Last Friday, 17 May, ONE Championship bestowed upon fans another unforgettable night of martial arts drama. The event, ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON, electrified the Singapore Indoor Stadium with 16 explosive bouts.
To top it off, Christian “The Warrior” Lee bested Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki to be crowned the new ONE Lightweight World Champion, thus becoming the youngest male mixed martial arts World Champion in history.
The other 15 match-ups that took place in “The Lion City” was a highly entertaining affair, too, and Johor Bahru’s Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan felt it was probably ONE’s most stacked — and surprising event — yet.
“Everyone expected the big names to win, but the underdogs showed their strength to come out on top and defeat these big names,” the 20-year-old shared.
“This was the best card ever. Probably the biggest shock of the night was Samy Sana’s win against Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex. I was on the same card as Samy when he lost to “Smokin’” Jo Nattawut in February, and for him to come back and do this was unimaginable. He improved a lot.”
Featherweight contender Keanu Subba echoed a similar sentiment, saying that Sana had the toughest opponent of the night.
The 24-year-old was impressed by how the WBC Super Middleweight Muay Thai World Champion forged out a strategy which gave Yodsanklai his first defeat since 2011.
“All the odds were against him facing Yodsanklai, but he showed up confident and relentless. He fought hard until the end, and won,” Subba explained.
“You could see that his coaches – just like him – believed in his abilities, and it showed when he beat Yodsanklai.”
Another shocking result saw Regian Eersel down Dutch kickboxing icon Nieky “The Natural” Holzken to be crowned the first ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion.
The five-round thriller was a striking masterclass, and Subba’s brother, Gianni, shared how he was certain Eersel edged Holzken on the judges’ scorecards.
“The way he used his long range to disrupt Holzken’s timing was amazing to watch. I think his youth and pace wore him down, too, over the rounds,” the elder Subba said.
“I thought Holzken would land the hard shots and attack his fellow Dutchman with shots to the body, but Eersel’s knees made it hard for him to land his usual long combinations.”
Another match that Subba felt made the event a highly surprising affair was Cosmo Alexandre’s 29-second knockout of “Super” Sage Northcutt.
“It just shows you one shot is all it takes in mixed martial arts,” he says.
All in all, ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON was not only the biggest martial arts event in the company’s history, but one of the most shocking, too.
Video link #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llCHw9wSZTw&t=18s
Video link #2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq7Lv9lnPO4
Video link #3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1_o1pPSoQU