After an incredible first quarter of action, ONE Championship delivered a plethora of even more riveting performances in the second quarter of 2018.
Across April, May, and June, there were five shows, featuring explosive main events, epic rematches and back-and-forth battles of contenders that fans will not soon forget.
These are the five best mixed martial arts matches from the past three months.
#1 Aung La N Sang VS Ken Hasegawa
In June, a modern-day classic took place at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR, as the fans inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar saw their hero courageously battle the toughest opponent of his career.
What followed was five rounds of the most enthralling toe-to-toe action ever witnessed inside the ONE cage, as “The Burmese Python” and the Japanese middleweight competed deep into the championship rounds.
The two constantly traded their best strikes when they were on their feet, and scrambled for their lives on the canvas when the match hit the mat in the fourth stanza.
Eventually, it was Aung La N Sang who prevailed by knocking out Hasegawa with a colossal uppercut in the final round. The Myanmar hero successfully defended the ONE Middleweight World Title for the first time, and maintained his unbeaten run in his home country.
It was a sure-fire “Bout Of The Year” candidate, and one of the greatest matches ever staged in ONE Championship.
The athletes’ display of strength, skill, and courage was so great, ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong awarded them each a USD $50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus for their “extraordinary display of warrior spirit.”
#2 Adriano Moraes VS Geje Eustaquio II
The Filipino, however, has experienced significant growth since that time. He captured the interim belt this past January, and he showed his overwhelming improvement in the pair’s headlining rematch at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in June.
In the World Champion versus World Champion main-event tilt, the Team Lakay veteran dethroned the Brazilian flyweight king in front of a capacity crowd at the Studio City Event Center in Macau to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.
Eustaquio displayed terrific submission defense, as he effectively neutralized Moraes’ best weapon – his jiu-jitsu – while using his seasoned wushu skills to gain an edge in the striking exchanges.
The razor-close contest ebbed and flowed throughout five gripping rounds, and in the end, it was “Gravity” who earned the split-decision victory.
#3 Angela Lee VS Mei Yamaguchi II
Six months on from a horrendous car accident, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee made a remarkable comeback.
The unbeaten hero defeated her Japanese rival Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi in a thrilling five-round rematch at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS in her native Singapore to retain her belt, and keep her spotless record intact.
Lee and Yamaguchi were almost perfectly matched, as they battled back and forth throughout the 25-minute affair in the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Although “V.V.” pushed the Singaporean titleholder to the limits yet again, Lee was more dominant in the early going, particularly in the second frame when she nearly submitted her rival on more than one occassion.
Ultimately, Lee was a step ahead of Yamaguchi, and that led her to a second unanimous decision victory over the Japanese atomweight.
#4 Yoshitaka Naito VS Alex Silva II
Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito may have surrendered the ONE Strawweight World Title, and his flawless record, to Alex “Little Rock” Silva in December 2017, but the Japanese star redeemed himself at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY in the Jakarta Convention Center with a phenomenal showing to reclaim the gold.
Coming in as the challenger, Naito started out much more aggressively than in the first contest, as he took the battle to Silva and put the newly-crowned titleholder on the back foot.
“Nobita” mixed up his strikes with well-timed takedowns, and kept the upper hand for enough of the contest to earn the nod from two of the three judges. He took the split decision victory, and the belt.
This was a contest for the mixed martial arts purist. The technical skill on display from the two grappling experts was simply mesmerizing to watch.
#5 Danny Kingad VS Ma Hao Bin
The Filipino utilized his wushu skills to hold the edge in the stand-up portion of the contest, and he showcased improved takedown defense, as well as an impressive ability to scramble while on the mat, to ensure he was not overwhelmed in the grappling department.
Though Ma appeared to have the advantage on the ground, “The King” showed his grappling warranted respect, as he had great success in side control, attacking the Chinese National Wrestling Champion with ground and pound.
Overall, it was Kingad’s striking, plus his ability to outmaneuver Ma on the mat, that saw him take the victory on the scorecards after a breathless and, at times, wild encounter.