ONE Championship Tigers Of Asia took place on 9 Oct 2015, at the Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Here are the full recap, results and photo album from the event.
All photos courtesy SingaporeMaven.com
Agilan Thani. (Malaysia) 2-0-0. Vs Hesham Hiba. (Egypt) 2-2-0
Hiba is a professional boxer from Egypt Top Team. More comfortable on his feet, he fell prey to Thani’s grappling skills. Thani was a MIMMA welterweight champion with a strong BJJ background. Hiba, as a striker is clearly no match for Thani’s strong ground game and spent most of the first round blocking Thani’s ground and pound action. The worst mistake Hiba made was to turn around and present his back to Thani which gave the latter an opportunity to win the fight through a rear naked choke.
After the fight, Thani commented, ” I did what I needed to do, without getting hurt. Everytime I get someone’s back, I make sure I choke them out.”
Winner: Agilan Thani via rear naked choke, round 1, 3.05min
Melvin Yeoh. (Malaysia) 7-2-0. Vs Saiful Merican. (Malaysia) 3-2-0
When two Muay Thai experts enter the cage, one can be sure that it’s going to be a display of striking skills predominantly, Yeoh however, tried to break the monotony at the third minute with a takedown, thankfully. However their performance on the ground was not impressive and had a lot of gaps. Even when Yeoh tried to execute an armbar towards the end of round 1, he failed to submit Merican.
At best, the fight turned out to be a boxing lesson for Yeoh from Merican who dealt a victory against Yeoh through referee stoppage with basic straight one two punches.
Winner: Saiful Merican via referee stoppage through strikes at round 2, 1.10min.
Keanu Subba. (Malaysia) 1-1-0 vs Florian Garel (France) 2-4-0
When Subba walked in, the Malaysian crowd went wild with applause. Homegrown support was certainly strong. He could certainly do with it as this was his debut performance with One Championship. Garel on the other hand was a karate expert with more fight experience. True to form, Garel put his karate skills to good use by tripping Subba the first chance he got. Experience did show with this fight as the gaps in both their grappling skills were obvious. The fight was predominantly on their feet until Subba successfully took the fight to the ground and nailed a win with a series of elbows to Garel’s head thereafter.
A good performance for Subba’s debut with One Championship.
Winner: Keanu Subba via referee stoppage through strikes Round 1, 4.51min
Gianni Subba (Malaysia) 5-1-0 Vs. Almiro Barros ( Brazil) 1-0-0
Another loud home crowd applause erupted with the entry of the other Subba brother. The chants of “Subba! Subba!” from the crowd boosted his confidence as he stepped into the cage. Barros was a BJJ world champion while Subba was predominantly a strong striker and wrestler. Subba’s wrestling was definitely on form and his takedown defence was impressive.
Barros on the other hand played the obvious card of trying to take the fight to the ground but failed. It was also clear his striking skills could not come close to Subba’s speed and agility. Actually, Subba’s left hooks and right upper cuts were fun to watch against Barros’ missed kicks and feeble punches. So Barros kept playing the only card he knew, and that was to repeatedly attempt to takedown Subba.
Barros was lucky to get five minutes of injury time to recover. By the third round he looked like he was gassing out. Towards the end of the fight, he made the grave mistake of wasting his energy on yet another takedown attempt against Subba.
Winner: Gianni Subba via unanimous decision.
LiGe Teng (China) 3-2-0 Vs Dae Hwan Kim (Korea) 10-1-1
Considering Kim’s outstanding fight career, this fight did not look like a balanced match on paper. However, it had drawn enough excitement with a classic China vs Korea rivalry played out in the cage.
LiGe Teng was a Sanda expert and Kim was a striking expert who had formerly secured a bantamweight championship. The initial posturing between the two fighters was agonising. In fact, the initial posturing in both rounds was extremely agonising. In the first round, Kim eventually took the fight to the ground, and the inexperience of Teng showed when he presented his back to Kim and naturally gave Kim the opportunity to submit him via a rear naked choke. However, Teng was lucky. He was saved by the bell.
When Kim took the fight to the ground in second round, Teng made the same mistakes and basically handed Kim the opportunity to submit him through a rear naked choke.
This fight should have been an easy win for Kim and frankly, he could have finished the job in the first round.
Winner: Dae Hwan Kim via rear naked choke round 2, 4.08min
Asuka ‘Riku Shibuya’ Mikami (Japan) 11-3-2 vs Eugene Toquero (Philippines) 7-1-0
Mikami is known for being an endurance fighter, having most of his fights ending in decision. The last time he stepped into the cage in Malaysia, he was defeated by Adriano Moraes by decision. He would be facing Toquero, an opponent with less fight experience than he has but he would be aware that Toquero is top flyweight in the Philippines and his strength lies in his superb striking skills as a Muay Thai expert.
Mikami probably leveraged that fact to take the fight to the ground right at the start of the fight in all three rounds and gained the upper hand with several knees to Toquero’s head. Each round was predictable and Toquero had best used this fight as a lesson to work on his take down defence.
Winner : Asuka ‘Riku Shibuya’ Mikami via unanimous decision.
