Martin Nguyen, Danielle Kelly, Danny Kingad Earn Pivotal Wins At ONE Fight Night 7
The martial arts action leading up to the headline attractions of ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II featured something for every combat sports fan.
Intense kickboxing battles, gritty grappling matches, and monumental MMA bouts all wowed spectators at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 24.
In case you missed any of the first eight contests at the Thai landmark on Friday night, here’s what went down.
Martin Nguyen Gets Back In The Win Column
Former two-division ONE World Champion Martin Nguyen said he had “one chance and one chance only” to kick off another run to the featherweight gold. On Friday, he conquered his first obstacle, as he decimated the battle-hardened Leonardo Casotti in a true firefight.
The Vietnamese-Australian dynamo inflicted damage to his rival’s lead leg throughout the first round, and he rocked the Brazilian kickboxing star with his trademark overhand right in the second.
Nguyen – the division’s #4-ranked contender – landed his first takedown with two minutes left in the last stanza, and he would move to the mount position and rain down elbows before the final bell sounded to end the featherweight MMA contest.
The unanimous decision win improved Nguyen’s record to 15-6 and kept his World Title hopes alive.
Saemapetch Fairtex Stuns Zhang Chenglong In Kickboxing Debut
Saemapetch Fairtex proved he’s just as dangerous in a pair of 8-ounce gloves as he is in his usual 4-ounce mitts.
The top-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender defeated “Muay Thai Boy” Zhang Chenglong by unanimous decision in their kickboxing battle at Lumpinee Stadium.
Throughout the three-round affair, the 28-year-old stayed aggressive, tracking Zhang around the ring and pelting him with boxing combinations that were capped off with body kicks.
Saemapetch’s striking mastery powered him to his first win under ONE’s kickboxing rule set, improved his combined striking record to 125-18-1, and made him an instant threat to the upper echelon of the sport’s bantamweight division.
Danny Kingad Wins Three-Round War With Eko Roni Saputra
After a fast-paced first round, #3-ranked flyweight contender Kingad found his groove in the second frame with flurries of punishing and precise strikes, seemingly putting the Indonesian on his last legs.
Saputra survived, but the Filipino used his newly upgraded grappling repertoire to dominate in the final stanza and cap off a barnburner of a fight.
“The King” took home the unanimous decision victory, improved his stellar career record to 15-3, and snapped his rival’s seven-bout winning streak.
Danielle Kelly Made To Work, Takes Unanimous Decision
Danielle Kelly may have struggled early in her 119-pound catchweight submission grappling match, but she ultimately found her groove and left the ring with her second consecutive victory in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
In the early portion of the 10-minute contest, former ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title challenger Ayaka Miura used her sheer strength and judo skills to trouble the American BJJ phenom, as she relentlessly hunted for her trademark scarf-hold Americana.
Eventually, after seven minutes of action, Kelly was able to reverse the position, secure the mount, and step over to the back in search of a rear-naked choke. The Philadelphia native was seemingly close to getting the tap, but the ultra-tough Miura held on to see the final bell.
With the victory, Kelly improved her submission grappling record to 21-7-1 and called out her old foe, Jessa Khan.
Françesko Xhaja Takes Split-Decision Victory Over Andrei Stoica
After a turbulent promotional debut, Françesko “Smile” Xhaja finally got the win he was looking for in ONE Championship.
The SB Gym representative scored a razor-thin split decision over former ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title challenger Andrei “Mr. KO” Stoica.
The two behemoths swung sledgehammers at each other for the better part of nine minutes during their light heavyweight kickboxing showdown. But “Smile” found his footing in round three, as he pumped boxing combinations into Stoica’s face.
Xhaja’s performance proved he could indeed hang with the division’s most seasoned strikers, and it may have gotten him closer to a bout with divisional king Roman Kryklia.
Victoria Souza Ruins Linda Darrow’s Perfect Record
From the get-go, “Vick” popped her opponent with jabs to set up a variety of strikes that worked to her advantage. Even when the match hit the ground, Darrow couldn’t turn the tide in her favor as she struggled to lock up a submission or even return to her feet.
After three rounds of action, the Brazilian did enough to earn the unanimous decision victory and bump her MMA record to 7-1. In the process, she handed the Indonesian her first career loss.
Tommy Langaker Heel Hooks Uali Kurzhev
World-class BJJ black belt Tommy Langaker made quick work of multiple-time Sambo World Champion Uali Kurzhev in their lightweight submission grappling showdown, once again demonstrating the power of jiu-jitsu.
The Norwegian was aggressive from the opening bell. He threw a flurry of submission attempts at Kurzhev, eventually securing a clean inside heel hook and the tap at the 2:58 mark of the 10-minute round.
With the seemingly effortless victory, the 29-year-old sensation improved his ONE submission grappling record to 2-0, earned a US$50,000 performance bonus, and put himself in position for a shot at Kade Ruotolo‘s ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title.
Adrian Mattheis Starches Zelang Zhaxi In 57 Seconds
Adrian Mattheis was in no mood to hang around in ONE Fight Night 7’s opening contest.
“Papua Badboy” exploded out of the blocks against China’s Zelang Zhaxi, landing an accidental low blow inside the first 10 seconds of the strawweight MMA tilt.
Following a brief recovery period, it was all Mattheis from there on out. The Indonesian star didn’t give Zelang any room to breathe and closed the show with another wild flurry of punches after just 57 seconds of action.
The TKO win marks the Jakarta native’s 11th career victory and his eighth finish in ONE Championship.