. Umar took heed and came out swinging, but again the Cambodian’s composure and counters were too slick. Late in the round, Umar did get a takedown, and gave it all he had from the top position to try and finish with ground and pound.
The late rally, however, would not be enough. In the end, the judges rendered split decision in favor of Khon Sichan, who earned his first promotional victory and upsets “King Kong” in the process.