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5 Big Lessons We Learned From ONE: REIGN OF VALOR

March 09, 2019

The stars of ONE Championship delivered a spectacular night of action on Friday, 8 March, as ONE: REIGN OF VALOR featured a slew of spectacular performances and a string of finishes that excited martial arts fans all around the globe.

A stacked card of kickboxing and mixed martial arts bouts thrilled the crowd at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, and produced a host of talking points.

Now, just hours removed from the show, here are the five biggest lessons we learned from the promotion’s first Myanmar event of 2019.

#1 Zebaztian Kadestam‘s Striking Is A Game-Changer

Superstar striker Zebaztian Kadestam TKOs Georgiy Kichigin to retain his ONE Welterweight World Title!

Superstar striker Zebaztian "The Bandit" Kadestam TKOs Georgiy Kichigin to retain his ONE Welterweight World Title!TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, March 8, 2019

ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam may have retained the gold, but he looked to be on the receiving end of Georgiy “Knight” Kichigin’s grappling-based offense for much of the main event.

Kichigin utilized his dominant wrestling skills to take the advantage in the opening stanza, and he looked to be well on top as the final seconds of round two ticked away.

However, the Swede owns the record for the most knockouts in ONE welterweight history for a reason, and his strikes always give him a chance to turn a contest in his favor.

That’s exactly what happened when he connected with a huge left elbow to his opponent’s temple, which eventually caused the stoppage between rounds as referee Kemp Cheng waved off the bout. 

Kadestam admitted he wasn’t in his best form, but we learned that his power and technique always give him a chance at victory — even when things seem to be going against him.

#2 Rene Catalan Is A Legitimate Strawweight Contender

Filipino warrior Rene Catalan makes it SIX wins in a row with a devastating TKO of former ONE World Champion Yoshitaka Naito at 4:32 of Round 1!

Filipino warrior Rene Catalan makes it SIX wins in a row with a devastating TKO of former ONE World Champion Yoshitaka Naito at 4:32 of Round 1!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, March 8, 2019

Rene Catalan’s nickname has never been so appropriate. 

“The Challenger” claimed the most significant win of his mixed martial arts career when he dispatched former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito. But even more impressive than achieving the victory was the fact that the Filipino did so in such emphatic fashion.

Catalan snuffed out Naito’s takedown threat before finishing him with strikes in the opening round. In doing so, he handed the Japanese competitor his third professional defeat, as well as the first stoppage loss of his career.

The 40-year-old Filipino accomplished something that former ONE Strawweight World Champions Alex “Little Rock” Silva and Joshua “The Passion” Pacio were unable to do in their victories over “Nobita.”

As a result, Catalan could potentially jump the queue and be granted a shot at the gold.

#3 Myanmar’s Stars Claim A Hat Trick On Home Soil

"I fight for Myanmar! I love Myanmar!"

"I fight for Myanmar! I love Myanmar!" TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, March 8, 2019

The event did not feature Myanmar’s biggest sporting icon, two-division ONE World Champion Aung La N Sang, but it did star a trio of local athletes who all delivered the goods. They grabbed their opportunities with both hands and elevated their statuses in the eyes of their countrymen.

Bozhena “Toto” Antoniyar kicked off a memorable Myanmar hat trick with a second-round TKO of Malaysia’s Audreylaura Boniface on the prelims.

This was followed by the debut of four-time Chin State Wrestling Champion “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang, who looked like a veteran when he defeated Cambodian striker Rin Saroth via unanimous decision on the main card.

Then, in the night’s co-main event, Phoe “Bushido” Thaw delivered a first-round finish of dangerous Indonesian grappler Yohan “The Ice Man” Mulia Legowo to complete the hat trick and send the Yangon crowd into raptures.

Mixed martial arts is on the rise in Myanmar, and with the likes of Phoe Thaw, Tial Thang, and Bozhena Antoniyar following in the footsteps of the great Aung La N Sang, the future looks bright.

#4 Tarik Khbabez Is A Dual Threat In ONE Super Series

Tarik Khbabez remains undefeated in ONE Super Series with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Andrei Stoica!

Tarik Khbabez remains undefeated in ONE Super Series with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Andrei Stoica!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, March 8, 2019

Dutch-Moroccan kickboxer Tarik Khbabez continued his relentless pursuit of ONE Super Series World Title gold in Yangon with a clear-cut unanimous decision victory over fellow SUPERKOMBAT World Champion Andrei “Mister KO” Stoica in the night’s featured preliminary bout.

Khbabez showed his incredible work rate and remarkable gas tank as he set a breakneck pace and maintained his intensity throughout the three-round ONE Super Series kickboxing light heavyweight clash. 

For such a big, strong striker, his ability to throw multi-punch combinations — seemingly without tiring — was truly a sight to behold.

With “The Tank” also claiming a win as a heavyweight in ONE Super Series, it’s clear the hard-hitter is a legitimate World Title threat — both at light heavyweight and heavyweight.

#5 ONE’s Stars Deliver A Feast Of Finishes In Yangon

FULL BOUT India's top martial artist Gurdarshan Mangat and Finnish warrior Toni Tauru left it all inside the cage

FULL BOUT India's top martial artist Gurdarshan Gary "Saint Lion" Mangat and Finnish warrior Toni Tauru left it all inside the cage Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp

Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, March 8, 2019

The atmosphere inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium clearly inspired the heroes at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR as they delivered a plethora of finishes.

In total, nine of the 14 bouts on the card had stoppages, with the night’s last five matches all ending by way of knockout or TKO.

With the passionate Myanmar crowd packing the stands and generating a raucous arena environment, the athletes pushed themselves to the limit as they chased the finish in each and every contest.

Even those bouts that went all the way to the scorecards produced thrilling action, with the competitors pursuing a stoppage all the way to the final bell.

It’s the type of action that has helped bring millions of fans to The Home Of Martial Arts and keeps us all coming back for more.