After a six-week break in the schedule, ONE Championship resumed its 2018 event calendar in Shanghai, China, with an electrifying night of action.
On Saturday, 8 September, the organization held its latest spectacle ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON at the Baoshan Arena, and the bill featured several unforgettable moments.
There was an epic World Title defense, six highlight-reel finishes, and a pair of ONE Super Series Muay Thai bouts that thrilled fans all the way to the final bell. Every athlete who arrived in the Chinese metropolis came prepared to deliver fireworks, and did just that.
Although there were many incredible performances, here are the night’s five most massive highlights.
Xiong Jing Nan’s Huge Knockout
It could not have been a more perfect homecoming for “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan.
The 30-year-old Chinese hero successfully defended the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title for the second time. In the main event, she put on a masterful performance against gutsy Brazilian challenger Samara “Marituba” Santos.
Xiong fended off an early rear-naked choke attempt from Santos, and then proceeded to dominate her opponent.
She nearly finished the Brazilian in the first round with ground and pound, and came close to submitting her with an armbar in the second. Eventually, she sealed the win with a thudding hammerfist early in the third.
“The Panda” showed her dominance and created a memory in front of her countrymen that will last a lifetime. Now, the strawweight queen can focus on her next challenge — a title defense against ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee in November.
Amir Khan’s Record-Setting Performance
Amir Khan is already the reigning knockout king of ONE Championship, being the record holder for the most finishes via strikes in the promotion with eight.
On Saturday, the 23-year-old Singaporean leaned on his underrated jiu-jitsu prowess to set a pair of new benchmarks when he cleverly submitted Honorio “The Rock” Banario via rear-naked choke.
Khan clung to his Filipino rival’s back late in the opening stanza, and after having trouble locking in the hold, he tried pinning down the Team Lakay veteran’s left arm with his left leg.
Banario attempted to push the leg away, which gave the Evolve product the opening he needed to secure his right arm underneath his opponent’s chin to force the tap.
By submitting “The Rock,” Khan now also holds the record for most victories (11) and finishes (10) in the organization’s history.
Muhammad Aiman’s Submission Of “Rock Man”
“Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman got the most impressive victory of his career at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON.
The Malaysian bantamweight nullified “Rock Man” Chen Lei’s revered grappling, and turned the tables on him late in the second round.
As the undefeated Chinese warrior went for a takedown, Aiman brilliantly defended, quickly wrapped around his opponent’s body, and while standing, set up a rear-naked choke.
Once his left arm was under Chen’s neck, he locked in the submission, jumped on his adversary’s back, and then slapped on a body triangle. “Rock Man” had no choice but to submit.
Not only did “Jungle Cat” defeat the local hero in front of his home crowd, he ruined his foe’s spotless record, and beat the Shanghai Open BJJ Champion at his own game.
A Show-Stealing Kickboxing Contest
There may have been only a single ONE Super Series kickboxing match on the card, but Italy’s Mustapha “Dynamite” Haida and Australia’s Daniel “The Rock” Dawson captivated the crowd with what could have been the “Bout Of The Night.”
Dawson remained busy in the opening frame, but Haida landed the first crucial blow of the contest when he knocked down the multiple-time, multiple-discipline World Champion with a left head kick.
The Australian combat sports veteran would answer back. He was more aggressive in the later rounds, stung Haida with several clean shots, and constantly attacked.
Although it appeared Dawson was on his way to a comeback victory, the Italian made his move in the final 65 seconds of the contest.
He dodged a punch, and then cracked “The Rock” with a powerful left cross. Haida immediately turned up the heat, as he followed up with punches, cut through the Aussie’s defense with a knee, and then finished the job with a short left hook.
Stergos Mikkios And Han Zi Hao’s Martial Arts Spirit
Chinese Muay Thai World Champion Han Zi Hao’s family, friends, and countrymen were out in force to watch him compete at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON, and he did not disappoint.
He out-dueled Stergos “Greek Dynamite” Mikkios, and knocked down the Cyprus-based athlete twice en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Even though Mikkios did not get the win he so desperately desired, he displayed great sportsmanship by making sure he personally awarded Han with his winner’s medal.
It was a perfect show of martial arts spirit, and will live on long after his loss is forgotten.