ONE Championship’s red-hot start to 2021 continued with ONE: UNBREAKABLE III, a previously recorded event that aired on Friday, 5 February.
Five of the six mixed martial arts contests ended before the judges could get involved, and the lone 15-minute battle was a stellar showcase of bantamweight excellence.
With so many options to choose from, which performances shined brightest? Let’s venture back into the Singapore Indoor Stadium and relive the evening’s most memorable moments.
#1 A Rising Star Edges A Top Contender
Sato, who may have been one win away from earning a shot at divisional king Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, showed off his incredible ground game early in the first round, but Andrade’s defense was sharp. On the feet, both men found success and called each other on before closing the stanza with a wild exchange.
In the second frame, Sato produced a brilliant uppercut, but Andrade’s continuous output gave him the edge. The Brazilian maintained a strong pace from bell-to-bell while stifling the veteran’s takedowns.
It was anyone’s match at the start of the final round, and both athletes left it all inside the Circle.
The aggression was turned up, with Andrade putting combinations together in spades. The warriors even had a back-and-forth scramble on the canvas as the frame neared its close, which gave fans another taste of their skills.
Following the tightly contested battle, “Wonder Boy” got his hand raised and catapulted himself into the bantamweight division’s upper echelon.
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#2 “Mighty Warrior” Never Gives Up
Barghi started strongly in the opening minute with a takedown to get the action where he was most comfortable. From there, the Iranian rained down ground-and-pound and even advanced to mount. At that point, it was looking to be a quick night for the South Korean.
Even when Kang escaped and returned to his feet, he soon found himself back on the canvas after a second takedown from Barghi.
However, “Mighty Warrior” lived up to his moniker by exploding out from under Barghi once more – and this time, he took top control.
Kang quickly advanced to mount and dropped heavy elbows onto the Iranian. Barghi gave up his back, and the South Korean kept hammering away with punches until the referee stepped in to give “Mighty Warrior” a well-earned come-from-behind win.
#3 Mujtaba’s Sub-Minute KO
Ahmed “Wolverine” Mujtaba did not have to claw his way to victory against Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju. Instead, he joined the 2021 highlight reel with a stunning first-round knockout of the Indian star.
The Pakistani athlete was content to play the role of counter-puncher and let Raju march forward, which proved to be a wise move.
Less than a minute into the fight, Raju had his guard too low when throwing an overhand right, and Mujtaba stepped forward with a right hand of his own. The compact shot connected cleanly and put the Indian out in an instant. It was a textbook display of staying tight and technical against an opponent throwing looping shots.
After that 56-second knockout, “Wolverine” may have to register his right hand as a superpower.