The 8th installment of ONE Fighting Championship went down this past Friday, April 5th, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in front of a packed audience that arguably witnessed the best fight card the promotion had showcased to date.
Headlined by a Lightweight championship match-up between Kotetsu Boku and Shinya Aoki, ONE FC 8: Kings & Champions was aired ‘LIVE’, for the first time, on Star Sports to a potential 600 millions viewers across 70 continents. Fans outside the Asian region were able to catch the action ‘LIVE’ too, on Pay-Per-View, at www.onefc.livesport.tv, where the main card was priced at just US$9.99.
MMASucka.com also provided ‘LIVE’ results of the bouts as the event progressed throughout the night.
In the featured attraction of the evening, former DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki grappled his way to the ONE FC Lightweight strap. Kotetsu Boku did not get the chance of expressing his fisticuffs, and instead fell victim to yet another vintage Aoki performance.
- Bashir Ahmad impressed fans and neutrals alike with a tremendous display of heart and courage in his promotional debut fight with Thailand’s Shannon Wiratchai. The Pakistan native suffered a bad cut just above his eye in the 1st stanza, which prompted referee Kenichi Serizawa to stop the fight to have the doctors take a look at it. Ahmad was deemed fit to continue, and after being dominated for most parts of the first 5 minutes, the 30-year-old ended the round on top of Wiratchai, landing some punches of his own. In the 2nd round, Bashir landed a much anticipated takedown and began working from half guard. Wiratchai showed great ground presence by not allowing Bashir to pass into side control, or full mount. When both fighters were stood up, however, they were a little more cautious in their striking, or tentative as some may put it. But Bashir definitely edged out Wiratchai in the 2nd. In the final round, 2 vicious body kicks, that echoed around the arena, were delivered by Ahmad. It was obvious that Shannon was not the busier striker, and that may have convinced the judges to score 2 rounds to 1 in favor of Bashir Ahmad. Mad props to both warriors though for putting on a great fight.
- Yusup Saadulaev vs. Leandro Issa was a bout that definitely delivered fireworks as well. I ran out of superlatives after seeing the incredible takedowns of the former. The latter fighter, in the meantime, showed his BJJ prowess, as he should since he’s a World Champion, and at times outclassed his opponent with his slick transitions, near submissions and guard passes on the canvas. Issa was clearly the better striker too. Saadulaev was content with only throwing 1-2 combinations with his hands. Issa, on the hand, mixed things up. From punches to kicks, he undoubtedly kept his Russian opponent guessing. Overall, it was their grappling prowess that impressed the crowd and any casual fan of Mixed Martial Arts will surely appreciate the ground spectacle upon seeing this fight. While Saadulaev is now 0-2 under the ONE FC banner, Issa is now one step closer to title contention.
- Brock Larson vs. Melvin Manhoef was a bout that had a KO written all over it. Manhoef arguably received the loudest reception of the night. He did, after all, score a spectacular one-punch knockout over Ryo Kawamura the last time he was in the Lion City. This time around though – not so much. The crowd in the Singapore Indoor Stadium jeered at the 2 fighters from the get-go. Manhoef, the agressor that MMA fans have come to love, was surprisingly holding back, and that frustrated fans in the arena. Larson was no different either. After 7 minutes of the fight or so, referee Yuji Shimada had seen enough – or too little in this case – and decided to show both fighters the yellow card for lack of action. Larson, though, managed to end the 2nd round impressively when he secured an Armbar on his Dutch opponent. If it wasn’t for the bell, Manhoef would’ve probably tapped. In the 3rd stanza, Larson finally got Manhoef where he wanted – on the canvas. And from then on, it was all elementary for the former UFC veteran. He deserved the Unanimous Decision victory. Manhoef, though, was the favorite to get the win actually, but the former Strikeforce competitor did not get his striking going and that ultimately cost him his 3-fight winning skid.
MMASucka.com’s three stars:
1. Bashir Ahmad
2. Eddie Ng
3. Kevin Belingon
Do check out the full results of ONE FC 8: Kings & Champions, here.