ONE: Reign of Kings: Belingon defeats Nguyen to claim interim belt


ONE Championship returned to the fight-crazy city of Manila for Reign of Kings on 27 July. The successes of the evening were cornered by all four of the Filipino hometown heroes, and the three featured grappling legends.

Filipinos Claim Gold

In the battle for the interim bantamweight title, Kevin Belingon and Martin Nguyen scrapped it out for a full five rounds. Flurries of action punctuated the fight as both men took turns trading combinations and slipping loads of potential knockout shots. After the final bell sounded, it was Belingon’s hand that was raised to the decision of all three judges.

The frequency of his kicks and punches coupled with cage control were the keys to his victory.

Eduard Folayang gave a classic wushu performance with leg kicks that devastated Aziz Pahrudinov. Folayang was able to stuff or escape most of Pahrudinov’s shoots and sambo take downs and continually deliver damage. Folayang walked away with a highly deserved unanimous decision.

Joshua Pacio executed a perfect and lightning-quick plan against Pongsiri Mitsatit. He caught a kick for a takedown where he worked himself to mount and rained down the punches and elbows. However, the end didn’t come until Mitsatit turtled and Pacio took his back, securing a vicious kimura from the unorthodox position that folded the arm like origami.

Rene Catalan delivered what could be his best performance to date with a 3-round striking seminar on Stefar Rahardian punctuated with surprising throws, takedown stuffing and cage control. Catalan earned the unanimous decision, and ruined Rahardian’s undefeated record in the process.

Legendary Grapplers Surge

Shinya Aoki wasted no time in shooting on Shannon Wiratchai, leaving nothing to chance. He went for the bodylock takedown, worked to mount and elbowed Wiratchai’s face to bloody oblivion, earning him a very rare victory by TKO.

Renzo Gracie made a true comeback by tapping out Yuki Kondo in the second round by rear naked choke and scaling the cage for the crowd’s adulation. However, the first round was anything but exciting, and both men earned yellow cards. Renzo explained post-fight that he knew Kondo hit hard, so he was using the time to study him, and did exactly what he wanted in the second round, like his family “has been doing for 100 years – choking people!”

While it wasn’t a duplicate of his dominant debut, grappling ace Garry Tonon was able to get the submission from Rahul Raju. Rahul got in some punches, cage walked out of take downs, and disassembled two leg locks to impress with his survivability. Tonon finally rushed his work on the take down to back take and manipulated Rahul like a python for the tap to RNC.

In the opening fight, China’s young prodigy showed off his excellent grappling by getting a double leg takedown, switching positions like a fiend, and finally strangling hapless Lethwei proponent Sor Sey.

Official results: ONE: Reign of Kings

Interim Bantamweight World Championship

Kevin Belingon def. Martin Nguyen
Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds

Lightweight bout
Shinya Aoki def. Shannon Wiratchai
TKO (strikes) at 2:16 minutes of R1

Welterweight bout
Renzo Gracie def. Yuki Kondo
Submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:40 minutes of R2

Lightweight bout
Eduard Folayang def. Aziz Pahrudinov
Unanimous Decision

Lightweight bout
Garry Tonon def. Rahul Raju
Submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:27 minutes of R3

ONE Super Series (Muay Thai)
Chris Ngimbi def. Armen Petrosyan
Split Decision

ONE Super Series (Muay Thai)
Panicos Yusuf def. Han Zi Hao
Unanimous Decision

Strawweight bout
Joshua Pacio def. Pongsiri Mitstatit
Submission (armlock) at 3:37 minutes of R1

ONE Super Series (Muay Thai)
Chamuaktong Fightermuaythai def. Brown Pinas
Unanimous Decision

Strawweight bout
Rene Catalan def. Stefer Rahardian
Unanimous Decision

Featherweight bout
Xie Bin def. Sor Sey
Submission (guillotine) at 1:55 minutes of R1


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