One Championship closed its 2018 calendar of events at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this past Friday.
The promotion’s latest martial arts blockbuster, ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS, featured 11 top-notch bouts, with seven ending in highlight-reel fashion.
Before we look ahead to 2019, here are four highlights from ONE’s final event of the year.
“Jordan Boy” Dazzles In ONE Debut
If there is anything that gets the home crowd excited, it is a first-round knockout.
As he predicted at the ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS Press Conference, promotional newcomer Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud finished Stergos “Greek Dynamite” Mikkios inside the first round.
The official stoppage time was 2:20 of round one, to be exact.
Early in the ONE Super Series Muay Thai bantamweight contest, Mikkios explored his range with leg kicks. Mohammed dealt with it well, and then exploded forward with some strikes of his own.
The 22-year-old sent his opponent to the mat with a big right elbow. After “Greek Dynamite” beat the 10-count, Mohammed continued his offensive attack — landing a right hand, and then dropping him with a straight right. This time, Mikkios would not beat the 10-count.
Just like that, Malaysia has a new hero.
A Muay Thai Legend Makes More History
For the first time in the promotion’s history, a ONE Super Series Muay Thai bout served as the main event, and it did not disappoint.
Multi-time world champion Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex added to his legendary career, as he dominated Australia’s Luis Regis in the groundbreaking headline attraction.
The 33-year-old Thai kicked off the bout — literally — by swinging a left kick at his opponent’s ribs, and then landed heavy kicks, which got his rival stuck in the corner.
Regis countered well, but was unable to cause any damage. Yodsanklai continued his methodical attack and brought the featherweight clash to an end in Muay Thai textbook style.
Three rapid-fire uppercuts sealed the deal at the 2:08 mark of round one, proving the Thai is as dangerous as ever.
A Purr-fect Year For “Shadow Cat”
2018 has seen several debuts and signings by the world’s largest martial arts organisation, but only very few of those promotional newcomers have gone on to record a three-bout win streak all while remaining undefeated as a professional.
One of those is Malaysian darling Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan, who put in yet another dominant performance against former ONE World Title challenger Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang.
Striking was the big difference in this bout, as the 20-year-old Malaysian caused damage with her significant reach and strength advantage. Also, her grappling defense was key in securing the unanimous decision victory.
What could be next for this young atomweight contender? Only time will tell.
Vitaly Bigdash Is Still A Top Middleweight
Former ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash sealed his 10th career victory in dominant fashion.
The 34-year-old Russian was extremely focused in his bout with Pancrase Middleweight World Champion Yuki Niimura, who connected with heavy right kicks in the opening seconds.
However, Bigdash immediately landed a takedown. He kept him on the canvas until he masterfully advanced his position and locked in the rarely-seen reverse triangle arm bar. The Japanese warrior had no choice but to submit at the 4:24 mark of the opening stanza.
With that win, the Russian proved he was still an elite middleweight and placed himself back in the title picture.