ONE Championship comes to Manila

ONE Championship, the mixed-martial arts promotion, has brought the show back to the Philippines billed as “Global Superheroes” held last January 26 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, six days after the ONE Championship (Kings of Courage) held in Jakarta.  The Manila leg is the 67th ONE tournament and the 11th time it is held in the Philippines.

ONE Championship would not be complete without the lovely ONE Championship Ring Girls who are mostly Korean.

Besides the match, ONE Championship has entered into a partnership with Global Citizen, joining the campaign to fight poverty (See related article here). ONE Championship was broadcast globally to 173 countries. On hand to watch the event are ONE Champions Brandon “The Truth” Vera, Adriano Moraes, Renzo Gracie and Angela Lee.

ONE bouts
The bouts of ONE Championship: Global Superheroes C: ONE Championship

The Match

ONE Championship: Global Superheroes consisted of 11 matches, the first four were preliminary matches, one match was a muay thai bout and the latter two were the main events, pitting Joshua Pacio of the Philippines against Lan Mingqiang of China and Geje Eustacio versus Kairat Akhematov of Kazakhstan respectively.

Most of the Philippine fighters are from the Baguio City-based Team Lakay. Former ONE Champion Edward Folayang served as coach and second for the fighters of the club. Having the homecourt advantage, all Philippine fighters received the loudest cheers from the crowd.

In between bouts, the gorgeous ONE Championship Ring Girls gave away some merchandise to the crowd present.

All preliminary matches ended the first round in spectacular fashion. The cage announcer in all bouts was Dominic Lau.

Bout 1: Matheis v. Kalai

The first preliminary match was between Adrian “Papua Badboy” Matheis of Indonesia and Eddey “The Clown” Kalai of Malaysia in the flyweight division. It took Matheis over 4 minutes in the first round to beat Kalai via Rear Naked Choke (submission).

Bout 2: Meena v. Zhang

The next bout pitted India’s Rajinder “Knockout” Singh Meena against Zhang Zehao of China in the lightweight division. The first ended in 42 seconds of the first round with Meena winning over Zhang after applying the guillotine choke (submission).

Bout 3: Osenio v. Torres

The atomweight match was between Filipinas April Osenio of Team Lakay against Jomary Torres representing the Catalan Fighting System. Torres made short work of Osenio, needing only 40 seconds, slamming Osenio to the canvas for the knockout victory.

Bout 4: Kelly v. Meul

This was a featherweight match between Edward Kelly of the Philippines (Team Lakay) and Meas Meul of Cambodia. This was the shortest bout of the night, with Kelly knocking out Meul in 21 seconds after Kelly caught Meul with a knee strike to the face, sending him crashing down the canvas.

For a full detail and video of the Prelims, go to this link.

Bout 5: Urrutia v. Pucci

Then came the undercard matches. Bout 5 was between the American Emilio “Honey Badger” Urrutia and Brazil’s Bruno Pucci in the featherweight division. Urrutia lived up to his moniker by wearing a honey badger mask as he entered the arena. The fight did not go the distance as Urrutia put Pucci away in over 3 minutes of the bout by knocking out the latter.

For a full detail and video, go to this link.

Bout 6: Bryan v. Suzuki

This was a straweight match pitting Japan’s Hayato Suzuki against Yago Bryan of Brazil. Like the earlier fights, it ended in the first round with Suzuki getting Bryan to tap out after putting the choke on him in 4 minutes. For Suzuki, his victory was a redemption from a defeat two months ago and he looks forward to facing Alex Silva again for a rematch.

For a full detail and video, go to this link.

Bout 7: Kichukov v. Ma

The fight was between Bulgaria’s Sotir “The Trouble” Kichukov and China’s Ma Haobin aka “The Southern Eagle” in the flyweight division. This was the first fight that went the distance as both fighters were evenly matched and could not gain the upper hand against one another. In the end, the judges gave Ma the win via a unanimous decision since the latter put on an impressive fight.

For a full detail and video, go to this link.

Bout 8: Gaiyanghadao v. Lasiri

This is the first time a muay thai fight would take place in a ONE Championship. As such, a different set of rules was used. The bout pitted Thailand’s Sam-A Gaiyanghadao against Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri of Italy. Both fighters sport impressive credentials leading to the match. The fight had the atmosphere of a typical muay thai bout even down to the music playing around the arena. The fight ended in the second round with the Thai outclassing the Italian in Round 1. Round 2 saw Gaiyanghadao pummeling Lasiri with kicks on the shoulders and arms until the former was able to knock down the latter three times for the Technical Knockout win (Three Knockdown Rule).

For a full detail and video, go to this link.

Bout 9: Kelly v. Nunes

The next fight was between Eric Kelly of the Philippines and Rafael Nunes of Brazil in the featherweight division. The first round saw both fighters unable to gain the advantage. Though the crowd was heavily behind Kelly, the Brazilian silenced them by beating the Filipino by submission over a minute in the second round.

For a full detail and video, go to this link.

Bout 10: Pacio v. Lan

One of the main events of the evening was between the Philippines’ Jerome “The Passion” Pacio and Lan Ming Qiang of China in the strawweight category. Pacio displayed more drive and hunger for the win as he only needed a minute and a half to beat Lan via a rear naked choke (submission), fulfilling a promise he made before the fight.

For a full detail and video, go to this link.

Main Event: Eustaquio v. Akhematov

The main event is for the Interim Flyweight World Championship contested between the Philippines Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio and Kazakhstan’s Kairat Akhematov. This was the second time the two met. In their previous match, Akhematov won but in controversial fashion. In this match, he wanted to prove his last win was not a fluke. But in this match, Eustaquio came prepared. Both fighters could not gain the edge over the other and the fight dragged on to the final round. Finally, it was up to the judges who unanimously gave the win to Eustaquio who is now the first champion of this division. Renzo Gracie presented Eustaquio the championship belt. Moraes, who faced and defeated Eustaquio in the past, also congratulated him and promised the latter another shot at him.

For a full detail and video, go to this link.

Geje Eustaquio, the newly crowned ONE Championship Interim Flyweight Champion, thanking everyone for supporting him.

The next ONE Championship will in Bangkok, Thailand on March 24.

Featured Image Source: ONE Championship


Aaron Ronquillo

Quizzer, Practical Shooter, Martial Artist, Movie Buff, Avid Reader, Amateur Foodie and Photographer, Cat Lover; Someone with a wanderlust; got a keen eye for detail, trivia; enthusiastic but cautious; patient, calculating