Brazilian mixed martial artist Renato Sobral made a stunning debut at the ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) Destiny of Warriors event on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur, finishing Tatsuya Mizuno in just 31 seconds with a well-executed arm bar that left the Japanese cage fighter with no choice but to submit.
A very game Mizuno came out extremely aggressive in the night’s main event and managed to stagger Sobral with a hard right hook during the opening exchanges. With Sobral stumbling to the canvas, Mizuno moved quickly to finishing his opponent, but left his arm exposed as he jumped into the Brazilian’s guard.
An opportunistic Sobral, fighting for the first time in 16 months, capitalised by wrapping his legs around, and cranking on, the limb, forcing the first-round tap-out in their light heavyweight (82 to 93kg) bout.
A sold-out crowd at the Stadium Negara was treated to a night of enthralling back-and-forth action, highlighted by a potential knockout-of-the-year candidate during the co-main event between Brazil’s Zorobabel Moreira and international superstar Roger Huerta of the US.
The lesser-known Moreira announced his arrival on the global stage by knocking out Huerta with a spectacular, soccer-style kick.
The American started off strong, peppering his foe with a series of punches and kicks, but Moreira returned a few kicks of his own near the end of the first round.
The 29-year-old Rio native began to assert himself in the second stanza as Huerta, also 29, began to show signs of fatigue. As Huerta, a veteran of 30 MMA bouts, was sent reeling from one of Moreira’s punches, a brilliantly timed roundhouse kick landed flush on his cranium, instantly knocking him out.
It was a major upset for the unheralded Moreira, and Huerta, once considered the best lightweight (66-70kg) fighter in the world, launched his ONE FC career with a loss.
The Malaysian crowd had been given good reason to celebrate earlier, as two of the three home-grown fighters on the card managed to come away with victories.
Adam Kayoom, one of the best mixed martial artists Malaysia has produced, inflicted a shock defeat by unanimous decision on Gregor Gracie of Brazil, who comes from the famed Gracie family that invented Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Malaysian Peter Davis gave the crowd a rousing welcome with a quick technical knockout of Singaporean Quek Kim Hock in the first fight.