ONE Championship’s return home to Singapore on Friday, May 26 shaped up to be one of the organization’s most exciting cards for this year as fireworks erupted inside the 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium.
With a solid lineup centered around an epic main and co-main event, ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES lived up to its blockbuster billing as the world’s best martial artists delivered excitement and non-stop action.
(photos from ONE Championship)
Singapore was sent into a frenzy last Friday evening as hometown hero Angela “Unstoppable” Lee overcame a tough opponent in Istela Nunes to win by second-round submission, retaining her ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship in front of a roaring Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The atmosphere was electrifying as confetti rained down on Lee following her victory, marking the second-straight successful defense of her coveted gold-plated strap.
“I really love you guys and it’s an honor to fighter here in Singapore as your champion. To everyone who is watching from all around the world, thank you guys so much, it means the world to me,” Lee said.
Behind her well-rounded offense, Lee stifled Nunes with accurate striking and a smooth grappling game, eventually submitting the two-time Muay Thai world champion via anaconda choke in the second round.
“The anaconda choke is one of our favorites, so I was really happy to win with that submission tonight,” Lee shared.
“I’m maturing as a fighter, but I still have so much to learn. That’s the exciting part. I feel like I’m not even close to my peak or my potential yet,” she added.
Aside from Lee, throughout the evening, there were other great warriors who prevailed against the biggest names in Asian martial arts today.
A lot of hype surrounded the evening’s co-main event as American mixed martial arts superstar Ben “Funky” Askren staked his ONE Welterweight World Championship title against Malaysian prospect Agilan “The Alligator” Thani.
Thani was undoubtedly a game challenger as he came into the welterweight championship clash with a perfect 7-0 record, owning four submission victories and three knockout triumphs.
However, Askren made it look easy at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES as he submitted his Malaysian challenger with an arm triangle choke at the 2:20 mark of the opening salvo.
“I did exactly what I said I was going to do. I landed a few punches, landed a kick, made the clinch, got the takedown, and got to all my strong positions, which is the crucifix position. And when I get to that position I land a lot of damage,” Askren shared.
“I was able to land a few elbows, a whole bunch of punches, and then he was able to get out of it. I got him back down, and the arm triangle — once you beat some people up, a lot of times the arm triangle will present itself. I hunted it there, and I found it,” he further explained.
The biggest upset of the evening was the victory of promotion newcomer Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam against former ONE Welterweight World Championship title contender Luis “Sapo” Santos.
Kadestam, a top-ranked Swedish athlete who made his name fighting in the Philippines, looked to use Santos as a springboard to stardom as he achieved just that with a scintillating stoppage win.
In other action, Garry Tonon submitted ex-ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki with a heel hook in their highly-anticipated grappling super-match.
Former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke dispatched Indonesia’s Adrian Matheis with punches in the first round of their strawweight pairing, while Filipino fighter Geje Eustaquio claimed a split decision win over Thai rival Anatpong Bunrad in a three-round flyweight rematch.
Moreover, Singaporean sensation Amir Khan struck India’s Rajinder Singh Meena into submission 1:29 into the first round of their lightweight scrap.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Tiffany Teo took a unanimous decision from American veteran Rebecca Heintzman-Rozewski in a three-round strawweight encounter.
Thai standout Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige continues to impress as she submitted Nita Dea of Indonesia with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their atomweight affair.
ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES kicked off with a catchweight contest, where Chen Lei put away Jeremy Meciaz with punches in the first round.
ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong did not mince words of delight and exuberance about the affluent turnout of the event.
“Through our real-life superheroes at ONE Championship, we have the awesome power to ignite hope, celebrate values, create dreams, inspire nations, and change the world. I am so happy with the overall result of this huge event in Singapore. We’re just warming up. Expect bigger things for the rest of the year,” he said.