ONE Fighting Championship™ (ONE FC), Asia’s largest Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) organization with a 90% market share, impressed the sold-out crowd in attendance at the state-of-the-art Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena with ONE FC: RISE OF HEROES. Fans were treated to an unforgettable night of mixed martial arts action, culminating in a successful title defence of the ONE FC Bantamweight World Championship by Bibiano Fernandes. Filipino fans in attendance also had reason to cheer, as all five Filipino mixed martial artists won their respective bouts.
Bibiano Fernandes displayed both grappling and striking skills en route to his first successful title defense. The first round of the main event was fairly even. Fernandes managed to take Ueda down, but Ueda reversed the position and landed a knee before time expired. Bibiano Fernandes established his dominance in the second round. He landed more strikes and also succeeded with a takedown attempt. Fernandes found success in the third round as well, ending the round with a rear naked choke attempt. Fernandes’ world class grappling prowess shone through in the championship rounds as Ueda failed to find an answer to his takedowns. All three judges scored the bout in Fernandes’ favour.
Striking pugilists Eduard Folayang and Kotetsu Boku went to battle in the co-main event, but it was Folayang’s improved wrestling skills that swung the bout in his favor. Both parties were highly respectful of each other’s striking pedigree and were hesitant to strike in the opening exchanges. Folayang took Boku down with an empathic slam in the first round, and came close to finishing the bout with an armbar attempt before time ran out. Folayang’s improved grappling was on full display in the second round, as he took Boku down on several attempts as well as grazed Boku with a spinning wheel kick. After a wild third round where both fighters attacked valiantly in search of the knockout finish, Folayang emerged with his hands raised with a unanimous decision victory.
Rob Lisita extended his winning streak to four by overcoming Yusuke Kawanago in his ONE FC debut. The pair fought two years ago, with Kawanago emerging victorious then. Lisita clearly had revenge on his mind as he fervently stalked Kawanago from the opening bell. Lisita caught Kawanago with a precise left hook while Kawanago was advancing, and jumped on the opportunity to finish the fight by unloading a series of punches.
The heavyweight clash between Chris Lokteff and James McSweeney pitted two of ONE FC’s best strikers against each other, and it did not disappoint. The bout was contested entirely on the feet, with both fighters having their share of shots landed. With Lokteff backed up against the cage, McSweeney threw a perfect knee that landed flush on the chin of the Australian, knocking him out.
Leandro Ataides extended his impressive professional record to eight wins and no losses with a knockout victory over Tatsuya Mizuno. The victory marked Ataides’ second knockout in the ONE FC cage in as many appearances. Ataides hounded Mizuno across the cage, and a series of left hooks caused the Japanese mixed martial artist to collapse, signalling an end to the bout only forty seven seconds into the first round.
Boxing champion Ana Julaton received the loudest ovation of the evening, and proceeded to prove why she is one of the most popular sportswomen in the Philippines. Julaton demonstrated her newly acquired grappling skills in the first round, executing a successful takedown manoeuvre. Julaton faced some adversity in the second round when Saber attempted a guillotine choke, but she managed to defend the submission and retaliated with several slams and punches from top position. With the crowd cheering her every move, Julaton reversed Saber’s takedown attempt to gain a mounted position in the third round. She began to let loose a series of devastating punches that ended the bout with less than a minute remaining.
The flyweight bout between Gianni Subba and Eugene Toquero featured two of the most talented stars in the division. Toquero proved to be the superior mixed martial artist over three rounds, ending Subba’s three-fight winning streak in ONE FC with a unanimous decision victory. Toquero, a former muay thai practitioner, dictated the striking range with leg kicks in the first round. A well-timed takedown and superior ground control allowed Subba to control proceedings early in the second round, but Toquero reversed the position and hurt Subba with several deadly elbow strikes. Toquero secured several takedowns in the final stanza, and earned the nod on all three of the judges’ scorecards.
The opening bout of the evening featured two hard-hitting female mixed martial artists. Hometown favorite Jujeath Nagaowa quickly established her dominance in the first round, using crisp boxing skills to set up several takedowns. Nagaowa, the former WBO Atomweight Champion, decided to keep the fight standing in the second round. That proved to be the correct decision as she unleashed a barrage of punches that ultimately forced referee Oliver Coste to step in, earning Nagaowa a TKO victory.
Official results for ONE FC: RISE OF HEROES:
- ONE FC Bantamweight World Championship bout: Bibiano Fernandes defeats Masakatsu Ueda by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 minutes of round 5
- Lightweight bout: Eduard Folayang defeats Kotetsu Boku by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 minutes of round 3
- Flyweight bout: Rey Docyogen defeats Joshua Alvarez by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 minutes of round 3
- Featherweight bout: Rob Lisita defeats Yusuke Kawanago by TKO (Strikes) at 0:28 minutes of round 1
- Heavyweight bout: James McSweeney defeats Chris Lokteff by KO (Knee) at 3:04 minutes of round 1
- Middleweight bout: Leandro Ataides defeats Tatsuya Mizuno by TKO (Strikes) at 0:47 minutes of round 1
- Flyweight bout: Ana Julaton defeats Aya Saeid Saber by TKO (Strikes) at 4:01 minutes of round 3
- Flyweight bout: Eugene Toquero defeats Gianni Subba by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 minutes of round 3
- Atomweight bout: Jujeath Nagaowa defeats Jeet Toshi by TKO (Strikes) at 1:07 minutes of round 2