5 Major Takeaways From ONE Fight Night 18: Gasanov Vs. Oh On Prime Video
On Friday, January 12, ONE Championship returned to U.S. primetime for the first time this year with nine exciting martial arts contests at ONE Fight Night 18: Gasanov vs. Oh on Prime Video.
Fans filtered into Lumpinee Boxing Stadium and experienced nonstop action that lifted them from their seats. On that night, contenders set the tone for the year, warning their divisional kings that they are coming for the crowns they wear.
That said, here are five lasting takeaways from a stage-setting night in Bangkok, Thailand.
Gasanov Sets Himself Up For Huge 2024
The featherweight MMA division is just starting to heat up this year. Top-ranked Garry Tonon and #3 contender Martin Nguyen collide at ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru on Sunday, January 28. Weeks later, ONE Featherweight MMA World Champion Tang Kai meets interim king Thanh Le to unify belts at ONE 166: Qatar on Friday, March 1.
Gasanov out-grappled his South Korean counterpart for 15 minutes. The extensive scrambles almost always ended in his favor. And, when he could, Gasanov tallied up more points with bursts of ground-and-pound.
Gasanov ensured his spot among the elite. In fact, he may have positioned himself as the next threat to the featherweight title. “The Cobra” is set to strike as the division has two of its most important bouts coming in the next two months.
Suablack Throws Name Into Bantamweight Mix
Suablack Tor Pran49 earned himself a six-figure contract and a U.S. primetime debut after four straight finishes under Muay Thai rules on ONE Friday Fights in 2023.
Fueled by the opportunity to showcase his skill set to ONE’s global audience, the Thai star put on the most exciting fight of Friday night against Ireland’s Stefan Korodi.
Korodi raised his hands, thinking he had Suablack finished after he scored the first knockdown of the match. However, the Tor Pran49 star made the eight-count and crushed Korodi with a left elbow that shifted the bout back in his favor. Then, Suablack added yet another knockdown by yet another elbow before the end of the frame.
The Irishman tried to reclaim the fight in the third canto but was exhausted after the previous round. Suablack, for his part, was able to cruise toward the unanimous decision win.
With the victory, Suablack entered his name onto the growing list of contenders aiming for the winner of the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title fight between divisional king Jonathan Haggerty and #2-ranked Felipe Lobo at ONE Fight Night 19 on Friday, February 16.
Kwon Is Ready For Redemption
From his entrance all the way to his post-match interview, the one word that describes #3-ranked bantamweight MMA contender “Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il at ONE Fight Night 18 is electric.
Kwon’s slick movement kept him outside of Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg‘s range and allowed him to land effectively. Feeling he needed something different, the Mongolian attempted a guillotine choke that proved costly.
The South Korean peeled Zoltsetseg’s hand away, popped his head out, and began delivering crushing ground-and pound-strikes. As elbows connected, the bone-on-bone sound reverberated off the walls of Lumpinee Boxing Stadium and referee Herb Dean stopped the match.
After his third consecutive win in ONE, “Pretty Boy” used the microphone to his advantage. The 28-year-old called out the last man to defeat him — ONE Bantamweight MMA World Champion Fabricio Andrade.
As perhaps the most entertaining bantamweight in — and out — of the ring, Kwon may have very well earned his coveted rematch with his all-around stellar showcase on Friday night.
Belakh Reconfirms Contender Status
But with ONE Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion Anatoly Malykhin in his corner, the Russian turned the fight on its head in one fell swoop.
A jumping switch knee from Belakh connected on Baatarkhuu’s chin in the waning seconds of the second round, sending the Mongolian against the ropes. As fans’ jaws dropped, a match-ending combination followed.
Belakh tagged Baatarkhuu with five elbows and two punches, causing the fight to come to an abrupt end. With the victory, Belakh not only defended his #4 slot but also re-established himself in the stacked featherweight division.
Lightweight Muay Thai Contender Pool Deepens
The chase for a shot at ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Champion Regian Eersel continued when Liam Nolan and Rungrawee “Legatron” Sitsongpeenong scored two outstanding wins in their respective fights.
Nolan had a workmanlike performance against promotional newcomer Ali Aliev. Although he had to combat his Russian foe’s length, the 26-year-old turned up the heat with attacks from every angle to take a unanimous decision victory.
“Legatron” was even more dominant in his bout two matches later. Following a knockdown in the first round, Rungrawee sent Shakir Al-Tekreeti to the mat three more times in the second, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
After a thrilling night of lightweight Muay Thai action inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, it became clear that Eersel is in for a busy year. The sharks are circling the water, and the ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Championship is the chum sparking the frenzy.