Brandon “The Truth” Vera entered as the ONE Heavyweight World Champion, and is leaving the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila unscathed.
The Filipino hero steamrolled through Hideki “Shrek” Sekine on Friday Night, 2 December, at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION. He pummeled the unbeaten challenger with a ground and pound flurry, causing the referee to stop the contest at 3:11 in the first round.
Just grabbing that first title defense in-front of his home crowd has easily become the pinnacle of his still blossoming career.
“This will complete my movie. This can complete a chapter in the book, for sure,” he says with a smile. “It is great fighting for ONE, an organization that really cares about their fighters — not just one of their favorites, but all of them.
“And just being here in the Philippines and being in Asia — it is what I should have done a long time ago, but everything in life is timing, and I am doing it now.”
Truthfully speaking, Vera made this look too easy. The champ spent the first minute of the round stalking the man they call “Shrek” and whipped a few high kicks at him, piercing the Japanese heavyweight’s defenses.
The Filipino striker lunged at Sekine with a knee, but the Japanese absorbed the blow, grabbed his bigger opponent and pressured him against the cage. It was practically ineffective. Vera retaliated by grabbing a Thai plum and delivering a massive knee. “Shrek” tried countering with a tornado of a jumping overhand right, but the title holder dodged it effortlessly.
At one point, the Japanese grappling expert attempted a takedown and rolled on the ground in a variety of ways to grab Vera’s leg, but the champ evaded and allowed the challenger to stand back up.
Sekine made it back to his feet and Vera stalked again with a series of kicks, one of which crushed the challenger and caused him to fall on his back. Vera immediately took his opening and attacked with a non-stop melee of punches. The ref had no choice but to intervene and call the bout.
“I know Hideki wanted, for sure, to take me to the ground,” Vera says. “I watch a lot of video. All of his video was on the ground. He has been to Abu Dhabi and he has competed with the best in the world. I watched a lot of film on this guy and I, for sure, know he wanted to be on the ground.
“That is why I did not engage him on the cage right away,” he continues. “I made sure I kept my distance and stayed away from the cage, just so we did not have to get on the ground the first round.”
The only time the champ was on the ground was when he ended the fight.
Vera is successful in his first title defense. The champ improves to 15-7 and remains undefeated in ONE Championship. Sekine, however, suffers the first blemish of his career and falls to 7-1.