Even with the hometown crowd behind him, Philippine mixed martial arts pioneer Eric “The Natural” Kelly could not get it going, falling to Brazilian Rafael Nunes in the second round, Friday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
This is Kelly’s fourth straight loss, all by way of stoppage. His record fell to 12-5, last tasting victory back in 2015.
The first round saw a lot of feeling out from both fighters. Kelly started out tentative while his Brazilian opponent was able to land a few clean shots. The Baguio-native’s first clean shot was a right straight with 1:51 left in the round. Seeing Kelly loosen up, Nunes quickly went for a shoot to score a takedown. Fortunately for Kelly, he was able to survive two submission attempts and end the round on top.
Trying to start the round aggressive, the 35-year-old Filipino went for a right front kick but was quickly caught by Nunes, who then threw Kelly down to the mat. Kelly tried to get up but the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu expert grabbed his opponent by the neck and secured a tight D’arce choke for the win.
Nunes raised his record to 11-1.
In a special Muay Thai showcase, Thai fighter Sam-A Gaiyanghadao stunned reigning WBA Super Bantamweight and interim WBC Super Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Joseph “Hurricane” Lasiri in the second round.
Gaiyanghadao holds a 364-46-9 kickboxing record while Lasiri is 31-5.
“It was an honor to fight in the first Muay Thai match in ONE Championship. I would like to thank them for the opportunity,” said Gaiyangghadao through a translator.
The match still implemented the three knockdown rule and a 10-point must-win scoring system but the fighters wore four-inch gloves while being limited to just five three-minute rounds. Moreover, the bout was held in a cage.
The stoppage came at the second round.
As the damage mounted, the Italian was knocked off his feet from a kick that rattled his entire upper body. Knowing that “The Hurricane” was stunned, Gaiyanghadao could smell the finish coming as he launched a pair of left hands that put Lasiri down on the canvas on two consecutive occasions.
The third knockdown of the round signified the end of the match, as the three-knockdown rule gave Gaiyanghadao the win at 2:30 of the second frame.
The Thai fighter did not close down his doors when asked if he will transition to MMA.
“Maybe yes, in the near future but I need to train more mixed martial arts,” Gaiyangghadao expressed.
ONE Changsha Bantamweight Tournament winner Ma Hao Bin (10-1) continued his winning ways by outlasting Sotir Kichukov (13-7) en route to a unanimous decision victory.
“I want to thank my coach for making me a better fighter,” Ma said.
The fighter known as the Southern Eagle was dominant in the first two rounds, displaying crisp striking and tenacious grappling. However, both fighters were visibly fatigued. Ma could not secure the finish while Kichukov did not display any sense of urgency to storm back.
“I am very emotional right now because I think I am closer to a ONE title shot,” the 24-year-old fighter added.
Japanese strawweight Hayato Suzuki (18-1-2) stamped his class over Brazilian Yago Bryan, putting on a grappling showcase.
Suzuki, who is coming off a loss against Alex Silva, immediately went for a takedown to start the bout. As Bryan tried to get back up, the 31-year-old fighter grabbed his opponent’s back to put more pressure on Bryan. With a minute left, Suzuki was able to sink a tight rear naked choke for the quick tap out.
Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia (11-4) put on a striking clinic against Evolve MMA’s Bruno Pucci (5-3) to open the main card.
Urrutia, 31, was connecting at all fronts throughout the contest. Instead of evading the shots, Pucci tried to exchange with the American. After bloodying Pucci, Urrutia was able to score the final blow, a right hook with 3:33 left, that forced Yuji Shimada to call a stop to the fight.
ONE: Global Superheroes results
January 26, 2018 – SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City
- Featherweight Bout: Rafael Nunes def. Eric Kelly via submission (D’arce choke) at Round 2, 1:32
- Muay Thai Bout: Sam-A Gaiayangdahao def. Joseph Lasiri via TKO at Round 2, 2:30
- Flyweight Bout: Ma Hao Bin def. Sotir Kichukov via unanimous decision
- Strawweight Bout: Hayato Suzuki def. Yago Bryan via submission (rear naked choke) at Round 1, 4:03
- Featherweight Bout: Emilio Urrutia def. Bruni Pussi via TKO (punches) at Round 1, 3:33
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