The preliminary card of ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER concluded with a thrilling featherweight contest between “The Underdog” Li Kai Wen, and Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia.
Many had tipped this encounter as a ‘Bout Of The Night’ contender, and it did not disappoint as both warriors refused to back down for 11 amazing minutes of action in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Friday, 13 July.
Both men absorbed a ton of damage, but a flurry of punches from Li sent Urrutia down for good In the third round, and earned him his second win in as many weeks.
The first round was nothing short of spectacular, as two of ONE Championship’s most exciting featherweights bit down on their mouth guards and threw heavy leather.
Li’s power looked to be the difference, as his right hand twice sent “The Honey Badger” to the canvas, but the heart of the American kept him in the contest. He recovered to score takedowns at crucial moments to keep him in the bout, and allow him to return fire on the feet.
After somehow surviving a punishing first round, Urrutia was more assertive in the second. Li had expended a lot in his efforts to put him away, and was now more reserved and visibly slower.
The Tiger Muay Thai man was more accurate with his jab and low kicks, and was in the ascendency.
Urrutia got on the front foot in the final round, looking for the win as “The Underdog” continued to show signs of fatigue. However, Urrutia might have written off his opponent too early.
Just as it looked like his American foe was turning the tide in the third round of the scintillating clash, the Chinese athlete landed a hard right hand behind Urrutia’s ear, and then flurried with his last energy reserves to land the decisive blows.
The contest was stopped at 1:22 of the final round, and “The Underdog” picked up his eighth ONE Championship victory.
Li improved his mixed martial arts record to 9-4 and extended his winning streak to three bouts, and every one has ended with a finish. He has undoubtedly elevated himself to join the top contenders in the ONE featherweight division, and attracted more fans with his non-stop style.
Urrutia’s record drops to 11-6, but his reputation is unlikely to suffer much after his performance in Malaysia.