With five sensational mixed martial arts bouts, ONE: BATTLEGROUND II delivered the goods on Friday, 13 August.
New contenders made their presence known, crafty veterans used their savvy to ward off hungry upstarts, and there was even a new record set in the flyweight division.
After getting a little taste of everything, we can look back and figure out what it all means for these athletes and their divisions.
Here are three major takeaways from a spectacular night of action at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
#1 Zhang Ready For The Big Show
After winning 21 of his past 24 fights in China, Zhang made his way to ONE and was greeted with a prime opportunity that he refused to let slip through his fingers. The win sent a warning shot to the entire lightweight mixed martial arts division – including reigning king Christian “The Warrior” Lee – that a new contender is on the scene.
For the GP Mixed Martial Arts representative, the key to success was pressure.
Zhang had to deal with “Landslide’s” power at a distance, but by keeping the Filipino on his back foot, he was able to impose his game plan. In each round, “The Warrior” pushed forward and forced Folayang against the Circle Wall, where he could land his takedown.
What better way to announce your arrival than by knocking off a former ONE World Champion? Zhang not only completed his task, but he immediately established himself among the top lightweights in the world.
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#2 ‘Little Rock’ Isn’t Going Anywhere
Miao had defeated two of Silva’s Evolve MMA teammates, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada, while “Little Rock” was coming off two close split-decision losses. But those factors only served as extra motivation for the former titleholder, who quickly stormed to the center of the Circle from the opening bell.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace pulled guard and got the action to the mat early in the first frame. He threatened with submissions and came close to finishing the match with an armbar, showcasing how dangerous his ground game continues to be on the global stage.
Although Miao’s defense kept Silva from finding the finish, “Little Rock’s” nonstop pressure and active grappling prevented the Chinese athlete from mounting much offense. That tactical brilliance from the #5-ranked strawweight contender ultimately proved to be the difference in this battle.
The ageless wonder defended the pride of Evolve MMA and showed the world he will not go quietly as he eyes another run toward the top of the strawweight division.
#3 Saputra Ready For Another Level After History-Making KO
Opponents always had to be concerned about “Dynamite” Eko Roni Saputra’s wrestling, but now, they also have to worry about his powerful striking. At ONE: BATTLEGROUND II, the Indonesian scored the fastest finish in flyweight history with a stunning 10-second knockout of Liu Peng Shuai.
Saputra backed Liu up with his powerful right hand in the opening seconds. When the Chinese athlete threw a left inside leg kick, the flyweight phenom countered with a blistering overhand right that immediately ended the contest.
The scorching knockout extended “Dynamite’s” first-round finish streak to five, which could springboard him to the next level in an incredibly stacked flyweight division. And climbing the ladder toward the upper echelon is a task he’s accepting with open arms.
Saputra knows he still has more work to do if he wants to crack the official top-five rankings. He’s already eyeing potential exciting matchups against Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat and Chan Rothana, and another big win would propel him to even greater heights.