After fireworks erupted at the state-of-the-art SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on April 20, 2018, ONE Championship shifts focus immediately to its next blockbuster event in Jakarta, Indonesia on May 12, 2018. Taking place at the Jakarta Convention Center, “ONE: Grit and Glory” features a highly-anticipated strawweight championship rematch between newly-minted division kingpin Alex Silva of Brazil and Yoshitaka Naito of Japan as its headliner.
Silva and Naito initially crossed paths on December 9, 2017 at “ONE: Warriors of the World” at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. The Brazilian challenger shocked the world by dethroning the Japanese champion for the ONE Strawweight World Championship by unanimous decision.
“I was very emotional and excited,” Silva recalled. “I talked to my cornermen after every round, and they said I was doing okay and doing good, so I was pretty confident I would be the winner. I was very emotional and happy by the time they announced my name as the winner.”
Silva wrapped the coveted gold-plated strap around his waist following a dominant striking performance, unveiling a new dimension to his evolving skillset by putting together dynamic combinations. Figuring in an offensive clinic against his Japanese counterpart, he overwhelmed Naito from the beginning of the bout, peppering his opponent with lashing leg kicks and rocking right hands.
Although Silva had the upper hand in the first three rounds of the championship clash, he had to overcome a spirited performance from Naito, who did his best effort to wear down the Brazilian challenger in the last two periods of the contest. Relying on his exquisite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background, Silva managed to defend Naito’s grappling advances to walk out of the Impact Arena with the unanimous decision victory and the prestigious ONE Strawweight World Championship in his possession.
“I am very happy about my performance because people usually see me as a grappling guy,” Silva stated. “I know my skills, and I know I can strike. Because I was competing in Thailand, I wanted to put on a good show for people, so I came up with this plan to strike with him.”
Here is a clip from the bout between Silva and Naito at “ONE: Warriors of the World” in Bangkok: