On Friday, 3 June, ONE Championship sent a tidal wave of martial arts action crashing into the shores of every continent.
At the start of ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen, a slow rumble built. But by the time the main event ended, fans were wading neck deep in the roiling waters of the excitement.
After seven brilliant finishes unfolded inside the Circle at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, we look at five of the biggest takeaways from this past weekend’s spectacle.
#1 Tawanchai Promises To Be Petchmorakot’s Biggest Threat
At ONE 157, Petchmorakot Petchyindee continued his reign as the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion by the skin of his teeth. But at ONE 158, #5-ranked featherweight contender Tawanchai PK.Saenchai dominated with a second-round KO of Niclas “Dreamchaser” Larsen.
Now the two Thai stars will meet sometime in 2022, and the fight has the makings of an instant classic.
In every bout, Tawanchai brings with him explosive power to the Circle, which will no doubt trouble Petchmorakot’s reign as divisional king. In fact, each of the PK.Saenchai man’s three wins in The Home of Martial Arts has ended by KO.
From his spectacular debut against Sean “Clubber” Clancy to his most recent finish of Larsen, the 23-year-old’s climb has been dazzling. His highlight reel already contains the stuff legends are made of, and winning a ONE World Title would cap off his young run in the promotion.
On the other hand, Petchmorakot’s string of five consecutive wins on the global stage has been nothing short of amazing. But because of the gold target he wears around his waist, he has to perform to the best of his abilities in every match. And so far, the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion has done just that.
When these two featherweights meet later in 2022 though, all that could change.
#2 Explosive Andrade Gets Closer To Gold
While many see him as the next greatest athlete of the bantamweight division, he believes his future is now – and rightfully so.
The 24-year-old has been almost perfect inside the Circle, scoring four of his five promotional wins by KO or submission.
Every tool that a World Champion needs, “Wonder Boy” has. Because of this, the dynamic Brazilian has stepped into the World Title picture.
With his confidence now shining brighter than a lighthouse beacon, Andrade wants his shot at gold. And newly minted ONE Bantamweight World Champion John “Hands of Stone” Lineker has surely taken notice of the man on his heels.
#3 Akhmetov Proves He’s Ready For Another World Title Shot
The performance may have proven that he is ready to challenge for the ONE Flyweight World Championship once again. However, the former divisional king has to wait his turn.
Having said that, Akhmetov could very well face the winner of Moraes-Johnson sometime down the line.
While nothing is guaranteed, “The Kazakh’s” outstanding victory this past Friday proved his status as one of the division’s elite and kept him at the forefront of the flyweight division.
#4 Veteran Silva Continues To Impress
After absorbing a controversial stoppage loss to Adrian “Papua Badboy” Mattheis at ONE: LIGHTS OUT, Alex “Little Rock” Silva came out determined to set the record straight at ONE 158 – and that he did.
Silva weathered an early storm by Mattheis, but once he secured a body-lock takedown, the match swung in his favor.
“Little Rock” transitioned from one submission to the next like an octopus outwrestling a crab before finding an inside heel hook to get the first-round tap.
The former ONE Strawweight World Champion’s redeeming victory proved he is far from finished inside the Circle, but more importantly, that he could still dominate on the canvas.
ONE 158 was another message to the upper echelon of the stacked strawweight division that “Little Rock” is still rolling, and he’s ready to contend.
#5 ‘Buchecha’ Continues To Climb Heavyweight Division
However, the result was different from what everyone expected of the 17-time BJJ World Champion. Instead of using his grappling to add a third straight submission victory to his MMA resume, “Buchecha” rained down explosive ground and pound to score a first-round TKO.
With his highly decorated submission grappling background and his flawless entry into mixed martial arts, “Buchecha” is ready to take the next step up the division’s ladder.
It’s time to see the Brazilian superstar against a top contender. And, if he can get past that test, he won’t be too far away from heavyweight gold.