Representing Vietnam and Australia, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, 30, successfully defended his title as the reigning champion of ONE Championship’s featherweight division. He defeated his challenger Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima, 26, of Japan in the main event of ” ONE: Dawn of Heroes.”
Featuring 12 mixed martial arts matches and two Muay Thai matches, “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” took place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Nguyen was one of the two fighters who represented Australia but solely represented Vietnam while Matsushima was one of the six representatives of Japan.
Olivier Coste served as the referee of the title bout between Nguyen and Matsushima. With his solid ground game, the Japanese challenger put the pressure on the Vietnamese-Australian defending champion early in the opening round.
In the second round, Nguyen was able to make the necessary adjustments as he picked apart his tired opponent with a barrage of strikes. Coste put a stop to the title bout after 4 minutes and 40 seconds in the second round when the defending champion knocked out his challenger via ground and pound.
Winning at “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” improved the professional MMA record of Nguyen to 13 wins and 3 losses on the other hand, Matsushima now has 11 wins and 4 losses. Joining the successful defending champion in the ring were his wife Brooke Nguyen, his coach Henri Hooft, 52, and his friends and fellow ONE Championship athletes “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang, 25, and ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, 33, who are both from Myanmar.
“ONE: Dawn of Heroes” marked Nguyen’s 13th ONE Championship outing and his third successful title defense as the ONE Featherweight World Champion. His first two unsuccessful challengers were Christian “The Warrior” Lee, 20, of Singapore and Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa, 43, of Mongolia.
Aside from Matsushima, Jadambaa and Lee, Nguyen defeated six other opponents in ONE Championship. They were the late Rocky “The Outlaw” Batolbatol of the Philippines, Edward “The Ferocious”Kelly, 35, of the Philippines, “The Underdog” Li Kai Wen, 23, of China, Kazunori Yokota, 41, of Japan, former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov, 34, of Russia, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 34, of the Philippines.
When Mitch Chilson asked Nguyen what he was looking forward to during his “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” post-fight interview in the ring, the Vietnamese-Australian champion said he wanted a trilogy but did not add details. Both Lee and Gafurov fought Nguyen twice.
More photos of the bout between Nguyen and Matsushima are on Top Sports Asia. Meanwhile, here is a clip from the press conference: