Kwon Won Il, Artem Belakh, Rungrawee Score Epic Knockouts, More Action From ONE Fight Night 18’s Undercard
ONE Championship kicked off its 2024 U.S. primetime event schedule with a captivating undercard that delivered from top to bottom.
Top-five contenders held down their spots in the rankings and rising stars continued their trajectories at ONE Fight Night 18 on Prime Video, which emanated live from Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, this past Friday, January 12.
In case you missed any of the action before the headline attraction between featherweight MMA finishers Shamil Gasanov and Oh Ho Taek, here’s what went down in the Thai capital.
Suablack Overcomes Early Scare To Defeat Korodi In Instant Classic
After knocking out Craig Coakley and winning a coveted six-figure ONE Championship contract last December, Suablack Tor Pran49 defeated his teammate, Ireland’s Stefan Korodi, in his U.S. primetime debut.
The 27-year-old faced early adversity when Korodi dropped him with a wrecking ball of a right hand. Suablack answered the eight-count only to score two consecutive knockdowns of his own, courtesy of left and right elbows, respectively.
True to his reputation, the Irishman continued to march forward and fight. Suablack, however, maintained complete control all the way to the final bell.
With the unanimous decision victory, the Tor Pran49 representative improved his all-striking record to 59-18.
Kwon Starches Zoltsetseg To Take Third Straight Win
Once the opening bell rang, the duo exchanged punches at a blistering pace. But soon, Kwon showcased his diverse repertoire, mixing his trademark strikes with takedowns. Zoltsetseg was comfortable sitting back and throwing huge counter shots, looking to land the match-ending blow. But Kwon proved to be too clever with his defense.
The South Korean continued to press forward in the second frame, connecting with a head kick and stalking his opponent with heavy blows. Zoltsetseg had a glimmer of hope as he pulled for a guillotine choke when his Asian rival took him down.
“Pretty Boy” escaped, however, and pounced on the Mongolian. Then, he moved to the full mount position and rained down big elbows and punches to force referee Herb Dean to stop the fight at the 2:40 mark of round two.
Kwon now stands tall with a 14-4 career record and finds himself on a three-bout winning streak, and he is knocking on the door of a ONE Bantamweight MMA World Title opportunity.
Rungrawee Dominates Al-Tekreeti En Route To TKO Victory
The Thai striking sensation applied overwhelming pressure to finish Iraqi slugger Shakir Al-Tekreeti in their lightweight Muay Thai bout.
Fighting out of the southpaw stance, Rungrawee pressed forward as soon as the opening bell rang. He immediately forced his foe on the back foot, as he fired off massive kicks to the legs and body.
That pressure quickly added up. He scored one knockdown in the first round and three in the second frame to secure a dominant TKO stoppage at the 1:44 mark.
With the second-round TKO, Rungrawee pushed his career slate to an incredible 156-47 and earned a US$50,000 performance bonus.
Belakh Scores Come-From-Behind TKO Over Baatarkhuu
Artem Belakh warned Enkh-Orgil Baatarkhuu to be wary of the new skills he added to his already dangerous mixed martial arts game, but no one – not even the Mongolian – expected the Russian to finish their bantamweight MMA tussle in such spectacular fashion.
Belakh, the #4-ranked contender, was dragged through the mud for almost 10 minutes, forced to defend Baatarkhuu’s ruthless attacks from within the guard.
However, in the waning seconds of round two, the 27-year-old Russian broke free from the grips of Baatarkhuu and launched himself into the air with a jumping knee. The strike landed on the Mongolian powerhouse’s chin and backed him into the ropes.
From there, Belakh hit his wobbling foe with a five-piece elbow combination before two clubbing punches forced referee Herb Dean to stop the bout at the 4:55 mark of the frame.
That brilliant TKO victory pushed Belakh’s record to 10-2.
Nolan Rips Through Aliev, Takes Breezy Decision Win
After a 14-month layoff, “Lethal” Liam Nolan made a statement in his highly anticipated return to action. The Brit was precise and calculated as he cruised to a unanimous decision win over Ali Aliev in their three-round lightweight Muay Thai showdown.
Nolan appeared determined from the very beginning. He opened the fight looking to break down the taller Aliev, but the Russian did a good job of keeping his distance and throwing off the Englishman for most of the bout’s first three minutes.
The 26-year-old Londoner had a livelier start in the second frame, unleashing combinations and even cracking his opponent with a clean left hand. Nolan applied some forward pressure, but Aliev maintained his composure and worked from a distance. However, he had trouble answering back with his offense.
In the final stanza, Nolan dramatically upped his activity and stunned Aliev with a straight left, which did wonders for his confidence. From there, the British star let loose and hit the Russian with everything – mixing his left with a bevy of attacks, from jumping kicks to spinning elbows.
Ultimately, Nolan earned the unanimous decision victory, which elevated his record to 22-7 and put him on a two-bout winning streak.
Kang Stops Abdul-Latif With Second-Round Comeback
Abdul-Latif dominated the first round and much of the second stanza with his powerful wrestling and elite grappling. The South Korean knockout artist, however, stayed defensively sound as he avoided submission attacks and kept himself safe from his American rival’s ground strikes.
Kang would flip the script later in the frame. “Mighty Warrior” blasted his foe with a massive knee and then followed up with a flurry of concussive strikes on the canvas to bring an end to the contest at the 4:09 mark of round two.
The victory improved the 28-year-old behemoth’s career record to 7-2 and kept his 100 percent finishing rate intact.
Isaev Outlasts Farcas In Clash Of Kickboxing Titans
The 29-year-old Russian entered the light heavyweight kickboxing tilt somewhat tentative. But midway through the fight, the sleeping giant awoke and began clobbering Farcas with heavy right hands and left hooks, which slowed the Italian down.
Isaev, a WMC Muay Thai World Champion, upped the pressure as the battle wore on. In the final moments, he stung Farcas with punches to the head, punches to the body, and a spinning back kick that capped off an impressive showing.
The unanimous decision victory nudged Isaev’s all-striking record to an impressive 23-6.
Dauev Decimates Abelardo In Smashing ONE Debut
The 22-year-old quickly imposed his will in their bantamweight MMA clash. Dauev took his Filipino-Kiwi rival down early in the first round, and when Abelardo tried returning to his feet, the Russian jumped on his back and attempted to trap him in a standing rear-naked choke. Though “Tyson” eventually escaped, a sharp flying knee opened up a gash on his head in the waning seconds of the stanza.
It was a similar story in the second frame, with the Dobrynya Martial Arts Academy representative scoring an early double-leg takedown and pressuring Abelardo in the corner with excellent top control. Dauev didn’t give him an inch in the third and final round, as he shut down the veteran’s flurries on the feet with takedowns to secure the victory.
With the win, Dauev improved his spotless record to 9-0 and showed the world that there’s a new player in the bantamweight MMA division.