ONE Championship wrapped up its 2018 events calendar with an aptly thrilling show on Friday, 7 December.
The world’s largest martial arts organization returned to the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS, which saw a run of spectacular finishes and heroic performances.
A pair of elite Muay Thai strikers clashed in the main event, while mixed results for the local martial artists caused joy and heartbreak among the crowd.
However, everyone went home thoroughly entertained, and the results from the card have sent a ripple effect throughout the martial arts world.
Here are three of the best moments from a rip-roaring night in Kuala Lumpur.
#1 Vitaly Bigdash’s Statement
Former ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash is a familiar name to many in Myanmar. He defeated Aung La N Sang in January 2017, but lost his belt to the “The Burmese Python” in a rematch five and a half months later.
With the Russian’s first-round submission victory over Yuki Niimura, a rubber match with the Myanmar star may be on the horizon.
The 34-year-old scored a takedown, which ultimately led to him clasping the Japanese athlete’s back and securing a reverse triangle choke.
Niimura kicked and struggled, but Bigdash dropped some elbows to the face, then wrenched on his foe’s arm, and submitted him with a rare reverse triangle armbar.
#2 Jihin Radzuan Remains Undefeated
Malaysian star Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan is tearing through the promotion’s atomweight division and showing potential for a shot at the belt. In front of a stadium packed with her compatriots, she unleashed a volley of strikes on Jenny Huang from the get-go.
The Chinese grappler responded in kind, jabbing and then shooting for the single leg takedown. This exchange set a frantic pace that brought high drama to the three-round affair.
Jihin was clearly the stronger striker, but Huang, a black belt judoka and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt, was a constant threat on the ground. The Malaysian’s ambitious ground and pound almost cost her the match at the end of the second, when Huang shot her hips up for a deep triangle choke. Fortunately for “Shadow Cat,” she was saved by the bell.
The 20-year-old local favorite opened the third frame with a textbook superman punch, which snapped back Huang’s head, and after some tense minutes of Jihin answering submission attempts with heavy blows, the Malaysian won via unanimous decision.
If “Shadow Cat” can continue to build on her momentum in 2019, she could find herself challenging fellow undefeated hero and ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee at some point.
#3 The Return Of A Legend
Seldom do you see a man sent soaring into the air with an uppercut, but that is exactly what happened in the last seconds of ONE’s final show of the year.
Prolific star Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex knocked out Australia’s Luis Regis in ONE’s first-ever Muay Thai headliner.
Yodsanklai initiated the bout by cracking the Aussie’s ribs with a left kick, and he continued applying pressure. Regis came back with a huge right hook, and he pulled out of his repertoire a spinning back kick.
Yet “The Hero” always had an answer. The Thai forced his rival against the fence, threw a jab-cross combination, and then connected with three quick-fire uppercuts, which knocked out Regis.
After such a decisive victory, perhaps the dream bout between Yodsanklai and Giorgio Petrosyan can finally happen.