On Friday, 16 August, martial arts fans witnessed some highly entertaining and technical battles at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD in Bangkok, Thailand.
The crowning of a new World Champion, the success of rising stars, and the demolition derby that was the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinals were among some of the evening’s best highlights.
As the action unfolded inside the Impact Arena, here are three major takeaways from this amazing night.
The ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final Is Set
Each of the two ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinal bouts at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD lived up to its billing.
First, Frenchman Samy “AK47” Sana outgunned “Genghis Khan” Dzhabar Askerov over three rounds to earn the majority decision victory in their semifinal match-up.
Like the others before him, Askerov failed to find a hole in Sana’s defense. The Parisian’s menacing six-foot-three frame has been a constant thorn in his opponents’ sides, even troubling a kickboxing savant like Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex.
Second, Italian kickboxing legend Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan finished Thai favorite “Smokin” Jo Nattawut with a clean first-round knockout.
Buoyed by the support from his compatriots, many thought Nattawut could hand “The Doctor” his first loss in years. However, that was not the case.
The Italian kickboxing great once again relied on strong counterpunching to bring him success. He showed poise, discipline, and immaculate finishing skills to dispatch Nattawut with relative ease.
“The Doctor” now stands as the one man who could surgically dissect Sana’s game and gain the upper hand in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final.
The final at ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October is shaping up to be an absolute monster. It will be a winner-takes-all battle between clinical accuracy and overpowering aggression for the grand prize of US$1 million.
Stamp Fairtex Puts Mixed Martial Arts’ Atomweight Division On Notice
In her match against Asha “Knockout Queen” Roka, Stamp Fairtex proved that she could hang with the best in mixed martial arts today.
The 21-year-old Thai phenom dominated Roka with strikes and finished her with a submission.
Stamp showed that her skills in Muay Thai and kickboxing translated well into mixed martial arts. She demonstrated strong punching power and kicks that left Roka dazed and stumbling on the backfoot.
Her display of ground and pound and creative submissions, which lead to her getting the tap via rear-naked choke, established Stamp as a legitimate threat in mixed martial arts.
At just 21 years old, the sky is the limit for Stamp. Three-sport dominance is no longer a dream, but a goal that is within reach, so long as Stamp continues to build upon her mixed martial arts skills.
Women’s mixed martial arts gets even more competitive and the fans get to watch Stamp in both ONE Super Series and mixed martial arts bouts. It is a win-win scenario.
Evolve MMA Is Riding High
The Singapore gym and its world-famous Evolve Fight Team has been on a roll lately.
Evolve scored big in November last year with their first-ever global tryouts. They brought into the fold several exciting new talents, and it has paid off. Recruits Hiroki Akimoto, Troy “Pretty Boy” Worthen, and Aleksi “The Giant” Toivonen have all impressed in their wins so far.
Most recently at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD, Evolve achieved another clean sweep.
23-year-old Japanese sensation Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada scored an effortless first-round submission victory over Aziz “The Krauser” Calim, before teammate and veteran leader Alex “Little Rock” Silva capped off a wonderful night for Evolve with a slick armbar victory over Stefer Rahardian.
He controlled the contest on the ground and reminded everyone of his world-class grappling skills when he transitioned to an armbar and forced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt holder Rahardian to tap.
Sawada similarly proved he belonged on the global stage. He turned in a phenomenal grappling and wrestling performance to get the quick submission win over Calim.
The Tokyo native’s stunning debut, along with the Brazilian’s return to form, spells good news for the Singapore-based martial arts stable.
ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, takes place on 6 September in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
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