Rising stars and decorated World Champions highlighted the early fights at ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic on Friday, 22 April.
Fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium were treated to impressive debuts and masterful performances across nine matchups on the evening’s lead card, with mixed martial arts, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and even submission grappling on display.
Here, we recap every showdown from the ONE 156 lead card.
Balart Outpoints Former Strawweight Champ Saruta
The battle between grapplers turned into a stand-up contest, which played into the Cuban’s hands.
Balart ran circles around the Japanese athlete, floored him with a huge counter left hook in the third round, and earned a clear-cut nod from all three judges.
With his second straight win in ONE Championship, Balart might have punched his way into the strawweight MMA rankings.
The former Olympic wrestler also became the only person in the organization – outside of reigning strawweight titleholder Joshua “The Passion” Pacio – to defeat Saruta.
Stoica Snatches Majority Decision From Stoforidis
The bout’s defining moment came in the second round when “Mr. KO” countered Stoforidis’ left hook with one of his own and floored the Greek giant for an eight-count. Stoforidis rallied back late in the third, but Stoica had done enough to stay ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
The win improved the Romanian’s record to 54-13 (1 NC) and may have earned him a rematch against old foe and reigning ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia.
Meksen Dominates Ruumet, Sends Stern Warning To Todd
The French-Algerian superstar timed each strike to perfection throughout the atomweight Muay Thai contest, connecting with lead hooks, four-punch combinations, and destructive right kicks.
The 33-year-old’s nonstop output – coupled with her aggression and precision – made it a very long night for Ruumet. The 22-year-old Estonian survived to the closing bell but was overwhelmed by the seven-time Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion.
With the victory, “C18” upped her incredible career record to 102-5. She then issued another challenge to ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet Todd for a World Title fight under her favored rule set.
Ramos Uses Grappling To Defeat Woo In First Circle Appearance
Despite some early pressure from Woo on the feet, Ramos soon took control with his BJJ black belt skills, dragging “Dynamic” to the canvas and then attacking from dominant positions for the majority of the bout.
With his unanimous decision win over a rising star, the Brazilian pushed his record to 5-1 (1 NC), took the biggest scalp of his career, and established himself as an immediate threat in the flyweight ranks.
Cardoso Beats Miura In Impressive Debut
Miura searched for her trademark scarf-hold Americana in the opening stanza, but the Brazilian defended brilliantly and even landed a few thunderous punches.
The Japanese judoka continued to hunt for a takedown in round two, but Cardoso stuffed those attempts and separated from the clinch. She then unleashed some furious shots, and as “Zombie” defended, she appeared to injure her right shoulder.
“Day Monster” jumped in with more strikes, while the referee quickly stopped the bout and awarded a TKO just 56 seconds into the frame.
With her triumph over a former World Title challenger, Cardoso extended her winning streak to six, improved her record to 9-1-1, and became a name to watch in the division.
Amorim Starches Park In Dominant Arrival On Global Stage
Park’s stand-up looked strong in the first round as he lunged forward with body kicks, but Amorim kept his composure, regrouped in the second frame, and took “Crazy Dog” down.
From there, he unleashed a series of ground-and-pound that forced referee Justin Brown to award a TKO at the 1:20 mark.
With his debut victory at lightweight, “Bambao’s” professional mixed martial arts record now sits at 9-3.
Jin Seals Memorable Debut With Kimura Of Thani
Following a short scramble on the Circle Wall, Thani tried to take the fight to the canvas for the third time.
Jin, however, spotted the slightest of openings, slid his hand in between the Malaysian’s left arm, and cranked it backward to earn the highlight-reel finish at 2:23 of the opening canto.
With the victory, the South Korean mixed martial artist improved his overall record to 11-5.
Musumeci Submits Imanari In Battle Of Elite Grapplers
The pair exchanged lower-body attacks early until Musumeci got on top and took his rival’s back. From there, “Darth Rigatoni” tied Imanari in knots and slipped in a rear-naked choke to get the finish at 4:09.
With the impressive victory in his ONE Championship submission grappling debut, the five-time BJJ World Champion earned a US$50,000 performance bonus and emphatically announced his presence in the promotion.
Subba Edges Yang Via Unanimous Decision
Malaysian star Keanu Subba kicked off the lead card with a huge unanimous decision victory.
Throughout the three-round featherweight affair, Subba was able to land takedowns and constantly searched for a rear-naked choke.
The American defended well – even escaping a few times and tagging his rival on the feet – but the ONE Championship veteran’s ground game was too much.
Ultimately, Subba got the nod from all three judges, earned his eighth professional win, and proved that he’s all the way back from a serious leg injury that temporarily sidelined his MMA career.