Lightweight contender Honorio “The Rock” Banario is ready to start a new win streak.
It was a tremendous back-and-forth affair, which the Team Lakay veteran edged to earn a unanimous decision victory in front of a home crowd at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
In a scintillating back-and-forth affair, Team Lakay's Honorio 'The Rock' Banario defeats Rahul Raju by unanimous decision!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, November 23, 2018
Banario opened the first stanza looking to use his wushu strikes to knock out the Singapore-based Indian early.
The former ONE Featherweight World Champion then changed tack and stuck to Raju closely. He brought him down to the canvas at one point before he pressed him up against the cage where he landed a sneaky left hook and a couple of knees.
Raju, who entered the bout as a late replacement, proved to be crafty. He took the shots well and even reversed the position. Soon, it turned into a clinch battle, as both athletes traded knees and elbows.
In the second round, “The Kerala Krusher” switched up his game plan to take matters to the mat. He put Banario in danger when he took his back and tagged the Filipino with punches.
“The Rock,” however, escaped and brought the contest back to the feet. He immediately connected with a stunning left hook, which sent the 27-year-old stumbling backward.
At this point, Raju was trying his best to avoid being finished. Instinctively, he grabbed onto a leg as Banario attacked with a kimura attempt, which the Filipino quickly turned into an armbar.
The Indian managed to escape, and brought the riveting match to the final round.
The third and final frame saw more action, but the 29-year-old Benguet resident started to tire as he tried to put the finishing touches on Raju.
He connected on a beautiful right cross followed by a left uppercut, but “The Kerala Krusher” hung tough and was able to recover.
With seconds to go at the end of the bout, Banario saw an opening to grab onto Raju’s neck and came close to getting a last-gasp finish with a standing rear-naked choke, but Raju was saved by the bell.
The bout was left in the judges’ hands, and all three scored the bout in favor of Banario, who took home the victory by unanimous decision.
“The Rock” moved his record to 14-7 and will have his eyes on a place the ONE Lightweight World Prix in 2019.