Eric Kelly (Philippines) 11-1-0 Vs Hiroshige Tanaka (Japan) 10-2-0
Sanda fighter Eric Kelly was a URCC veteran who most recently defeated Robert Lisita at ONE Championship War of Dragons in Taiwan last year. It had been more than a year since his last fight and he was itching to repeat that victory with Shooto Veteran and boxing and wrestling expert, Tanaka. However, after having tasted defeat at his promotional debut with One Championship last year when he lost the fight against Herbert Burns, Tanaka stepped into the cage with all guns blazing, hoping to secure a victory. Tanaka’s will and determination was not enough to win the fight though.
Both fighters were well-matched with this fight although the initial posturing made for a slow start to the fight in all three rounds. However Kelly’s takedown defence was strong and in spite of almost a year of absence from the cage, his skills and experience did show. Even when caught in a clinch, every knee dealt by Tanaka was responded with an elbow by Kelly. Kelly’s tenacity and of course his quick elbows were impressive. Even in a takedown, he steeled to stand up or turn the fight over, making use of his elbows often. He never once gave Tanaka a chance to submit him.
Winner: Eric Kelly via unanimous decision
Fight 8 Main Event
Igor Svirid (Kazakhstan) 10-1-0 vs Vitaly Bigdash (Russia) 7-0-0
Svirid was the inaugural middleweight ONE Champion. He famously nailed a win against Leandro Ataides in One Championship Battle Of Lions in 17 seconds and hoped to continue his winning streak with this bout. This would be Bigdash’s promotional debut with One Championship.
Like his last fight, Svirid’s striking skills was still superb, and they were well-used to send Bigdash to the ground several times. However, the experience only served to steel Bigdash to leverage his skills as a strategic fighter and almost got Svirid into trouble when the latter was nearly submitted by Bigdash, only to be saved by the bell.
In the second round, Bigdash managed to secure the win when it was his turn to send Svirid to the ground with his fist and won via referee stoppage through strikes.
Winner: Vitaly Bigdash via referee stoppage though strikes round 2, 36 Sec.
Adrian Pang (Australia ). 21-8-2 Vs Peter Davis (Malaysia). 10-3-0
Pang has an outstanding fight career who secured a victory against Vincent Latoel in his promotional debut with One Championship last year in China. He had fought Peter Davis more than 10 years ago at Spartan Reality Fight in Australia and submitted him through an armbar about a minute within entering the cage. Peter Davis was obviously the crowd favourite who drew applause and loud cheers from his home ground crowd as he walked in.
Before the fight, Davis said, “This is even more important for me because it is a fight on my home ground. I know it is a tough fight but it’s the only way I can look to improving myself as a fighter.”
Davis has lots to learn from Pang about timing his opponent instead of being on attack mode from the outset. He was not as smart a fighter as Pang obviously was. Pang took his time and when he saw a gap, he went in for a punch and sent Davis to the ground. It was game over for Davis then.
Pang’s superb performance certainly ruined Davis’ new hairdo in that fight.
Winner: Adrian Pang via referee stoppage through strikes round 1, 48sec
Ev Ting (Malaysia) 9-3-0 vs Honorio Banario (Philippines) 8-5-0
New Zealand featherweight champion Ev Ting had a spectacular run of victories throughout his career with ONEChamlionship until earlier this year when he was submitted by an undefeated Marat Gafurov in Singapore at ONE Championship -One Warrior’s Quest. This fight would be seen as redemption and he was hopeful to achieve a win against Wushu expert Banario who had been suffering a series of losses in the last two years.
The fight went by quick enough with Banario attempting to take down Ting repeatedly and the takedown was at best sloppy and had many gaps. Ting was very quick on the ground. He took Banario by surprise and submitted Banario via guillotine choke.
Redemption would be the right word to describe this fight. Ting’s superior fight skills would have defeated Banario anyway, whether or not the fight had changed weight category.
Winner: Ev Ting via guillotine choke at round 1 in 56 sec
Ann Osman (Malaysia) 3-1-0 Vs Irina Mazepa. (Russia) 0-0-0
Although Mazepa seemed like an underdog on paper, she was a 5-time Wushu World Champion and a K1 champion. She founded her martial art skills in striking, and only recently trained in MMA but chose to fight a more experienced Osman as a test of her skills and abilities.
Before the fight, Osman said, ” I am not in it for the glamour. I am truly focused on my goals. During my first fight, I felt the pressure as the fight was on my home ground. As experience grew, the pressure improved. I am now prepared and know what to expect. I am focused on my career growth and want to be an established international female MMA fighter. For now, this is just the beginning.” Well, she has got the home crowd behind her as the crowd went nuts with cheers and applause, and even a standing ovation in the front rows.
Osman knew her competitive edge was her ground skills and wasted no time to take the fight to the ground. Mazepa turned the fight around when she smelt danger and got the fight back on its feet again. She caused the upset to Osman’s winning streak by sending Osman to the ground with a jab and an awesome roundhouse kick, and followed through with several blows to her head.
Winner: Irina Mazepa via referee stoppage through strikes at round 1, 3.05mins