“The Ghost” Chen Rui was on the verge of dropping another close contest, but he summoned the strength to finish strong and snap a two-fight skid.
Ultimately, the Chinese athlete utilized his boxing and walked away with a razor-thin unanimous decision win over Mark “Tyson” Abelardo in their thrilling bantamweight mixed martial arts battle at ONE: BAD BLOOD on Friday, 11 February.
The first round at the Singapore Indoor Stadium began with some kicks from Abelardo and some probing jabs from Chen.
The action picked up when “Tyson” pushed his foe to the Circle Wall – landing a wild overhand left and a body shot – but that only fired up “The Ghost,” who responded with an impressive one-two combination.
The Chengdu Ashura Fight Club representative’s striking continued to bother Abelardo for much of the frame, and while the Fairtex fighter found some success with overhand rights, Chen’s combinations had him in control.
“The Ghost” opened the second round aggressively, connecting with a jab-straight combination before going low for a body shot. In response, the Filipino-Kiwi athlete changed gears and went for a takedown, but Chen defended it well, though he ate an elbow for his troubles.
Landing that elbow fired up Abelardo, as he connected with some good shots, including an overhand right that Chen absorbed impressively. After two more left hands, the 30-year-old finally scored a takedown and controlled “The Ghost” until the end of the stanza.
Abelardo’s confidence carried over into the third, as he landed two overhand rights before connecting on two hooks and slamming Chen down to the mat. Abelardo kept the 25-year-old there, working from Chen’s guard and landing a few short punches while occasionally working to advance his position.
“The Ghost” eventually escaped Abelardo’s control in the final 100 seconds of the match – and he made it count by throwing a barrage of combinations and mixing up his attacks with a flurry of punches to the head and body.
A visibly winded Abelardo did connect with a big right hand during that stretch, but Chen’s chin was harder than a sack of granite as he took those hits and continued to throw combos.
In the end, “The Ghost’s” striking weighed more in the eyes of the judges, as he earned the nod and improved to 10-3 overall.