ONE Championship had a thunderous start to its final event of 2021.
The world’s largest martial arts organization premiered ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II on Friday, 17 December, and the lead card featured a pair of first-round knockouts along with a captivating headliner.
Here’s everything that happened during the first three bouts of the WINTER WARRIORS sequel.
Sadikovic Blossoms In ONE Debut
A new contender has emerged for ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Regian “The Immortal” Eersel.
In his promotional debut, German rising star Arian “Game Over” Sadikovic defeated former World Title challenger Mustapha “Dynamite” Haida via unanimous decision and stated his own case for a crack at the gold.
Haida opened up with his punches very early in the first stanza, throwing a left cross and later a cross-uppercut combination. But “Game Over” put the Italian on the back foot, closed the distance, and fired off leg kicks, jab-crosses, hook-crosses, and step-in knees.
There were a pair of brief timeouts due to an accidental groin kick and an unintentional spinning backfist that hit the back of Haida’s head, but once he recovered, Sadikovic continued to apply pressure with a varied repertoire.
“Dynamite” started round two more aggressively, coming forward with well-timed jabs and crosses. But soon, the German behemoth closed the distance again and battered his foe with knees, crosses, powerful hooks, and kicks to the legs and body.
Whenever Haida found space, he launched kicks to the head and arms, and even connected with shots to the body and uppercuts to the head. However, his 27-year-old opponent bulldozed his way forward and kept mixing up his arsenal to great effect.
Things changed completely in the final round. Both men stood in the pocket and exchanged punches and leg kicks, but Sadikovic folded his fellow European with a knee to the ribs. Haida quickly kicked the German shark away from him, but “Game Over” returned with wincing punches and knees to the gut, which forced the Italian to bend over and gasp for air.
Referee Olivier Coste gave him a standing eight-count, but Haida answered and continued to fight. From there, Sadikovic went for the finish with his blended striking, but the Italian hung tough to see the match out.
The German earned the nod from all three judges – and potentially, a golden opportunity.
Andrade Continues To Impress Against ‘The Underdog’
Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade delivered a near-flawless performance.
Andrade, the #4-ranked bantamweight mixed martial arts contender, used his razor-sharp Muay Thai arsenal to knock out “The Underdog” Li Kai Wen in the first round and extinguish the Chinese athlete’s four-bout winning streak.
The Brazilian looked to strike early, but Li flipped the script by hitting a few quick takedowns and trying to frustrate his rival against the Circle Wall. Once he separated from “Wonder Boy,” the Chinese athlete sporadically charged at his foe and connected with powerful hooks.
Andrade, however, wasn’t fazed at all. The Fortaleza native maintained a calm demeanor, countered his over-reaching adversary with knees and left hands, and initiated exchanges with a stiff jab. And as the clock ticked toward the final minute of the stanza, the Brazilian hurt Li with a ferocious knee to the upper torso that had him backpedaling.
But “Wonder Boy” wasn’t done. Andrade continued to pick apart the Chinese fighter with punches, knees, and kicks, and when “The Underdog” dropped his right hand, the Brazilian blasted him with a roundhouse kick to the chin.
A dazed Li wobbled to the Circle Wall, prompting Andrade to unload rapid-fire punches. The Chinese dynamo tried to backpedal some more, but the Brazilian chased him down, dropped him to the mat with a straight left, and unleashed a torrent of short punches. With that, referee Justin Brown stopped the contest at the 4:41 mark of round one.
After that first-round TKO victory, Andrade made his intentions crystal clear. “I want the belt, bring the belt,” the Brazilian yelled, signifying his desire for a crack at ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
And after three straight wins to begin his ONE Championship tenure, the Brazilian rising star certainly has reason to feel confident.
Lasiri Ruins Shinagawa’s Big Debut
A battle between WBC Muay Thai World Champions opened the show, but Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri quickly dropped the curtain on his unsuspecting foe.
The Italian stallion spoiled the promotional debut of Japan’s top Muay Thai fighter, Asahi Shinagawa, as he knocked out the Yokohama native in the first round of their 57.85-kilogram catchweight showdown.
Though Lasiri – the #3-ranked strawweight Muay Thai contender – immediately established his range with a leg kick, Shinagawa quickly made his presence felt by slamming a couple of hard left shovel hooks into the Monza resident’s body and dumping him to the mat.
The scrappy Italian popped back up, threatened with punches, backed his rival into the Circle Wall, and pulled for a clinch, where both men jockeyed for position and exchanged some knees to the ribs.
Moments after they separated, the Japanese striker caught his incoming foe with another left hook to the body, followed by one to the head. But “The Hurricane” just absorbed the shots, marched forward, and went headhunting.
As Shinagawa bounced forward, the Italian grabbed the Muay Thai plum – and that spelled the beginning of the end. Lasiri threw an assortment of knees from the clinch and then missed the ensuing elbow upon their separation, but he stayed in his opponent’s face.
The Japanese fighter tried fending him off with left hooks, but Lasiri stepped forward, pulled down his foe’s left hand, fired a devastating right cross to the head, and then smashed him with a left knee to the ribs that dropped him against the Circle Wall.
The ref, Coste, had no choice but to stop the contest at 2:05 of round one, giving Lasiri his third consecutive victory in ONE Super Series.