This coming weekend, a new bantamweight king will reign supreme.
On Friday, 27 July, ONE Championship will return to the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, for its latest blockbuster event ONE: REIGN OF KINGS.
Both men are known for finishing bouts by thrilling knockout – and so are many of the other athletes who make up the rest of the stacked card.
To help prepare you for an incredible night of action, check out these six knockout artists and their most impressive finishing blows.
Martin Nguyen’s Stunning Overhand Strike
The amazing thing about Martin Nguyen’s signature technique is that his opponents almost certainly know it is coming, but they usually cannot do anything to stop it.
His overhand right is thrown with such speed, it lands before they have a chance to react, and it connects with such force, they usually do not get a chance to respond.
Nguyen identified the perfect time to attack when the then-ONE Featherweight World Champion threw an inside leg kick at the start of the second round. The Russian had already lost some of his explosiveness after a grueling first five minutes, opening the window for a decisive strike.
As Gafurov stepped forward, he dropped his left hand, and a devastating punch looped onto his chin to plant him onto the canvas. The prone champion’s reign ended as the Vietnamese-Australian followed up with the final blows and the referee jumped in to stop the contest.
It was the biggest win of Nguyen’s career, and he earned his first World Title.
Kevin Belingon’s Devastating Spinning Back Kick
In April, at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon faced fellow former ONE Bantamweight World Title challenger Andrew Leone, and earned yet another highlight-reel finish.
In the opening round of this action-packed affair, the Baguio City native surprised everyone with a pair of takedowns on his American foe, who is a BJJ black belt and top-level wrestler. He also racked up several minutes of control from the top position.
After an impressive first stanza of grappling dominance, Belingon turned to his bread and butter in the second – his striking.
Almost a minute into round two, “The Silencer” floored Leone with an expertly-timed spinning back kick, sending him shooting backward across the ring. He followed that up with a volley of ground strikes, which forced the referee to stop the bout.
When Belingon returns at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, he will look to silence the most dangerous opponent of his illustrious career thus far – ONE Lightweight & Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen. “The Silencer” meets him for the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title in the main event.
Shannon Wiratchai’s One-Shot Stunner
When Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai steps into the cage with former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, he will aim to stop the Japanese icon from imposing his legendary submission skills by stopping him in his tracks.
A knockout like the one he picked up at ONE: IRON WILL in March would be the perfect outcome for the Thai mixed martial arts pioneer.
On that night in Bangkok, Wiratchai shared the cage with fearsome Indian warrior Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju.
Though his opponent had never been finished in his mixed martial arts career before, the Thai required only 21 seconds to produce a breathtaking knockout.
Just seconds after the opening bell rang, Raju raced forward and pushed “OneShin” backward with his jab.
The Indian striker attempted to unleash a combination of punches on the cornered Wiratchai, but that gave the Thai star the opportunity to unleash a beautifully-timed counter right hook.
A single shot was all it took. Raju fell face-first onto the mat, and Wiratchai earned the second-fastest knockout in the ONE lightweight division.
Garry Tonon’s Surprising Debut
Also at ONE: IRON WILL, five-time EBI Grappling Champion Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon stepped into the cage for his mixed martial arts debut. His opponent for this huge challenge was Filipino striker Richard “Notorious” Corminal.
Given Tonon’s long list of accomplishments in the grappling world, most people expected him to take the contest to the floor and search for a submission. In the end, however, the American proved he is far more than a pure grappler.
From the moment this lightweight contest began, it was clear he had spent countless hours sharpening his striking skills.
In the first round, he effortlessly switched stances, snapped with some nice kicks, and dropped his rival with a punch. In the second frame, “The Lion Killer” dragged the action to the canvas, where he showcased how effective he was with ground strikes.
Although Corminal hung tough, Tonon ultimately climbed into full mount, where he unleashed a meteoric shower of ground and pound. The referee had no choice but to intervene and stop the contest.
At ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, the increasingly versatile Tonon will look to take the next step in his martial arts evolution. He meets the aforementioned Raju, who is determined to make a better showing and stop the American’s rise.
Pongsiri Mitsatit Tames “The Jaguar”
On that evening in Yangon, Myanmar, the Northern Thailand Muay Thai Champion faced the Philippines’ Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado, and proved to be the better stand-up athlete.
Although Miado showed remarkable resilience in this contest, Mitsatit’s Muay Thai arsenal ultimately overwhelmed him. “The Smiling Assassin” lit him up with punches, and even dropped him with a lightning-fast leg kick towards the midway point of round two.
The end came in the final minute of the second frame. The exhausted Filipino went for a takedown, but Mitsatit masterfully defended, wound up in full mount, and connected with a pair of elbows to force his exhausted adversary to verbally throw in the towel.
Mitsatit, who recently took a break from his training to assist in the rescue operation of the Wild Boars football team, will look for another big stoppage victory at the expense of dangerous Filipino finisher Joshua Pacio at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS.
Rene Catalan’s First KO
Wushu World Champion Rene “The Challenger” Catalan always possessed formidable striking skills, but it was not until January at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE in Jakarta, Indonesia, when he secured his first mixed martial arts TKO victory.
He faced Chinese wrestler Peng Xue Wen, and he proved to be both the better striker and grappler.
Following a competitive first round, where “The Challenger” out-scrambled and out-struck the Chinese strawweight, he went for the finish in the waning moments of the second round.
Catalan sent Peng careening to the canvas with a beautiful two-punch combination. Then, he methodically circled around his fallen foe and jumped into side control, where he pelted him with a bombardment of ground strikes.
Though Peng displayed some remarkable toughness, there was only so much he could endure. The referee waved off the contest to save him from unnecessary damage, which ultimately gave Catalan his fourth consecutive victory.
The Filipino star looks to push his win streak to five on home soil at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, where he will clash with unbeaten Indonesian hero Stefer Rahardian.