Tetsuya “MMA Fantasista” Yamada suffered a painful defeat two months ago, which meant he was determined to get back to return to the win column as soon as possible.
The 27-year-old Japanese champion made a triumphant return to the ONE Championship cage on Saturday, 12 May, as he defeated The Philippines’ Eric “The Natural” Kelly at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY.
In front of the fans at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, Yamada proved his ground game was simply top-notch.
Following a tentative first few seconds, both men traded strikes, including a number of fierce kicks. Kelly seemingly slowed Yamada down with an overhand right, but once he threw a low kick, the Japanese warrior caught it, and brought him to the canvas.
Upon hitting the mat, Yamada took Kelly’s back, and proceeded to drop some ground and pound. That led to the bout ending rear-naked choke, which came at the 3:00 mark of the very first round.
Yamada, a ZST Welterweight Champion who trains out of Tiger Muay Thai product, was able to showcase not only his impressive striking, but his world-class grappling.
Once the bout went to the ground, it was just a matter of time before Yamada sunk in a submission, and the rear-naked choke was just too much for Kelly to handle.
Now back to his winning ways, Yamada’s record stands at 25-6-2.