ONE Fighting Championship’s ground-breaking mixed martial arts fight card, “Rise of the Kingdom”, at Koh Pich Theatre on Friday night had it all – bloody battles, explosive knockouts, moments of high controversy and an inaugural champion crowned in the flyweight division.
In the headlining bout, Adriano Moraes of Brazil was impressive in his victory over Filipino challenger Geje Eustaquio, moving with ease and speed around the ring throughout the first round, landing blows in the second before taking it to the ground and quickly executing a guillotine choke.
“It’s an amazing moment in my life. Want to dedicate my victory to Jesus Christ – I fight for him,” Moraes said during his post-fight interview.
The co-main event saw Caros Fodor of the US overcome experienced Duch lightweight Vincent Latoel with a rear naked choke in the second round.
The Cambodian Featherweight Grand Prix was clinched in controversial fashion by last minute replacement Dun Sam Ang. His fellow finalist Chan Rothana was moving well towards victory, landing crushing blows to put Sam Ang down and nearly out.
However, an overzealous back heel to the head of the grounded A Fighter club man, which had him needing immediate medical attention, was deemed as illegal after a lengthy review.
Rothana was disqualified, the crowd were not amused, and Dun Sam Ang left with the trophy and a ticket to Phuket for a one-month training camp at Tiger Muay Thai sponsored by NagaWorld.
Chan Rothana had earlier in the night scored an explosive TKO stoppage of Prak Chansin in the first round of their semi-final. After the referee had brought the pair to their feet following a protracted exchange on the ground, Rothana fired off a vicious spinning back heel before grounding and pounding his opponent into next week.
ONE FC hits the Kingdom
Dun Sam Ang had also produced firework on his way to the final, catching semi-final rival Chin Heng off guard when floored to deliver a devastating knockout punch midway through the opening round.
One of the biggest cheers of the night came from the entrance of Cambodian-Australian Suasday Chau, who effortlessly stole the limelight from flamboyant Frenchman Arnaud Lepont, who performed his trademark creepy crawl into the cage.
The opening clashes were fairly even, but two minutes into the first round came another moment of outrage.
With Chau on his back, legs flailing, Lepont appeared to stamp down on the face of his foe. At the same time, the Frenchman sprang back covering his face suggesting he was caught with a toe.
Chau was laid out flat on his back, semi-conscious, with a five minute time out called. With his corner continuing to remonstrate and Lepont making repeated apologies to deny intent, Chau struggled back to his feet looking shaken but keen to continue.
Lepont, however, was quick to move in for kill, knocking Chau down and then flying in head strikes until the bout was stopped.
It took five matches before the packed out audience witnessed action go into the second round. The bantamweight battle between Radeem Rahman of Singapore and Taiwan’s Sung Ming Yen switched tempos to go the distance.
Rahman’s early promise faded fast with Sung deliberately keeping the fight standing to inflict numerous clean punches with little reply to the unanimous decision.
Amir Khan of Singapore’s Evolve MMA gym made a big impression on his cage fighting debut with a first round knockout of Malaysia’s Jian Kai Chee.
Chee had made a great escape from a Khan mount early on but got expertly tagged with a flush right hand that appeared to cut the underside of his right eyebrow. As he fell backwards covering his eye, Khan leapt on top to finish off with strikes.
The featherweight feature fight between Cambodians Meas Meu and Chan Heng produced a slightly surprising result. Judo expert Meas Meu dominated from the bell, unleashing fearsome blows that had highly rated Chan Heng rocked.
With a steady stream of blood from his brow, Chan Heng hung in admirably under a constant barrage of fists and elbows but the writing was the wall and the referee called time to allow cornermen to dive in with towels.
The night had got underway with a highly anticipated catchweight bout between local females Sam Tharoth and Vy Srey Chai.
After a brief few blows on their feet, the lighter Tharoth, nicknamed ‘Little Frog’, took down Srey Chai and quickly began to demonstrate her superior grappling skills.
Srey Chai escaped one armbar attempt, but another on the three minute mark produced a breaking sound that had the referee wave off the fight, much to the protestation of the defeated.
“The dream has come true. My training worked very well. I put the technical aspects of my training into good use in the cage,” Tharoth told the Post.