Team Lakay’s Danny “The King” Kingad and Fil-Australian Reece “Lightning” McLaren solidified their stature as top contenders of ONE Championship titles by disposing their respective opponents during ONE: Visions of Victory held at the Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 9, 2018.
After falling short in his bid to become a world champion last November, former flyweight title challenger Danny “The King” Kingad reinserted his name into the winner’s column, picking up a hard-earned unanimous decision victory at the expense of Bulgarian martial artist Sotir Kichukov.
Kingad impressed with a high-level striking and grappling performance in an incredible display of strength during the three fierce back-and-forth rounds with Kichukov. Kingad, who enjoyed most of the bout uncorking his lashing hooks and scoring successful takedowns, wore down Kichukov with hard blows from dominant positions.
Despite Kingad’s menacing advances, Kichukov did not go down easily as he fished for submission finishes both in the second and third rounds. However, Kingad powered himself out of Kichukov’s attempts and outlasted his opponent to rebound from his unsuccessful title shot attempt last November, 2017.
“The King” came out bursting to execute a takedown on Kichukov before moving into side control. He used Kichukov’s attempt to stand up as a spring board to take control of the Bulgarian from the back.
Kichukov recovered his composure after that initial flurry on the floor, and scrambled back to top position before the bout eventually returned to the feet for the end of the round.
Kingad applied the same technique in the second frame but his takedown almost got him a loss as Kichukov reverse it to a guillotine choke.
Kingad, however, escaped the hold and got his wushu striking going by landing some spectacular strikes. Kichukov managed to sneaked in another guillotine attempt as the bell sounded to end the round.
The third round began with Kichukov initiating an early scramble on the mat. Kingad kept the bout on their feet while “The Trouble” looked to take the fight on the ground.
Kichukov did saw an opportunity late in the round and got both men to the floor. He went to work on a rear-naked choke but could not finish the job as Kingad kept on striking his head with fists until the bell sound to signal the end of the fight.
In the end, all three judges were in agreement to award Kingad the win. The win should get Kingad in another high-level matchup later this year.
In the main event, the 26-year-old McLaren of Gold Coast, Australia, turned in a spectacular performance by routing Malaysian hometown hero Gianni Subba, solidifying his position as a top contender in ONE Championship’s stacked flyweight division.
McLaren flaunted his fluid striking, repeatedly hammering Subba with stinging punches and lashing leg kicks. In the end, McLaren’s impeccable ground game secured the finish for “Lightning” as he forced Subba to wave the white flag with an arm triangle submission in the second round to win in a ONE Flyweight World Championship title eliminator.
In the co-main event of the evening, 22-year-old Agilan Thani authored another awe-inspiring performance, overwhelming ONE Championship newcomer Amitesh Chaubey with his thunderous slams and powerful ground-and-pound.
The action began with strikes at the center of the ONE cage as Chaubey goaded Thani into a striking exchange.
Once Thani was able to close the distance however, the Malaysian wrestler dumped Chaubey onto the mat and easily transitioned into full mount. From top position, Thani blasted Chaubey with ground strikes to finish the round. The second round saw much of the same from Thani, but after another overhead slam that ended in side control, “Alligator” immediately sourced an Americana to force the tap.
With another spectacular performance, 19-year-old Christian “The Warrior” Lee marched to victory once more, submitting Japanese veteran Kazunori Yokota with a deep guillotine choke in the second round.
Lee overwhelmed Yokota from start to finish, keeping his opponent on the defensive with his striking before taking matters to the ground. On the mat, Lee continued to dominate, easily transitioning to full mount while punishing Yokota with hard blows. In the second round, Lee sunk in a guillotine choke, leaving Yokota with no other option but to tap.
In a gruelling three-round contest, Luis “Sapo” Santos of Brazil overcame a tremendous effort from ONE Championship newcomer Kiamrian Abbasov of Kyrgyzstan to win by unanimous decision.
The 38-year-old veteran displayed his familiar power early, tagging Abbasov with thudding high kicks and sharp combinations. Despite Santos’ striking dominance however, Abbasov was able to survive the onslaught and take the Brazilian to the final bell. In the end, all three judges scored in favor of Santos.
Eight-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Michelle Nicolini aced her third assignment in ONE Championship, putting Ukrainian opponent Iryna Kyselova to sleep courtesy of a wrenching rear naked choke in the first round.
Nicolini wasted no time in taking matters right into her comfort zone on the mat, effortlessly converting on a takedown attempt from the get-go. Once on the canvas, Nicolini worked her magic and finished Kyselova by submission.
“Cannon” Ma Jia Wen of China showcased incredible grit and toughness as he overcame a furious start from Pakistan’s Ahmed Mujtaba to win by submission.
Mujtaba stormed out of the gates, immediately scoring a takedown and then positioning himself on top to pummel Ma with ground strikes. Ma was able to return to his feet however, and towards the end of the round, he landed a beautiful left hook to the chin that sent Mujtaba crashing to the canvas.
By the start of the second frame, Mujtaba appeared exhausted, prompting Ma to capitalize on the opportunity. Ma’s ground-and-pound and positional control gave him the perfect opening to fasten a bout-ending choke to earn the victory.
Rising star Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman of Malaysia sent his hometown crowd into a frenzy with an inspiring performance, sneaking just past Cambodia’s Rin Saroth on the judges’ scorecards to win by three-round unanimous decision.
Although Saroth put up a spirited effort, peppering Aiman with his khun khmer strikes, the Malaysian employed a well-rounded offense featuring solid mat work to score the hard-earned victory.
19-year-old “Shadow Cat” Jihin Radzuan made her highly-anticipated ONE Championship debut a successful one, impressing fans with her crisp striking and solid jiu-jitsu to defeat opponent Puja Tomar via second-round submission.
It was an exciting contest to start off but after Radzuan got her rhythm, Tomar began having difficulty fending off submission attempts. In the end, a triangle choke from Radzuan forced the tap at the 2:23 minute mark of round two.
Kicking off the action of the night were Cambodia’s Khon Sichan and Indonesia’s Riski Umar, who gave fans three gruelling rounds of maximum effort. After an intense exchange of striking and grappling, it was Sichan who was able to pull away slightly on the scorecards to win by split decision.
Full results of the event:
Flyweight bout: Reece McLaren defeats Gianni Subba by Submission (Arm Triangle) at 3:12 minutes of round 2
Welterweight bout: Agilan Thani defeats Amitesh Chaubey by Submission (Americana) at 1:04 minutes of round 2
Featherweight bout: Christian Lee defeats Kazunori Yokota by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 4:34 minutes of round 2
Catchweight bout (63.0kg): Danny Kingad defeats Sotir Kichukov by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
Welterweight bout: Luis Santos defeats Kiamrian Abbasov by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
Women’s catchweight bout (60.0kg): Michelle Nicolini defeats Iryna Kyselova by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:26 minutes of round 1
Catchweight bout (72.3kg): Ma Jia Wen defeats Ahmed Mujtaba by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:38 minutes of round 2
Bantamweight bout: Muhammad Aiman defeats Rin Saroth by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
Women’s atomweight bout: Jihin Radzuan defeats Puja Tomar by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 2:23 minutes of round 2
Catchweight bout (62.5kg): Khon Sichan defeats Riski Umar by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS