When ONE Championship arrives in Manila, Philippines, for the final time in 2019, it will bring a stacked card of elite martial artists to the Mall Of Asia Arena.
ONE: MASTERS OF FATE will feature some of the most accomplished veterans from the global stage, including plenty of local heroes and World Champions who have shone when the pressure was on.
Take a look back at some of their best performances to get a preview of the high standard of action you can expect to see next Friday, 8 November.
#1 Pacio Grabs The Gold
Last September at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES, the Team Lakay representative dethroned the Japanese athlete thanks to a combination of striking offense, takedown defense, and a leveled-up grappling arsenal that made him look more dangerous on the mat this time around.
From the first bell, Pacio was too fast and too powerful with his punches and kicks, which made his rival tentative to engage. When “Nobita” did move forward, he was made to pay for it. His takedown attempts were mostly stuffed, but even when he was able to grab onto his challenger, he ended up in a compromised position.
The complexion of the match changed in the championship rounds – the first time “The Passion” had experienced them in his career – but although he was put under pressure from Naito, he stayed cool, and out of major danger.
After five rounds, he was given the unanimous decision and the ONE Strawweight World Title.
#2 Catalan Steps Up A Level
Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian was unbeaten coming into at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, and had looked more dangerous than ever with his move down to the strawweight division. However Rene “The Challenger” Catalan had no intention of being muscled around and submitted on home turf in Manila.
The Filipino veteran found his range in the opening moments of the contest as he overcame a significant reach disadvantage to find a home for his left hook on his rival’s chin.
It was not too long before he started to open up with hard low kicks, too, which accumulated throughout the 15-minute duration and left Rahardian barely able to stay on his feet.
The domination was completed when the Indonesian was beaten at his own game and found himself on his back thanks to Catalan’s improved wrestling.
“The Challenger” earned the biggest win of his career until that point by unanimous decision. A few months later, he had his hand raised one more time to earn a ONE Strawweight World Title match against Pacio on 8 November.
#3 Folayang’s Finest Hour
Eduard “Landslide” Folayang’s greatest ever all-around performance came when it mattered most – in front of his countrymen at the Mall Of Asia Arena with the ONE Lightweight World Championship on the line.
“Landslide’s” kicking game was as sharp as ever as he kept his rival at range, but he was not afraid to step in and mix things up as the match progressed. The Singaporean was peppered with slick, multi-strike boxing combinations, and rocked by spectacular spinning elbows that had fans on their feet.
Folayang also brought his grappling into play to put a bow on his performance when he slammed Khan onto the ground as he attempted to clinch. The unanimous decision for the Team Lakay icon surprised no one after his complete domination.
He will be back in action against dangerous Mongolian striker Amarsanaa “Spear” Tsogookhuu in the co-main event of ONE: MASTERS OF FATE.
#4 Eustaquio Reaches the Top
The ONE Interim Flyweight World Title was on the line at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES a few months later, and the man from Baguio City put on the best performance of his career to stifle his opponent’s wrestling, and strike back with aplomb.
“Gravity” was not immune to his rival’s grappling offense early on, but he stayed cool under pressure in round one when he was taken down. A few moments later, he had threatened with a submission, reversed position, and started to hammer away with ground and pound.
It was advantage: Eustaquio from then on as he took the center of the cage and showed his striking superiority. Punches, kicks, knees, and elbows landed from all angles as he played the aggressor.
Akhmetov’s grappling was all but nullified except for a few, brief moments, and the Team Lakay man got his first taste of gold on the global stage.
The former ONE Flyweight World Champion will be back in a rematch against Toni “Dynamite” Tauru in Manila.
#5 Naito’s Redemption
Yoshitaka Naito was forced to go back to the drawing board when Alex “Little Rock” Silva shut him down and took the ONE Strawweight World Title from him at the end of 2017. Five months later, he emerged with the perfect blueprint to regain the gold.
He was far more aggressive than before as he came forward to negate the Brazilian’s most dangerous strikes, and land plenty of his own.
His big problem in the first match was that he was frustrated by his inability to impose his top-class ground game, but this time, he got the takedowns he wanted. When he got to the mat, he took his time, and entangled the BJJ black belt.
Over five rounds, he did everything he had wanted to do in the first encounter, but could not, and he took a well-deserved decision from the judges to win the belt for the second time.
“Nobita” will try to take his first step toward a historic third reign when he faces Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit at the Mall Of Asia Arena.