Well balanced MMA action in ONE FC: Warrior Spirit entertains despite being “main event-less”
Unfortunate injuries caused problems for ONE Fighting Championship and Warrior Spirit ended up with neither the title bout nor the replacement fighter for main event but the show went on smoothly and entertainingly and the Malaysian crowd at Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil last night enjoyed it quite thoroughly. It absolutely didn’t feel like I was in Kuala Lumpur ’cause the home crowd was highly responsive and loud despite the many the unfilled seats and sicker sound system. With that kind of atmosphere, it’d make any live event this much more fun and exciting.
Peter Davis brought down the stadium by winning thrilling battle against Alaa Mazloum
Choking with the “blade” of my wrist bone was one of the things Peter taught me very well in his classes at MuayFit back then and this time, he has shown just how effective the “RND” can be even when facing an enemy that seemed much stronger and confident (and cocky). With Adam Kayoom out of the picture, Peter Davis was once again in the centre of the locals’ attention (as you can see from the comments on my tickets giveaway here) and he exploded with urgency for the first time knowing that he can’t afford to lose yet another fight but he got caught by Mazloum and had himself in massive trouble. The Egyptian looked superior on standup as some may have expected and even when mounted by Peter, he managed to reverse in both occasions.
In round 2, Peter was back to his usual unaggressive self and kept trying to take Mazloum down but to no avail and seemed to be losing a lot by points. I believe at least half of the locals there were shaking their heads up to this point, so did I. But somehow he found Mazloum’s neck from the side (pretty much like how Eric Kelly did against Mitch Chilson in the first ONE FC event), climbed on his back, locked in with body triangle, they fell to the ground and the crowd in the stadium went crazy after Mazloum tapped, and so did I.
MMA fairytale: AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor wins Malaysian National Featherweight Championship
AJ Pyro lost both of his ONE FC fights before coming into this one, including the semi-finals of this tournament against Chee Jian Kai, but the rightful finalist was injured and AJ Pyro was handed the opportunity to step in to face Malaysia’s MMA pioneer Melvin Yeoh Chian Yik, who anyone would had thought it was in the bag for him if we judged by experience. It wasn’t the most entertaining fight ever but we could see AJ Pyro’s significant improvements under the wings of Mark Striegl and new UFC signing Will Chope. He was landing spinning back fists, takedowns and even controlled the ground well. Melvin didn’t do much and AJ Pyro got the unanimous decision win and it was an easy one for the judges to score.
After the fight, the emotional AJ Pyro revealed that he was in the Philippines last week, he loves the country and he will donate his win bonus of this fight for the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan. He also said that he wants to represent Malaysia and hopes that he will not need to face another fellow countryman again. It was like a scene from the ending of a movie but without heroic symphony playing in the background. Will Chee Jian Kai get to face AJ Pyro to decide who’s the rightful Malaysian National Featherweight champ? We’ll have to wait and see what Victor Cui decides to do.
Samir Mrabet proposes to girlfriend live during the event after his confident ONE FC debut win
Mrabet was extremely ecstatic and confident walking out to octagon and had his sponsors banner printed with a wedding proposal to his girlfriend Larissa. After winning the high level clinching and ground game battle via unanimous decision against fellow ONE FC debutant Steven Durr, the Monarchy MMA Gym founder got down to one knee during post-fight interview with Twitter-follow-unfollow desperado Jason Chambers and proposed officially live in front of the camera. She wasn’t in the stadium to give an answer so I don’t know if she said yes but either way, this brilliant little stun will definitely make him a rememberable fighter.
Gianni Subba, Saiful Merican, Nik Harris among the winning Malaysian fighters
Highly composed young prospect Gianni Subba finishes once again, this time by slamming fellow countryman Chen Yun Ting to the ground and punishing him with damaging elbows.
Saiful Merican continues to show improvements in disciplines other than his specialty (which is Muay Thai) and was smart to play it safe after dominating the first round and aware of his Tok Sophon‘s counter attacking strategy (either that or he was already burnt out). He was awarded with the unanimous decision win in the end.
MuayFit’s representative Nik Harris looked nervous and awkward during his walkout and introduction but his range and resilience proved to be too much for Zuli Silawanto to handle as the Indonesian veteran failed to start round three. If I’m not mistaken, this was perhaps the first Opponent’s Renunciation or Corner Stoppage win ever awarded in the ONE FC.
Raymond Tan was the only local fighter on the night to face a foreign fighter and lost. He allowed his American opponent Casey Suire to attempt guillotine chokes on him one too many times.
Victors of the last three bouts: Saadulaev, Ataides, Lokteff
After all that thrill of watching the homies fight, the locals who stayed on were treated with higher calibre MMA action between foreign fighters who’re more experienced. Heavyweight division battle between Chris Lokteff and Tony Johnson (whom the crowd was addressing as “fatty”) was a roller coaster battle with almost KO’s, ground-shaking takedowns and soccer kicks but in the end, Lokteff’s superior striking won him the unanimous decision. 5-time BJJ champ Leandro Ataides shockingly knocked Brayan Rafiq out cold in the first round. Ataides hesitated to follow up with punches as Rafiq landed face down and wasn’t moving at all until after the referee stopped the fight. Great sportsmanship shown by the Brazilian and another flawless victory for Evolve gym. Strangely, there weren’t live post-fight interviews with these winners, which were sort of disrespectful, I felt. Wonder where that Jason Chambers guy went.
The accidental main event bout between Russian Yusup Saadulaev and the undefeated Brazilian Shooto fighter Adriano Moraes was perhaps the fight of the night. Awesome display of ground skills from both fighters but Saadulaev landed more significant strikes countering Moraes’ advances on standup, ultimately spoiling the Brazilian’s ONE FC debut with a well deserved decision win.
ONE FC: Warrior Spirit was presented by TuneTalk. Next month, ONE FC: Moment of Truth in Philippines.
ONE FC 12: WARRIOR SPIRIT Full Results
Catchweight: Yusup Saadulaev def. Adriano Moraes | Split Decision | 3 rounds
Middleweight: Leandro Ataides def. Brayan Rafiq | KO (punch) | R1 4:14
Heavyweight: Chris Lokteff def. Tony Johnson | Unanimous Decision | 3 rounds
Lightweight: Peter Davis def. Alaa Mazloum | Submission (rear-naked choke) | R2 1:23
Flyweight: Gianni Subba def. Chen Yun Ting | TKO (ground elbows) | R1 3:03
Featherweight: AJ Lias Mansor def. Melvin Yeoh | Unanimous Decision | 3 rounds
Flyweight: Saiful Merican def. Tok Sophon | Unanimous Decision | 3 rounds
Featherweight: Samir Mrabet def. Steven Durr | Unanimous Decision | 3 rounds
Welterweight: Nik Harris def. Zuli Silawanto | Corner Stoppage | R3 0:00
Bantamweight: Casey Suire def. Raymond Tan | Submission (guillotine choke) | R1 3:28