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Welterweight champion Ben ‘Funky’ Askren addresses the crowd after an accidental eye poke saw his bout with Luis Santos judged a no contest at ONE
Welterweight champion Ben ‘Funky’ Askren addresses the crowd after an accidental eye poke saw his bout with Luis Santos judged a no contest at ONE: Valor of Champions in Manila on Friday. ONE

No contest sees Askren retain belt

The ONE welterweight championship bout between reigning champion Ben “Funky” Askren and challenger Luis Santos ONE: at Valor of Champions in Manila on Friday night finished in a no contest after Santos received an accidental poke in the eye in an exchange.

After a careful review of the incident verified the eye poke, referee Olivier Coste gave Santos five minutes to recover. Santos’s vision, however, was still impaired, unfortunately ending the fight before it had properly begun.

In the night’s co-main event, Filipino-American Mark “Mugen” Striegl showed the world he is more than just hype by inflicting the first loss on the tough Casey Suire of the US. Striegl’s world-class wrestling shone from the off, as he took Suire down with a side headlock in the opening moments.

Striegl then moved to take Suire’s back, eventually orchestrating a rear naked choke that forced Suire to tap out. Striegl moves to 14-1.

Thailand’s Anatpong Bunrad scored an upset victory over Team Lakay’s Geje Eustaquio in a close fight in front of Eustaquio’s home crowd. Eustaquio played the role of aggressor for most of the bout, while Bunrad opted to sit back and counter.

Filipino Eustaquio, known for his well-rounded striking game, dictated the pace with his boxing and wushu techniques. Both fighters had their moments in close exchanges, but Bunrad scored on a pair of takedowns, including one in the final round.

In the end, Bunrad narrowly eclipsed Eustaquio in a split decision, with two of the three judges giving him the victory .

Rose clinches
Home hero Eugene Toquero brought the crowd to its feet with an exciting grappling performance against Indonesia’s Brianata Rosadhi.

Toquero dominated the fight for as long as it lasted, defeating Rosadhi by ground and pound in the first round. Within seconds, Toquero took down Rosadhi and worked on a pair of rear naked choke attempts.

Toquero then took top position and began punishing Rosadhi with sharp elbows before referee Joey Lepiten stepped in to stop the bout.

Singapore’s Amir Khan improved his record to 3-1 with victory over Pakistan’s Bashir Ahmad in what was a tremendous display of bravery from both warriors.

Both men came out striking in the first round, with Ahmad landing some solid right hands, while Khan worked his opponent’s body with vicious knees.

After their war of attrition continued in the second, a cut opened up on Ahmad’s eyebrow. With his vision obscured, the referee had no choice but to stop the fight and award Khan the victory.

After an impressive showcase of strikes, Filipino Edward Kelly finished off compatriot Jimmy Yabo with a rear naked choke in the first round.

Kelly started off quick with high velocity kicks, a staple of wushu sanshou as Yabo tried his best to defend against the onslaught.

In the clinch, Kelly worked his way to take Yabo’s back and sunk in the choke with a minute left to go in the round. Still on his feet, Yabo tapped the mat to signal to the referee that he had enough.

Chinese ONE Championship newcomer Liu Xiao Yang ended matters early against flyweight opponent Nicholas Lee, winning by stoppage just minutes into the first round.

Liu looped a wide but powerful right hook to Singaporean Lee’s temple that knocked him out, with referee Olivier Coste ending the contest.

China’s Wang Ya Wei and Sunoto kicked off the action at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila in a featherweight bout.

Wang easily handled Sunoto, defeating the Indonesian striking specialist by ground and pound in the third round after a cautious start from both fighters.

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