ONE Championship hosted four events in the first quarter of 2020, and each of those stacked cards have delivered some phenomenal mixed martial arts action.
From the year’s opener in Bangkok to the most recent showcase in Singapore, The Home Of Martial Arts has showcased exciting competitors who have put it all on the line in the first three months of the year.
These are the top five mixed martial arts contests from January to March that have displayed the heart, courage, and skill of the heroes on the global stage.
#1 Koyomi Matsushima Vs. Kim Jae Woong
The Japanese star was back in action after coming up short in his ONE Featherweight World Title challenge against Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, and his setback seemed to motivate him as he combined his concussive striking with powerful wrestling to overwhelm his South Korean rival.
It was not one-way traffic, though, as “The Fighting God” never gave in and battled back from some tough spots to return fire with hard strikes at every opportunity.
However, the key moments belonged to Matsushima as he dropped his rival with a right hand late in the second frame, and then kept up the pressure when the final round got going. Another succession of hard rights dropped Kim and “Moushigo” pounced with ground and pound to put an end to a thrilling featherweight contest.
#2 Joshua Pacio Vs. Alex Silva
Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and Alex “Little Rock” Silva duked it out for five rounds in a nail-biting striker-versus-grappler battle for the ONE Strawweight World Title that went all the way to the wire at ONE: FIRE AND FURY.
Defending World Champion Pacio set to work with his punches, kicks, and knees, while Silva sought to drag the bout to the canvas by any means possible.
“Little Rock” ate hard shots as he attacked, but he kept moving forward and forced “The Passion” to fend off close submission attempts on the ground.
There was plenty of back and forth, and success for both champion and challenger, but in the end, it was the Team Lakay star’s hard strikes that made the difference as he earned him the split decision victory after 25 minutes of action.
#3 Danny Kingad Vs. Xie Wei
ONE Warrior Series graduate “The Hunter” Xie Wei had blasted through the opposition in ONE’s developmental league, but Danny “The King” Kingad had no problem going toe-to-toe with him in his debut on the global stage at ONE: FIRE AND FURY.
The Team Lakay standout was not fazed by his Chinese adversary’s power and returned fire with interest. He hurt him with a left hook in the first round, battered him with low kicks, and slammed him to the canvas.
“The Hunter” replied with his own blows, and though he was outgunned in the kicking stakes by the wushu specialist, he did not go down without giving it his all in the final stanza.
Ultimately, however, it was not enough as Kingad took the unanimous decision victory after both men exchanged all the way until the final bell.
#4 Tiffany Teo Vs. Ayaka Miura
Not many of Ayaka Miura’s opponents have escaped her crushing scarf hold, but Tiffany “No Chill” Teo survived through all the Japanese grappler’s best submission attempts and launched a dramatic comeback to score a massive win at home in Singapore at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE.
The contest looked like it might not get out of the opening frame when Miura moved to her trademark position and locked in a tight arm-triangle choke, but “No Chill” resisted and eventually found a way to break free.
The Tribe Tokyo MMA representative kept trying to press forward in rounds two and three, but Teo’s confidence grew as she fended off takedown attempts and landed punishing strikes as Miura desperately tried to stay ahead on the scorecards.
By round three “No Chill” was in control and her Japanese rival started to look defeated. When she tried one last takedown in response to the Team Highlight Reel representative’s call to action, it was stuffed, leaving her defenseless as Teo secured a last-gasp finish with hard ground and pound.
#5 Itsuki Hirata Vs. Nyrene Crowley
Itsuki “Strong Heart Fighter” Hirata pushed her undefeated record to 6-0 at ONE: WARRIOR’S CODE, but she had to pass her toughest test to get there.
Though Nyrene “Neutron Bomb” Crowley stepped up at short notice to face the surging Japanese athlete, she became the first opponent to push “Strong Heart Fighter” into the third round. She caused her a ton of trouble along the way with lightning-fast kickboxing in round one and even took Hirata’s back, too.
The rising star from Tokyo soon imposed her judo game which meant the Kiwi did not stay upright for much longer, but she gritted her teeth to survive through multiple bad positions and submission attempts in the second stanza.
A fatigued Crowley came out for round three and gave everything she had left in the tank, but her resistance was finally broken when Hirata took her down and blasted her with ground and pound to cap off an entertaining battle with a TKO to maintain her 100-percent finishing rate.