Top 5 Performances From The Heroes Of ONE: CENTURY PART II
Just a few hours after the first bout card has concluded on 13 October, ONE: CENTURY PART II will bring even more action to Tokyo, Japan to complete the biggest event in martial arts history.
The second part of this historic double-header at the iconic Ryogoku Kokugikan is arguably even more stacked with talent as a host of big names and World Champions face off for gold and glory.
Ahead of this momentous show from The Home Of Martial Arts, get a taste of what you can expect to see from some of the heroes on the bill by watching some of their best performances.
#1 Rodtang Grabs The Gold
When Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon challenged Jonathan “The General” Haggerty for the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in August, fans saw an all-time classic between two of ONE’s most exciting young strikers.
Haggerty started well as he used his long reach to pick off the Thai star and keep him at a safe distance, but midway through the contest, the dynamic changed.
Rodtang started to find his range and initiate thrilling exchanges of strikes as both men refused to back down, and he made the breakthrough in the fourth period as he hurt Haggerty to the body, then dropped him with a right hand that gave him a 10-8 round to put him in charge with just three minutes to go.
The pair threw everything they had at each other once more in a thrilling final round, but Haggerty could not do enough to stop his rival from taking the belt via unanimous decision.
“The Iron Man” will defend his strap for the first time against Walter Goncalves in Tokyo.
#2 Belingon Beats The Double Champ
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon finally captured a belt on the global stage for the first time last July, and he could not have beaten a better opponent to do it.
At ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, the Filipino star outpointed then-two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen to capture the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title.
After a cagey opening round, Belingon picked up the pace in the second as he closed the distance and unleashed flurries of powerful strikes.
Following his slow start, Nguyen looked to raise the tempo in the championship rounds, but found the Team Lakay star in supreme form as he expertly switched to a counterstriking strategy to seal a unanimous decision victory.
“The Silencer” will go for gold again when he faces Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes for the fourth time in Tokyo.
#3 Sana’s Finest Hour
Samy “AK47” Sana is renowned as one of the world’s top Muay Thai and kickboxing athletes, but few people picked him to beat “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix.
However, in the quarterfinals of the tournament at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON, the Frenchman produced the performance of his life to claim the biggest scalp of his career.
The 30-year-old was aggressive from the first bell to put the Thai star on the back foot, and when he tried to fire back, he walked onto a short left hand that put him on his backside and left him with a mountain to climb.
With a 10-8 round in his pocket, “AK47” could have tried to hang onto his lead, but that thought did not seem to enter his mind as he continued to work behind long kicks and a stiff jab to turn away Yodsanklai’s forward charge in the two remaining rounds.
In the end, his composure, controlled aggression, and precise striking saw him take the unanimous decision, end his rival’s seven-year undefeated streak, and advance through the bracket.
Another win has taken Sana to the final, where he can win the tournament World Title and US$1 million dollar prize if he can defeat Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan.
#4 Aung La N Sang Makes History
Myanmar’s first-ever sporting World Champion was crowned as Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang defeated Vitaly Bigdash in Yangon to capture the ONE Middleweight World Championship in 2017’s Bout Of The Year.
The contest began at top speed as the local hero dropped Bigdash and chased an early finish. However, Bigdash’s toughness saw him survive and set the stage for a gripping clash that went all 25 minutes.
The pair became locked in a back-and-forth battle that saw shifts in momentum in every round, but as the encounter started to draw to a close, “The Burmese Python” found an extra gear to leave a lasting impression on the judges and claim the unanimous decision.
Aung La N Sang went on to win the ONE Light heavyweight World Title, too, and he will defend that for the first time against ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera in Japan.
#5 “The Ninja” Snatches His Biggest Win
This year could not have got off to a better start for Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta, as he ascended to the throne of the ONE strawweight division by snatching the belt from Filipino superstar Joshua “The Passion” Pacio in January.
Up against a World Champion known for his wushu striking and impressive scrambling ability, Saruta employed a high-pace, high-pressure approach. His takedown-led offense took the Team Lakay representative out of his comfort zone and forced him to get creative in a bid to halt the charge of his rival.
That meant Saruta had to stay sharp to escape a Pacio guillotine choke, and then find a way to increase the pressure in the fourth and fifth rounds to wear down his opponent.
It was close, but two of the three judges gave “The Ninja” the nod, and he wrapped the belt around his waist in just his second ONE appearance.
At ONE: CENTURY PART II, it will be Shooto World Champion vs. Pancrase World Champion as Saruta faces Daichi Kitakata in a match that should propel the winner back toward the top prize in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.