Features

Top 5 Performances From The Heroes Of ONE: FIRE & FURY

With so many elite competitors on the card, ONE Championship’s second show of the new decade promises to bring a night of martial arts excellence to Manila, Philippines.

ONE: FIRE & FURY will showcase a selection of athletes with a proven track record for bringing top-class, entertaining action to the global stage, including some local heroes who are guaranteed to bring the crowd to their feet.

Ahead of another glittering night of action inside the Mall Of Asia Arena, take a look back at some of the best performances from the heroes set for action on Friday, 31 January.

#1 A New Filipino King Is Crowned

Joshua “The Passion” Pacio owns many victories by highlight-reel stoppage, but his most impressive win could be from the match against Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES that won him the ONE Strawweight World Title.

The Team Lakay star was outgrappled and submitted when he first challenged Naito for the belt in 2016, but he fixed the holes in his game in the rematch to dominate with a complete mixed martial arts performance.

Many fans might have expected “The Passion” to control the striking exchanges like he did at the start of the match, but few predicted he would stuff takedowns, reverse position, and hunt for submissions during dominant periods on the ground.

He did not have things all his own way as “Nobita” used all of his veteran experience to claw his way back into the match, but Pacio stayed sharp on the feet and continued to hold his own on the mat against an elite jiu-jitsu player to maintain his lead and claim a unanimous decision.

#2 Grappling Great Silva’s Striking Masterclass

Alex “Little Rock” Silva proved that he possesses more than just grappling wizardry in his martial arts arsenal when he handed Naito his first career defeat to snatch the ONE Strawweight World Championship in December 2017.

The battle between two grappling experts at ONE: WARRIORS OF THE WORLD turned out to be a gripping stand-up battle, as Silva came out of his corner aiming to land power punches from the opening stanza.

The 37-year-old Brazilian found the most success when he changed tack and chopped away his rival’s lead leg. That was a masterful plan that paid dividends as “Nobita” continued to fail in his attempts to get the takedown.

“Nobita” almost flipped the script in the championship rounds, but Silva’s expertise on the mats allowed him to shut down his chase for a submission and cash in on his early lead to get the gold wrapped around him.

He will attempt to do the same again when faces Pacio in the main event at ONE: FIRE AND FURY.

#3 Folayang’s Landslide Win In Macau

Eduard “Landslide” Folayang enjoyed his best year as a martial artist in 2016 when he rose through the ranks to claim the ONE Lightweight World Title.

The most high-octane, thrilling encounter of that campaign was arguably his three-round lightweight war against Adrian “The Hunter” Pang at ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD in Macau.

The Team Lakay star used his unique plethora of wushu skills to batter the battle-hardened Australian with jaw-dropping power strikes, including some of his trademark spinning attacks.

Pang never stopped coming forward, but Folayang continued to score with hard blows to the head and body,  and twice knocked his rival down to get the edge on the judges’ scorecards.

Next up for Folayang is a clash against Pieter “The Archangel” Buist on 31 January.

#4 One Of Kingad’s Many All-Action Thrillers

Danny “The King” Kingad’s fluid striking throughout the three stanzas kept the fans inside the Mall Of Asia Arena on the edge of their seats as he outmatched Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada on his way to a unanimous decision.

It was clear Wada wanted to take the Filipino hero down, so “The King” abandoned his usual kicking-heavy offense to launch hooks and uppercuts with awesome speed and power whenever the Japanese athlete stepped inside.

Every strike that landed shook “The Sweeper’s” head, which prompted him to try a safer attack from a distance, but his kicks were also countered with rapid-fire boxing combinations.

Somehow, Wada showed few signs of damage, but Kingad’s success was clear for all three judges to see.

The 24-year-old from Baguio City will return to action against China’s “The Hunter” Xie Wei at the Mall Of Asia Arena.

#5 Rodlek Conquers A Legend

Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym did not disappoint in his ONE Championship debut last June when he went toe-to-toe against eight-time Muay Thai World Champion Liam “Hitman” Harrison.

The Thai star’s goal was to entertain the fans, and he succeeded in his mission with flying colors as he won an unbelievable bout in Shanghai, China, that showed off his supreme skill, phenomenal power, and incredible durability.

Things got underway at a blistering pace, as Harrison scored with his trademark stiff jabs and crunching leg kicks, but Rodlek ate them all and replied with stinging combinations – including one flurry that sent the Brit skidding across the canvas.

Those low kicks clearly took their toll on the Thai by round two, but he never stopped coming forward, and scored a decisive knockdown with a hard right hand to the temple. That prompted Harrison to go for broke, but nothing – not even a superman elbow that landed flush on the forehead – could stop Rodlek from claiming a unanimous decision.

Expect the man from Bangkok to bring more fireworks to the ring against Scotland’s Chris Shaw in Manila.

Read more: Top 5 KOs From The Heroes Of ONE: FIRE AND FURY