The match-ups at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE brought plenty of surprises to the Singapore Indoor Stadium as World Titles changed hands and new contenders emerged in the Circle.
These are the biggest lessons we took away after ONE Championship returned to your screens on Friday, 28 February.
#1 Todd Proves Stamp Is Human
Even when the Thai superstar went through adversity, she always seemed to find a way to draw on every last ounce of energy she had and pull out the win. However, that changed when she met Janet “JT” Todd for the second time and the Japanese-American did just enough to take the win via split decision.
Todd turned the tables in this rematch with her speed, sharp boxing, and hard low kicks as she followed a near-perfect game plan to the letter. Even when Stamp came on strong with a late surge, the challenger had the composure and enough gas in her tank to answer back.
Her reward was the nod from two judges and her first World Title to end Stamp’s kickboxing reign.
#2 Sam-A Too Crafty For His Young Challenger
Though the young Aussie had no fear and never stopped coming at the Thai legend with his dangerous boxing and fast kicks, his skills and speed were not at the same level as his veteran opponent and all three judges scored the contest in favor of Sam-A after five rounds.
With more than 400 bouts on his record, the icon of “the art of eight limbs” had more than 10 times as much pro experience, and it showed. When Ogden zigged, he zagged. If he fired his right hand, the Buriram native slipped back or to his left. If he kicked low, the veteran was ready to check more often than not.
Ogden looks like he has a bright future in The Home Of Martial Arts, but it just is not his time to climb to the top of the mountain right now while such a legendary athlete is still at the top of his game.
#3 “The Menace” Has Earned Her Shot
Seconds after the conclusion of her match with Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong declared that Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga had done enough to earn a shot at “Unstoppable” Angela Lee’s ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title.
That was hardly a surprise after the rising star from the Philippines added to a stunning result in her debut on the global stage with the most impressive win of her career.
Yamaguchi has twice gone to the wire against Lee, but she was well-beaten in Singapore by “The Menace,” who comprehensively outboxed her, expertly defended the Japanese athlete’s grappling offense, and outmuscled “V.V.” in the clinch to rough her up against the fence.
That took her to a win via unanimous decision and extended her perfect record to 7-0. The “Unstoppable” Singaporean is likely to present an even tougher challenge, but Zamboanga has never failed to rise to the occasion as a mixed martial artist.
#4 Worthen Is Adding Strings To His Bow
“Pretty Boy” Troy Worthen’s strategy in his first two ONE bouts was simple – get his opponent down, and unleash his ground and pound until the referee stepped in.
For his third assignment, Worthen was determined to show off some of the stand-up skills he has worked on at Evolve in “The Lion City” and he did. What made that most impressive was that his high-kicking display did not come against a rudimentary striker – he implemented it against a dangerous knockout artist, Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo.
Of course, “Pretty Boy” did not forget his wrestling roots. Abelardo had few answers for the American’s grappling offense when he chose to switch things up and do what he does best.
The more time Worthen has in the gym, the more he will improve, and that could be bad news for the other bantamweights.
#5 Chan Practices What He Preaches
As someone who teaches martial arts techniques and concepts to hundreds of thousands of followers through his MMAShredded website and social medial channels, you would expect Jeff Chan to have the skills to do the business in the Circle, as well as in the gym.
Judging by his performance against Radeem Rahman in the opening bout of the night in Singapore, the Canadian can back up everything he says in his tutorials and has absorbed even more wisdom on his travels than he has imparted.
Chan showed crisp striking and slick grappling as he controlled most of the action before he sunk in a second-round rear-naked choke to secure a submission win in his ONE debut.