On Friday, 10 January, ONE Championship kicked off what promises to be its greatest year ever with another extraordinary evening of martial arts at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW.
The 12-bout card in Bangkok, Thailand, brought thrilling action to the Impact Arena throughout the night and gave us brand new insights into some of The Home Of Martial Arts’ biggest stars.
Here are just five of our big takeaways from an incredible evening in the Thai capital.
#1 Rodtang’s Body Blows Are Too Much To Take
Jonathan “The General” Haggerty showed tremendous heart to get off the canvas when he was dropped in the first round of his rematch with Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon, but a sustained assault to his body was just too much to take.
The Thai knockout artist defended his ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title in style in the main event by making good on his pre-match prediction. He said that he did not think his challenger would be able to handle his attacks to the midsection, and he was right.
In the third round, Rodtang went back to the well and unloaded with a deluge of rib-roasting attacks, and it was not too long before the Englishman was on the ground again.
Haggerty rose once more, but with plenty of time to work the 22-year-old from Bangkok easily picked his shots, knowing that his rival’s resistance was almost broken. Before long, he had connected flush to the body again and again to score two more knockdowns and the TKO.
#2 Stamp Is Getting Comfortable On The Ground
Stamp Fairtex may be a striker, but she looks just as dominant when she grapples with women from ONE’s atomweight division.
Just as she did against Asha “Knockout Queen” Roka last August, she took total control of her bout with Puja “The Cyclone” Tomar as soon as it hit the mat.
The first time the contest went horizontal, it was from a well-executed Tomar trip, but Stamp had no trouble stopping her from getting any advantage and returning to her feet. The next time they touched down, it was on Stamp’s terms, and she was happy to stay there until she stopped the match with strikes.
When the two-sport ONE World Champion started her mixed martial arts campaign, some of her division’s top contenders probably felt like they would hold a big advantage over her when it came to wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, as Stamp continues to improve at the Fairtex training center, it looks more and more like she will be able to match many of her peers.
#3 Sangmanee Found His Groove In ONE Super Series
Sangmanee “The Million Dollar Baby” Sathian MuayThai thought he could have performed better in his ONE debut, and that prompted a phenomenal performance against Kenta Yamada.
In contrast to the five-round bouts he is used to in Bangkok’s Muay Thai stadiums, ONE Super Series’ rapid-fire three-round contests require a faster pace from the athletes so they can score a stoppage or leave an impression on the judges before their time runs out.
In contrast to his bout with Azize Hlali, Sangmanee set a high pace right out of the gate and overwhelmed Yamada with a non-stop barrage of strikes.
With seven Muay Thai World Titles to his name, the 22-year-old was one of the top talents on the Thai circuit, and now it looks like he has made the adjustments to reach the top on the global stage.
#4 Shinechagtga Is Worthy Of His OWS Contract Win
Not every athlete that has emerged from Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series (OWS) has been able to translate their form to The Home Of Martial Arts’ main roster, but Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg picked right up where he left off against “Cannon” Ma Jia Wen.
The Mongolian martial artist’s time on the show was memorable for his trio of quick KOs, and he brought another one to the ring thanks to a sensational overhand right.
Now 11-2-1, he has the experience as well as the finishing ability to be a real threat in the featherweight division.
#5 Miura’s Scarf Hold Must Be Avoided
Ayaka Miura has entered the ONE ring for three match-ups now, and she has pulled off her signature scarf-hold Americana each time.
It was surprising to see Maira Mazar escape after the Japanese judoka went for the submission in the first round, and a lesser athlete may have tired herself out with the effort she put into the attempt.
However, Miura showed that she is a different class of athlete by going for it again after the restart with the same vigor. On that occasion, nothing was going to stop her from getting her way.
Future opponents may have to knock out the Tribe Tokyo MMA representative because it seems like nothing else is going to stop her from forcing the tap with her favorite technique.