The world’s largest martial arts organization capped off an incredible year with nine action-packed battles at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II.
There were six finishes and three exciting decisions inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium last Friday – and every one of those fights had major implications for their featured divisions in 2022.
Before we turn the page, here are three big takeaways from the matchups that ended 2021 in style.
#1 Akhmetov Is Ready For Moraes Trilogy
The former ONE Flyweight World Champion had already made it clear that a rubber match against reigning king Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes is his top priority, and he looked more than ready against #2-ranked Kingad.
“The Kazakh’s” wrestling and dominant top control would make for another interesting tussle with BJJ specialist Moraes. And both athletes have continued to improve their all-around skill sets, which could produce a World Title trilogy for the ages.
Third-ranked contender Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu might get the next shot at Moraes, but with Akhmetov and “Mikinho” level at 1-1 after 10 shared rounds, there’s now a bigger demand than ever for them to settle their score.
- The Best Pictures From ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II
- Akhmetov Outwrestles Kingad To Win Battle Of Flyweight Contenders
- Loman Relives Knockout Debut, Wants Another Top-Ranked Contender
#2 Young Blood Freshens Up Bantamweight MMA Division
The bantamweight mixed martial arts division was certainly under the spotlight on Friday night, with four bouts on the card featuring top-ranked contenders and rising stars.
Three of the top five were in action, but only one of them left the Circle with a win – so fans should expect some major changes to the Official Athlete Rankings.
On the evening’s lead card, #4-ranked bantamweight Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade used slick striking to earn a first-round knockout over “The Underdog” Li Kai Wen. The Brazilian improved to 3-0 in ONE, with each of his wins coming against high-level opposition.
Team Lakay then produced a pair of dominant debut performances, with 19-year-old phenom Jhanlo “The Machine” Sangiao scoring an impressive first-round submission victory over Paul “The Great King” Lumihi, and Stephen “The Sniper” Loman knocking out #3 contender Yusup “Maestro” Saadulaev.
Then in the co-main event, #2-ranked Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon was stopped with a wince-inducing liver shot by South Korean finisher “Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il, who now steps into the World Title picture after moving to 3-0 on the global stage.
The four victors are all exciting names to watch and own ferocious stand-up skills, ensuring that bantamweight will be a prime division to watch in 2022.
#3 A Legitimate Threat To Abbasov’s Gold Emerges
The Dagestan Fighters representative completely shut down his Swedish rival’s offense, using both wrestling and ground-and-pound to pour on the pressure across three rounds.
Ramazanov’s previous victories had been impressive enough, but the way he handled one of the division’s biggest names marked him out as a bona fide threat to reigning welterweight king Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov.
It would take a lot to derail Abbasov, but the Russian’s grappling has been unstoppable so far, and it would certainly ask questions of the Kyrgyz superstar.