On Friday, 12 April, ONE Championship brought its latest blockbuster spectacle to Manila, Philippines.
Not only did the two World Title bouts at ONE: Roots Of Honor live up to the hype, but the entire card offered plenty of highlights from beginning to end.
Truly, “action-packed” may be an understatement to describe the show, as 11 of the 15 bouts from the Mall Of Asia Arena did not go to the judges’ scorecards.
Here are just four of the best highlights from an unforgettable night.
#1 Niko Soe Wins Big For Singapore
It was a battle between products of two top martial arts gyms in Singapore, with Soe training at Impact MMA and Saputra finding a home at Evolve MMA, and both athletes did not disappoint.
Saputra showed the skills that led to him becoming an Indonesian national wrestling champion in his professional mixed martial arts debut, while Soe displayed no signs of rust in his return.
The Singaporean had to battle hard to get back to his feet early, but once he did, he timed Saputra’s aggressive attack with a thunderous elbow, which cut his opponent’s forehead.
After a thorough inspection, the doctor deemed the Indonesian unable to continue and awarded the win to Soe.
#2 Evolve’s Leandro Issa Is Back In The Winner’s Circle
Leandro “Brodinho” Issa restarted his quest for bantamweight gold with an impressive victory over the streaking Chinese athlete Fu Chang Xin.
Evolve’s Issa took the match to the ground early, where he used his third-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt skills to perfection. He worked his way to a tight-looking armbar which had Fu, and probably everyone watching, grimacing in pain.
Despite showing tremendous heart and determination to get out of the hold, he could not stop “Brodinho” from resetting the technique, and was forced to tap at the 3:03 mark of the first round.
The impressive victory will certainly boost Issa’s confidence as he looks to return to the ONE Bantamweight World Title picture.
#3 Joshua Pacio’s Head Kick Heard Around The World
The ONE Strawweight World Title is once again in the possession of Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, as he reclaimed the gold from Japan’s Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta in the co-main event.
Both men came out with an obvious determination to go for a finish, as their first match-up ended in a razor-thin split decision that could have gone either way.
The first three rounds saw each athlete provide teases of a finish, but neither would stay down long enough to give up any sort of advantage to his opponent. That is, until the fourth round.
Pacio unleashed a perfectly-timed head kick, which caught the “The Ninja” on his temple. It instantly knocked him out at the 2:43 mark of the fourth round, and it sent a message to the rest of the strawweights in the division.
#4 Martin Nguyen Is Still The Top Dog
ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen proved he is the true king of the division with a scintillating knockout of Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa.
The Mongolian challenger unleashed his power on the World Champion earlier, however, “The Situ-Asian” was ready for him and strategically targeted his opponent’s leg.
That leg would eventually give out on Jadambaa in the second round and once he lost his balance, Nguyen rose up with a jumping knee to knock him out.
In the post-bout interview, Nguyen claimed this was his division, and he certainly proved that with his dominant performance.