The ONE Championship cage inspires martial arts superstars to achieve new levels of greatness as they strive to become a ONE World Champion.
In 2018 we watched countless examples of contests that saw athletes elevate their level of performance in thrilling battles across both mixed martial arts and ONE Super Series contests.
After scouring the 2018 library and our minds to remember the most impressive displays in the rings and cages of Asia in the last 12 months, the ONE panel has determined the best performances of the year.
These are the athletes who raised their games to the highest level to prevail on the global stage.
WINNER: Giorgio Petrosyan VS Sorgraw Petchyindee Academy
Who could be next for Giorgio Petrosyan? Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Italian kickboxing superstar Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan underlined his greatness with a technical display of kickboxing that few – if any – in the world could match.
Petrosyan demonstrated just why he is called “The Doctor” as he used surgical strikes to pick apart Sorgraw Petchyindee Academy over three rounds of ONE Super Series kickboxing action at ONE: HEART OF THE LION in Singapore.
The usually calm Petrosyan often eases his way into contests, but against dangerous Thai Sorgraw he came flying out of the gate and overwhelmed his opponent to such an extent that a first-round finish looked within reach.
Sorgraw regained a footing in the contest, but had no answer to Petrosyan’s next-level striking. The two-time K-1 World MAX Champion’s speed and accuracy kept the Thai on the back foot throughout.
The bout went the distance, but the unanimous decision was a formality as Petrosyan proved that very few kickboxers on the planet can live with him when he is at his very best.
Runner-Up: Kevin Belingon VS Bibiano Fernandes
Kevin ' The Silencer' Belingon SILENCED his doubters to take ONE gold!Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, December 17, 2018
In a sport like mixed martial arts where athletes are in a constant state of evolution, rematches often end up going the same way as the first encounter, but Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon bucked that trend with a stunning victory over Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes at ONE: HEART OF THE LION.
Fernandes submitted the Filipino in the first round of their first encounter, but “The Silencer” had evolved since them – from ‘just’ a dangerous striker into a well-rounded mixed martial artist with all the tools needed to become a World Champion.
Belingon’s vastly-improved takedown and submission defense, combined with his elite-level wushu meant he was able to neutralize Fernandes’ biggest weapon – black-belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – while he dominated the striking exchanges with his spectacular arsenal.
It all added up to the defining performance of Belingon’s career as he claimed a split-decision victory to win the ONE Bantamweight World Title.
Runner-Up: Nieky Holzken VS Cosmo Alexandre
Nieky Holzken's STUNNING ONE debut!Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, November 19, 2018
“The Natural” Holzken may only have appeared once for ONE Championship in 2018, but his lone outing showed the world all it needed to know about his credentials as one of the planet’s most dangerous strikers.
The kickboxing star put away Brazilian Cosmo “Good Boy” Alexandre with a perfect uppercut to serve his ONE Super Series rivals with a warning shot for 2019.
Holzken dominated the contest at ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM from the start, with his slick hands and relaxed style showing the fans that there was no danger of jitters for his first appearance on the global stage for martial arts.
After a stiff straight left hand sent Alexandre staggering across the cage towards the fence, the Dutch superstar unleashed a huge right hand that folded up Alexandre for a highlight-reel knockout and a dream debut victory.
Runner-Up: Eduard Folayang VS Amir Khan
Who's next for Eduard "The Landslide" Folayang? Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, November 30, 2018
But Folayang’s display was so much more than that, as he took his skill and intensity to new levels to outclass surging contender Amir Khan throughout their five-round contest in Manila, Philippines.
Folayang leaned on his wushu skills as he kept Khan on the end of his spectacular strikes for much of the bout. The Filipino landed a dizzying array of spinning strikes while avoiding the Singaporean’s best punches and kicks.
It all added up to a near-perfect performance and a unanimous decision in favor of Folayang, who began his second reign with the belt to give Team Lakay an incredible fourth ONE World Title win in 2018.
Runner-Up: Yoshitaka Naito VS Alex Silva II
The World Champ Yoshitaka Naito is BACK tomorrow!Jakarta | 22 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneconquest18
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, September 21, 2018
Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito knew what it felt like to hold the ONE Strawweight World Title, and also how much it hurt to lose it. The Japanese star proved you can bounce straight back and make amends second time around.
Naito took full advantage of an immediate rematch with the man who defeated him – Alex “Little Rock” Silva – at ONE: GRIT & GLORY as he showed his ability to learn from his mistakes in his first bout.
“Nobita” came back with an improved game plan and delivered a perfect performance to turn the tables on the Brazilian World Champion and snatch a split-decision victory.
The contest illustrated Naito’s high martial arts IQ as he rebounded from the disappointment of losing his the ONE Strawweight World Title to reclaim it just five months later.