One Fighting Championship’s latest mixed martial arts event packed out the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday with its 10-bout Battle of Lions fight card.
In the main event of the evening, Kazakhstan’s Igor Svirid was crowned the inaugural ONE FC middleweight world champion after defeating Leandro Ataides of Brazil by knockout just seconds into the opening round.
Svirid, 28, struck Ataides with a powerful right hand that dropped the 33-year-old. The Kazakh then followed up with a more strikes to his downed foe to clinch an exciting knockout victory and seize the belt.
Svirid moved to a record of 10 wins and one loss, while Ataides suffered the first defeat of his nine-fight professional MMA career.
In a tremendous showcase of heart and determination, Japanese lightweight Koji Ando (11-3-2) came from behind to stop Brazil’s Zorobabel Moreira (7-3) with a barrage of punches and kicks in the third and final round of their co-main event match-up.
The 31-year-old Moreira controlled much of the action in the first round with powerful leg kicks, keeping Ando, 29, at a distance. In the second stanza, Ando closed the gap with his punching as Moreira continued to work on both the inside and outside leg kicks.
The third saw both fighters trade shots at the centre of the cage, with Ando stringing together a series of unanswered straights and uppercuts, causing the referee to stop the fight.
In a colossal clash of welterweights, Luis Santos (61-9-1) of Brazil scored a spectacular stoppage victory over Azerbaijan’s Bakhtiyar Abbasov (12-4) moments into the first round.
Cage fighting veteran Santos, 34, came out firing with a devastating display of strikes, landing a thunderous body kick that caused 28-year-old Abbasov to retreat to the mat in intense pain and tapping out shortly after.
An amazing display of skill saw Japanese middleweight Tatsuya Mizuno (13-10) defeat Brayan Rafiq (8-4) of France by unanimous decision in a grinding, technical battle.
Most of the first round was spent with both fighters pressed up against the cage – Rafiq opted to wrestle while Mizuno turned to jiu-jitsu, trying to secure a submission.
Grappling action dominated the second round, with the Frenchman continuing to stave off Mizuno’s various submission attempts. The pair picked up the pace with their striking in the third, to the delight of the crowd but both fighters were able to make it to the final bell.
Belgium’s Christophe Vandijck (7-1) showcased his impressive judo base by overcoming previously undefeated Dwayne Hinds (10-1) of Trinidad and Tobago by ground and pound in round 1.
Hinds controlled the tempo with his wrestling but fellow welterweight Vandijck was able to score on a couple of judo throws, one of which saw him take full mount. Vandijck unleashed a series of powerful strikes from top position and forced Hinds to tap out.
In a highly anticipated featherweight battle, Major Overall (6-1) of the US made quick work of Filipino Cary Bullos (7-2), winning by rear naked choke in round 1.
The duo wasted absolutely no time with a torrid exchange of blows from the sound of the bell. Overall sent Bullos crashing to the canvas with a kick and then quickly secured the decisive choke.
Australian featherweight Martin Nguyen kept his four-fight unbeaten record alive, overcoming Rocky Batolbatol (5-1) of the Philippines with a submission in round 2.
A heated striking battle ensued in the opening round with both fighters trading strikes for the majority. Nguyen scored on a couple of takedowns and landed some good kicks while Batolbatol used his boxing to pepper his opponent with hooks.
In the second round, Nguyen took matters to the ground, working to take Batolbatol’s back and locked in a rear naked choke to force the Filipino to tap out.
Hometown boy Amir Khan (2-1) wowed the Singapore crowd with a quick stoppage of Pakistani featherweight opponent Waqar Umar (3-2), landing a vicious right hand after a brief moment in the clinch.
Umar fell to the mat as Khan landed a couple more strikes for good measure before referee Oliver Coste stepped in to awarding the Singaporean the knockout victory.
In the second bout of the evening, Jeff Huang (5-1) of Chinese Taipei was impressive in his defeat of tough Indonesian welterweight Zuli Silawanto (6-9). Huang dominated both the clinch and the ground battle as he unleashed unanswered strikes from top position. He then seized the opportunity to take Silawanto’s back and execute a successful rear naked choke.
Two female fighters kicked off ONE FC: Battle of Lions in fine fashion. Grappling was the method of choice for Singaporean newcomer Kirstie Gannaway, as she ended Malaysian atomweight Adek Omar (0-1) by submission. Gannaway used her rubber guard to trouble Omar with various submission attempts before securing a deep triangle choke to force Omar to tap out in round 1.
With ONE FC’s pioneering event in mainland China, Dynasty of Champions at the National Olympic Sports Centre gymnasium in Beijing, pushed back until December 19, the next card will be ONE FC: Warriors Way in Manila on December 5.
The main event will see Brazilian MMA star Bibiano Fernandes (16-3) defend his ONE FC bantamweight world title against Dae Hwan Kim (10-0-1) of South Korea.