5 Major Takeaways From ONE: DANGAL

Arjan Bhullar wins the ONE Heavyweight World Title belt on 15 May

On Saturday, 15 May, the stars of ONE: DANGAL gave fans a little bit of everything – from back-and-forth action to a trademark submission to a pair of highlight-reel knockouts.

To cap it all off, Arjan “Singh” Bhullar became the first heavyweight to stop Brandon “The Truth” Vera and began his reign as the newly crowned ONE Heavyweight World Champion.

After a night to remember at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, here are five big takeaways from ONE: DANGAL.

#1 Bhullar Grabs The Torch

India officially has its first-ever Mixed Martial Arts World Champion after Bhullar knocked off Vera with a second-round TKO to claim heavyweight gold.

The task was certainly tall for Bhullar. Vera had reigned over the division since 2015, and he had beaten every previous heavyweight foe by first-round knockout. However, the Indian star wasn’t fazed. He remained patient and struck when the opportunity presented itself.

In fact, “Singh” has all the tools to not just match Vera’s success – but perhaps to surpass it. His skill set includes the grappling to control anyone in the division, and his improved striking at American Kickboxing Academy makes him a well-rounded threat inside the Circle.

The torch has been passed, and Bhullar now stands atop the biggest mountain in the sport. In the process, he brought glory to a nation that was eager for gold, and he will embark on a new journey to defend the crown.

#2 Is Tawanchai The Next Big Thing?

Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym’s ONE Super Series debut went exactly as the Thai phenom predicted.

Before the contest, Tawanchai told onefc.com that he planned to knock out Sean “Clubber” Clancy with a head kick. And he ultimately delivered a stunning walk-off head kick KO in the opening minute of the third round.

The sensational finish did not just deliver a highlight for fans, but it also announced Tawanchai’s presence as a major player in the bantamweight Muay Thai division. There’s no doubt that reigning king Nong-O Gaiyanghadao took notice of the potential new challenger.

After all of the anticipation, Tawanchai’s picture-perfect debut introduced him to a whole new audience on the global stage that can look forward to his next offering of Muay Thai brilliance.

#3 Mangat Gets Back Into Flyweight Contention

After three submission wins in three ONE Championship fights, Roshan Mainam was on the cusp of entering ONE’s flyweight rankings. But at ONE: DANGAL, veteran Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat showed the young star that he still has much to learn. 

The Canadian-Indian knew he had to prepare for Mainam’s vaunted grappling, and he was sharp with his takedown defense. Yes, Mangat was taken down once in the first round, but he quickly regained his feet and took over the contest with stinging strikes.

“Saint Lion” was composed and never panicked. Throughout the cerebral performance, he peppered his Indian counterpart in the stand-up department but never overextended himself.

After a setback against Reece “Lightning” McLaren last time out, this was a huge victory for Mangat, who improved his overall record to 16-3, handed Mainam his first promotional loss, and put himself back in the conversation at flyweight.

#4 A Major Grand Prix Shake-Up

Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat knew she was taking a risk by facing Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen just weeks before participating in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals, but she took the bout without hesitation.

And while the decorated Indian grappler put up a strong fight, she ultimately dropped a tight split decision after Nguyen stormed back with an array of punches, kicks, and knees in the final round.

It was a statement win for “Killer Bee,” who vowed that she would not be anyone’s “warmup fight.” On the other side, it was a tough loss for “The Indian Tigress,” who will be removed from the Grand Prix as a result. 

That leaves one critical question: Who will take Phogat’s spot against Meng Bo in the tournament quarterfinals at ONE: EMPOWER on 28 May?

#5 Miura Continues Insane Scarf-Hold Streak

A scarf hold may sound like it is supposed to keep you warm, but when Ayaka “Zombie” Miura gets the position, beware of the Americana.

On Saturday, the Japanese grappling specialist used the move to submit Rayane Bastos, giving her four scarf-hold Americana victories in four ONE Championship wins. 

With immense grip strength, Miura grabbed the Brazilian’s left wrist and shoved her arm between her legs. Once secured, she torqued on the submission and forced the tap.

Submitting anyone with a scarf-hold Americana is impressive. To do it on four separate occasions against elite opponents on the global stage is simply jaw-dropping. Those opponents know it is coming, yet they simply can’t prevent it.

Miura, the #4-ranked women’s strawweight contender, will hope the latest impressive finish will propel her into the World Title discussion. 

Read more: ONE: DANGAL – Full Results For Vera Vs. Bhullar

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