Featuring 11 bouts, “ONE: Reign of Kings” is the third of the four ONE Championship events scheduled in the Philippines in 2018. On the fight card were eight mixed martial arts bouts and three matches under the promotion’s striking-only league ONE Super Series.
The ninth bout of the evening was an MMA bout between Renzo Gracie, 51, of Brazil and Yuki “Sora” Kondo, 43, of Japan. They both made their ONE Championship debut as they competed in the welterweight division.
Gracie made a triumphant return to MMA competition after eight long years, having his hand raised in victory at the expense of Kondo. Following a lengthy feeling-out process between the two grizzled veterans in the first round, the Brazilian martial arts legend shifted gears in the second frame and immediately drove the Japanese martial arts pioneer to the mat.
Not much action took place in the first round forcing referee Olivier Coste to show a yellow card. But in the second round, Gracie took Kondo’s back and fastened a wrenching rear naked choke with no hesitation, which left the Japanese contender no choice but to tap.
Losing to Gracie at “ONE: Reign of Kings” downgraded Kondo’s professional MMA record to 60 wins, 35 losses and 9 draws. On the other hand, Gracie improved his record to 14 wins and 7 losses.
The victory at “ONE: Reign of Kings” is a redemptive win for Gracie. Eight years before joining ONE Championship, he lost to Matt Hughes, 44, of the United States at “UFC 112.”
The press conference for “ONE: Reign of Kings” took place at the City of Dreams Manila in Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines on July 24, 2018. The fight night took place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila on July 27, 2018.
Watch the bout between Gracie and Kondo at “ONE: Reign of Kings” here: