Aliakbari, Zatout, Sousa Earn Victories On Supporting Card Of ONE 166: Qatar

Amir Aliakbari Dustin Joynson ONE Fight Night 12 46

ONE Championship returned to the Middle East for the first time in a decade with a historic debut in the country of Qatar.

A trio of World Title rematches headlined ONE 166, but first, the crowd at Lusail Sports Arena was treated to seven contests in MMA, Muay Thai, submission grappling, and boxing.

Here, we recap all the early action from a groundbreaking event on Friday, March 1.

Aliakbari Keeps Streak Going Against Gun-Shy Bhullar

Amir Aliakbari continued his ascent in ONE’s heavyweight MMA division by beating Arjan “Singh”  Bhullar in bizarre fashion, as the former divisional king was disqualified for inactivity. 

The Iranian moved forward and hunted for Bhullar’s head all night long, but the latter seemed more interested in avoiding those hits than fighting back. The Indian received yellow cards in each of the first two rounds, but that didn’t seem to change his approach. 

Near the end of the third frame, referee Herb Dean had seen enough, as he showed Bhullar the red card at the 4:15 mark.

As a result, Aliakbari was awarded his fourth straight win – moving to 13-3 overall – perhaps putting him in position for the next World Title challenge.

Zatout Wows With Debut Boxing Win Over Al-Qahtani

Boxing returned to ONE on Friday when former WBC Muay Thai World Champion Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout came out of a brief retirement to face undefeated pugilist Zuhayr “The Arabian Warrior” Al-Qahtani.

When their 147-pound catchweight bout got underway, it was clear that Zatout had done his due diligence. The Algerian legend danced around the more seasoned boxer with his hands down, popping Al-Qahtani with blistering one-twos.

“The Arabian Warrior” did his best to close the distance and work his foe with body hooks, but Zatout sidestepped and countered effectively.

Following three rounds of action, “Diamond Heart” earned the judges’ nod to bag a unanimous decision victory in his boxing debut after a legendary Muay Thai career spanning more than 100 fights.

Kuzmin Outrikes Sayik To Score Second Straight Win

Vladimir Kuzmin claimed his second consecutive victory in ONE with a hard-earned unanimous decision victory over Zafer Sayik in their 147.75 catchweight Muay Thai bout. 

After a slow first round, Kuzmin came alive in the second, popping the debuting Turkish athlete with a straight right to score the only knockdown of the battle. 

That advantage quickly vanished in the third, as the Russian got deducted a point for an illegal knee midway through the frame. With the fight up for grabs, both men turned up the heat in the final minute. Ultimately, Kuzmin used his experience to avoid a meltdown and keep Sayik at bay. 

After three rounds, the knockdown proved to be enough, as the 27-year-old took the unanimous decision win and improved to 21-3 overall.

Sousa Takes Out Almarwai With Brutal Armbar

Cleber “Clandestino” Sousa showcased beautiful jiu-jitsu and all-out aggression in his flyweight submission grappling clash with Osamah Almarwai.

The Brazilian star attacked from top position through the opening minutes, putting incredible pressure on his foe while “Osa” looked for leg locks from his guard.

Around the midway point, Sousa exploded into a clean guard pass before moving to a reverse triangle choke and, seconds later, the match-ending armbar submission.

The highlight-reel finish came after 5:31 of action and pushed “Clandestino’s” record to 106-47.

Saldoev Survives Early Scare To Knock Out El Jamari

Ali Saldoev improved his undefeated slate to 7-0 with a pulverizing knockout of Zakaria El Jamari in their 137.75-pound catchweight Muay Thai affair.

In round one, El Jamari struck first, scoring an eight-count on Saldoev with a piercing straight right. The rattled Russian answered the count, returned to the fray, and then dropped El Jamari with a short hook to even the score with only seconds remaining.

The frantic pace continued in the second frame, and during a chaotic exchange, Saldoev touched El Jamari with a body-head left hook combination. The second punch landed on El Jamari’s chin, lifted him off his feet, and sent him crashing to the canvas, where he couldn’t answer the count.

The referee waved off the bout with 51 seconds remaining in the second round.

Suzuki Puts The Pace On Han En Route To Decision Win

Japan’s Shinji Suzuki and China’s Han Zi Hao engaged in a fast-paced, three-round, technical battle in their bantamweight Muay Thai tilt.

Suzuki employed a venomous boxing attack throughout the fight, finding a home for a massive punch early in the second frame to score a knockdown on the former ONE World Title challenger.

Han would try to mount a late comeback, but the damage was done, and Suzuki was awarded the hard-fought unanimous decision – the 33rd win of his career.

Yamakita Submits Miado In Impressive Bounce-Back Performance

It didn’t take long for Keito “Pocket Monk” Yamakita to get back in the win column, as he submitted Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado in the strawweight MMA curtain-raiser of ONE 166: Qatar. 

“Pocket Monk” was relentless with his takedown attempts. After Miado defended his initial advances on the ground, the Japanese sensation scored a beautiful ankle pick takedown and took the back.

From there, it wasn’t long until Yamakita caught his prey. Just when the Filipino tried to wiggle out, the 27-year-old locked in a deep bulldog choke, forcing the tap at the 4:04 mark of the first round. 

The win pushed Yamakita’s record to 9-1, as he rebounded from his first setback against #2-ranked contender Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane at ONE 165 last month.

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