ONE: WARRIOR’S CODE was a martial arts extravaganza that was full of surprises.
The action in Jakarta, Indonesia on Friday, 7 February, gave fans some brand new insights into some new and established heroes of ONE Championship, and should make them very excited to see them again in the future.
Here is what we learned about five of the stars of the show.
#1 Petchmorakot Better From Kickboxing Experience
Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy is back to his best in his favorite sport and made history in Jakarta by claiming the inaugural ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title.
The 25-year-old from Bangkok was effective with his left kick and knee throughout his bout with Pongsiri PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym. He also found his mark with straight punches, but as the contest wore on, there was something a little different about the way he attacked.
Petchmorakot has spoken about the lessons he learned from his bouts against Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix, and his efforts to emulate the Italian’s punching ability. He showed some of that in Indonesia.
While the Thai star did not look like a mirror image of “The Doctor,” he showed a new facet to his game, particularly in the later rounds. He was lighter on his feet, circled, pumped his jab, and waited for the right moment to strike with his power hand.
The Ubon Ratchathani native was dangerous enough with his traditional Muay Thai offense, but with his ability to mix things up, he could be a difficult man to dethrone.
#2 Eko Roni Saputra Has Taken To Mixed Martial Arts
Before ONE: WARRIOR’S CODE, Eko Roni Saputra had spent such a short amount of time in the ring, it was difficult to see how he had adapted his skills for mixed martial arts.
Though the multi-time national wrestling champion was only in action for just short of four minutes on 7 February, he finally got the chance to show what he can do.
Once he scored a takedown against Khon Sichan, he made it clear that his BJJ work at Evolve in Singapore has paid off by showing the instinct to pass guard and secure his position before he struck with some effective elbows. Plus, when the opportunity to grab a submission presented itself, he jumped on it.
Perhaps we will see the 28-year-old show off some stand-up skills next time out?
#3 The Best Is Yet To Come From Matsushima
Lesser athletes than Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima might have been demoralized after they came up short in their first World Title match.
Though the 27-year-old from Yokohama was denied the gold by Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen last year, he picked himself up, went back to the drawing board and put on the most impressive performance of his career.
Matsushima faced a dangerous knockout artist in “The Fighting God” Kim Jae Woong, but the Japanese athlete did almost everything right to beat him in every area of mixed martial arts. “Moushigo” countered Kim’s striking with takedowns and his own power punches, and showed phenomenal finishing instincts to score a TKO in round three.
With such a brilliant performance, he showed he still has a bright future in the featherweight division.
#4 Naito Is Set To Be A Force In ONE Super Series
Japan’s Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito looked great in his first two bouts on the global stage last year, but he was even better against “The Baby Face Killer” Savvas Michael Petchyindee Academy.
The Cypriot is a two-time Muay Thai World Champion from one of the most renowned gyms in Thailand, but he was completely outclassed by the man from Aichi.
Naito is far more than just a run-of-the-mill practitioner of “the art of eight limbs.” His experience in kickboxing and shoot boxing makes him a brilliantly well-rounded striker in every range, and gave him an answer for everything Michael threw his way.
Two knockdowns gave him one of the most resounding wins by unanimous decision on the global stage, and the fact that it was against one of the best flyweights in the world proved he is capable of beating anyone – perhaps even Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon.
#5 Tonna More Dangerous Than Ever At Strawweight
Josh “Timebomb” Tonna had proved his skill with wins against Joseph “Hurricane” Lasiri and Yoshihisa “Mad Dog” Morimoto, but his latest victory showed him at his best.
With the launch of the strawweight division in ONE Super Series, the Australian can now compete at his natural weight class. That means he will not give up a size advantage, and his strikes will pack a ton more power.
That showed against British Muay Thai legend Andy “Punisher” Howson. Unlike in his previous match-ups, Tonna did not start slowly – he matched his rival in the first round, and then took over in the second. He marched forward to land hard knees to the body and then closed the show with a thunderous knee to the head.
It will be fascinating to see what else the ISKA K-1 World Champion can do against the other strawweights now he has found his home.