ONE Championship (ONE), returned to the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar for the third time this year for ONE: State Of Warriors.
ONE Strawweight World Championship bout: Yoshitaka Naito defeats Joshua Pacio by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:33 minutes of round 3
In the main event, Yoshitaka Naito successfully defended his ONE Strawweight title with a gutsy victory over Joshua Pacio.
Pacio started the fight well and appeared to be getting the better of Naito in the standup with accurate, punishing strikes. The fight however, turned on its head in the third round when Naito secured a takedown out of nowhere and took Pacio’s back. From there, Naito sunk in a rear-naked choke and forced the tap to retain his belt.
Yoshitaka Naito (Japan) defends SW ONE title (def. Joshua Pacio (Philippines) by 3R subm. (RNC)) pic.twitter.com/sCBOnGK9Nw
— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) October 7, 2016
“Definitely the happiest and the best fight ever,” Naito said in the cage after the fight. “This is definitely my best fight. I just did what I came to do. I showed Myanmar what I can do, all my skills, and I won.”
Middleweight bout: Aung La N Sang defeats Michal Pasternak by Unanimous Decision (UD) after three rounds
Hometown hero Aung La N Sang sent the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium crowd into a frenzy as he dominated his Polish adversary Michal Pasternak in a three-round middleweight bout.
Aung peppered Pasternak with pinpoint combinations and very heavy blows for the duration of the bout as he stalked his larger opponent all throughout the cage. In the end, all three judges scored in favor of Aung for the unanimous decision victory.
“Myanmar wants the world championship title,” stated Aung in the post-fight interview inside the cage. “Bigdash, you owe us that title.”
Featherweight bout: Phoe Thaw defeats Saw Yan Paing by TKO (Strikes) at 3:23 minutes of round 1
In the ONE Myanmar Featherweight Tournament Final, Phoe Thaw extended his win streak to four, remaining unbeaten by stopping fellow Myanmar fighter Saw Yan Paing in an entertaining scrap between local fighters.
ONE Myanmar FW Tournament Final – Phoe Thaw 1R TKO (vs. Saw Yan Paing) pic.twitter.com/QjqQRI3Cmn
— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) October 7, 2016
After a scramble for position on the ground, Thaw was able to end up in full mount and worked to finish the bout with ground-and-pound.
Bantamweight bout: Kevin Belingon defeats Muin Gafurov by Unanimous Decision (UD) after three rounds
Bantamweight bout: Yusup Saadulaev defeats Jordan Lucas by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:28 minutes of round 1
Featherweight bout: Bashir Ahmad defeats Mahmoud Mohamed by Submission (Heel Hook) at 1:23 minutes of round 1
— Zombie Prophet (@ZPGIFs) October 7, 2016
Featherweight bout: Saw Ba Oo defeats Kyal Sin Phyo by Unanimous Decision (UD) after two rounds
Featherweight bout: Saw Yan Paing defeats Ye Yint Aung by Unanimous Decision (UD) after two rounds
Featherweight bout: Phoe Thaw defeats Kat Pali by TKO (Strikes) at 0:22 minutes of round 1
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.
Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.
While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.
If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.
While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.
The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.
Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.
Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.
“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen
ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017
Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship
Bashir Ahmad is appointed as the Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, the role made to develop and strengthen the relationships between ONE Championship and various MMA gyms and promotions.
“Essentially, I see myself doing what I did in Pakistan and working to accelerate the growth of MMA in Asia with other players in the MMA scene,” Ahmad explained.
As the pioneer of Pakistani MMA, Bashir Ahmad has worked to promote MMA in Pakistan, most notably the Shaheen Gym project, a non-profit gym which serves to take at-risk youth off the street with the appeal and focus of MMA. With his new position in ONE, Ahmad believes he will be better positioned to develop MMA in Asia, particularly in his hometown Pakistan.
“I think it’s a win-win. I’ve learned about developing MMA in a really difficult market – Pakistan, and I bring that experience with me.”
“On the flip side, I get work with one of the world’s most professional martial arts brands and bring those lessons to my mission in Pakistan.”
4-3 on his professional MMA career, Ahmad has been fighting for ONE Championship since April 2013 and became the first ONE Championship athlete to make the transition from into the management role in the promotion. Despite this additional role, Ahmad is adamant that his new role in ONE Championship does not take him away from active competition.
“100% not retired. I can certainly train. If Martin can beat Gafurov while being a full-time mechanic, I can certainly train when I work in the MMA industry for a living. It’s about time management and training smart.”
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