Malaysia’s martial arts superstars have found a home for their elite skills in ONE Championship.
Led by a predominantly young group of mixed martial artists and strikers, the nation’s leading athletes are constantly improving on the global stage, and as their reputations grow, they are inspiring the next generation of combat sports prospects in their country.
Here are the five biggest victories from Malaysian athletes in the world’s largest martial arts organization to date.
Thani Edges Out A Legend
Agilan “Alligator” Thani earned the biggest victory of his career when he defeated Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama after three scintillating rounds of action at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST from the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China, in June 2019.
It was Thani’s return bout after back surgery, and he was coming off a two-match skid, but – despite the difficult circumstances – he showed no fear and took the fight straight to the mixed martial arts legend.
The 24-year-old Kuala Lumpur native immediately charged at Akiyama and landed powerful punches. While the veteran used his judo skills to halt the attack with a beautiful takedown, it did not deter Thani.
In fact, the young Malaysian grew in confidence as the bout wore on. He landed heavy hooks and right hands along with a barrage of high-amplitude takedowns.
“Sexyama” used his grit and experience to stay in the contest, but Thani continued to pressure with his offense and earned a landmark unanimous decision victory.
“Jordan Boy” Makes Highlight-Reel Debut
It was a storybook debut for Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud.
The Kuala Lumpur native marched into the Axiata Arena to face veteran striker Stergos “Greek Dynamite” Mikkios at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS in December 2018, and much to the local crowd’s delight, he finished the European brawler inside the first round.
The hometown hero consistently stung his rival with punches and roundhouse kicks to the body and legs in the opening minute of the Muay Thai bantamweight affair.
After the pace slowed down, “Greek Dynamite” suddenly charged forward with a superman punch. The lanky Malaysian dodged the flying strike, pulled Mikkios into the clinch, and threw a right elbow to the temple, which dropped his foe to the mat.
Mikkios answered the referee’s eight-count, but “Jordan Boy” immediately went back on the attack. An overhand right, a left body kick, and another right hand put the European back on the canvas for good.
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Jihin Outworks A Former World Title Contender
In a huge test of her evolving mixed martial arts game, Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan faced off against former ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title challenger Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS.
A lot was expected of the Ultimate MMA Academy representative, who was 3-0 at the time. Meanwhile, Huang was seen as a gatekeeper for the upper echelon of the division.
Buoyed by a crowd full of her compatriots at Kuala Lumpur’s Axiata Arena, Jihin overcame some tough spots and put the pressure on the judo black belt with her wushu skills. She scored with punches, kicks, and knees while fending off the Fairtex athlete’s savvy ground game.
At the end of round two, “Shadow Cat” was pushed to her limit when she was caught in a tight triangle choke, but she displayed impressive willpower and survived.
The Johor Bahru native then rallied with strikes in the third to get the unanimous decision win and announce herself as a top atomweight contender.
Subba Ruins Phoe Thaw’s Spotless Record
Keanu Subba fearlessly stepped into enemy territory in October 2018.
The Malaysian challenged local favorite Phoe “Bushido” Thaw at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, and he did what no other man had been able to do: defeat – and submit – the unbeaten hometown hero.
Subba did not give the lethwei specialist any time, or any room, to unleash the bout-ending strikes he’s known for. As Phoe Thaw caught his leg and tried to toss it away, the Malaysian featherweight latched onto him, readjusted his grip, and brought him to the canvas with a double-leg takedown.
The Yangon hero admirably displayed some improved ground defense, but his rival’s high-level grappling was too much to handle. Subba kept advancing to more favorable positions and eventually worked to side control.
As Phoe Thaw tried to scramble out, he left his neck exposed. The Malaysian noticed, quickly clasped on a guillotine choke, and applied the squeeze.
With his back against the Circle Wall, “Bushido” had no choice but to submit and accept his first career loss.
Aiman Breaks The “Rock Man”
The Malaysian bantamweight traveled to Shanghai in September 2018 to face “Rock Man” Chen Lei, and he left the Baoshan Arena with the biggest victory of his career.
Following a first round that was dominated by Chen’s relentless grappling attack, Aiman refocused in round two, stuffed the Chinese athlete’s takedown attempts, and punished him with a sharp kickboxing attack.
At one point, “Rock Man” caught a kick and desperately pushed the Bali MMA representative into the corner, but “Jungle Cat” showed his own grappling acumen and climbed onto his rival’s back.
Aiman quickly fished for the rear-naked choke with his left arm and got the tap – handing Chen his first career defeat in the process.