The Best Bouts In ONE Championship History: #90-81
After kicking things off with 10 top-notch match-ups from the annals of ONE Championship history, it’s time to continue the countdown of the promotion’s best bouts with more quality action.
This installment of ONE’s top 100 bouts features some World Title contests, early encounters from the beginning of some stars’ careers, and some recent additions to the library of classic battles.
#90 Jens Pulver VS Eric Kelly
When bonafide mixed martial arts legend, Jens ‘Lil Evil” Pulver, entered the cage to meet undefeated Eric “The Natural” Kelly in his home country of the Philippines at ONE: PRIDE OF A NATION, fireworks were practically guaranteed.
The bout lived up to its billing, as both men traded heavy leather for the first round. While neither man was moved by even the hardest shots to the jaw, a thudding body kick scored for the Filipino, who followed up with punches to earn a dramatic second-round knockout.
#89 Kamal Shalorus VS Ev Ting
Ev “E.T.” Ting knew a victory against Kamal “The Prince Of Persia” Shalorus could get him a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Title, but the Iranian had challenged Shinya Aoki for the belt in his last bout, so earning that opportunity would be no mean feat.
The Malaysian-Kiwi met his opponent in the center of the cage to trade strikes and defend takedowns for 15 whole minutes in the main event of ONE: THRONE OF TIGERS, and emerged with a narrow split-decision victory that booked his place in the biggest bout of his career.
#88 Alex Silva VS Geje Eustaquio
Way back at the start of their careers, future World Champions Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio and Alex “Little Rock” Silva gave fans a taste of what was to come with a thrilling, back-and-forth battle at ONE: BATTLE OF HEROES – the promotion’s second-ever event.
It was a classic striker-versus-grappler affair, and Silva had some early success with his world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu. However, as the contest wore on, the Filipino successfully sprawled to keep the action where he wanted, and unloaded with powerful, punches, kicks, and knees to emerge with a unanimous decision.
#87 Gianni Subba VS Almiro Barros
Gianni Subba was expected to win by his compatriots in attendance at ONE: TIGERS OF ASIA in his hometown of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However, they found that Brazil’s Almiro Barros would be no pushover for their hero.
Despite the number of strikes Subba landed, the Evolve representative kept on coming, though he could not do quite enough to stop his opponent from walking away with a victory via unanimous decision.
#86 Eric Kelly VS Honorio Banario
He may be riding high on an incredible win streak in the upper echelons of the lightweight division right now, but this bout remains the defining moment of Honorio “The Rock” Banario’s career.
He faced fellow Filipino, Eric “The Natural” Kelly, for the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Title at ONE: RETURN OF WARRIORS, and scored a fourth-round TKO after a war of attrition to leave with the gold around his waist.
#85 Gina Iniong VS Istela Nunes
She earned a unanimous decision after finding her groove, and picking the Filipina apart with precision shots and spectacular flying techniques at ONE: BATTLE FOR THE HEAVENS.
#84 Kairat Ahkmetov VS Geje Eustaquio II
The first meeting of these men was a closely-contested bout that went all the way to a split decision in 2017. In the rematch, the stakes were raised with ONE Interim Flyweight World Title gold on the line at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES.
Eustaquio showed he had continued to make great grappling improvements between contests, as he stifled Kairat “The Kazakh” Akmetov’s wrestling game to emerge with the victory, and the gold, to tie their series at a win apiece.
#83 Koji Ando VS Roger Huerta
Roger “El Matador” Huerta is renowned for his wild encounters, and this bout was true to form. At ONE: ODYSSEY OF CHAMPIONS, he bit down on his mouthpiece and fired away at Koji “The Commander” Ando for 15 minutes, giving neither man, nor the audience in Jakarta, Indonesia, a moment to pause for breath.
The fact the American even stayed on his feet for that long was remarkable, given the relentless striking attack of the Japanese powerhouse, who deservedly had his hand raised after the judges awarded him a unanimous decision.
#82 Kotetsu Boku VS Zorobabel Moreira
Just try to keep Kotetsu “No Face” Boku down. The match for the inaugural ONE Lightweight World Title put the iron-chinned Japanese warrior up against Zorobabel “Zoro” Moreira, who had stunned ONE fans with three emphatic finishes in the promotion’s first four events.
When they met at ONE: RISE OF KINGS, Boku began on top, but was soon pushed to the brink of defeat by the Brazilian. However, he roared back to life in the third round to score an incredible comeback TKO.
The inaugural ONE Strawweight World Championship was a battle of strikers from two different backgrounds – Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke from the world of Muay Thai, and Roy “The Dominator” Doliguez with his boxing base.
At ONE: WARRIOR’S QUEST, the pair went toe-to-toe for five rounds, but “Kru Rong’s” more diverse striking skills enabled him to edge his Filipino opponent on the scorecards, and capture Thailand’s first-ever mixed martial arts World Title.