Seksan Or. Kwanmuang, Tyson Harrison, Muangthai PK.Saenchai Thrill In ONE Friday Fights 1’s Early Bouts
There’s only one word to describe the first half of the historic ONE Friday Fights 1 event: incredible.
ONE Championship’s inaugural show at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on Friday, January 20, left the organization’s global fan base on the edge of their seats.
In case you missed any of the action on the international Muay Thai and MMA portion of the card, here’s what went down in Bangkok, Thailand.
Seksan Or. Kwanmuang And Tyson Harrison Deliver Instant Muay Thai Classic
Thai icon Seksan showed the world why his moniker is “The Man Who Yields To No One,” as he went toe-to-toe with the rising Australian star for three furious rounds.
Both men came out of the blocks firing, with Seksan throwing spinning elbows and flurries of punches, while “John Wayne Noi” took aim with thudding punches. The duo were happy to absorb fierce strikes to the head and body to land their own, and neither took a backward step.
Harrison ramped up his work with his hands in round two, jolting his foe’s head with hooks and uppercuts. But every time Seksan looked rocked, he immediately fired back with punches. Elbows flew from every direction, and the Bangkok crowd roared in delight.
“The Man Who Yields To No One” switched up his game plan in round three, as he smashed in hard left kicks to his rival’s body, but the Aussie absorbed them and returned fire with elbows and knees. Seksan then opted for some clinchwork, scoring on the inside to grab some late points with the judges after the razor-close affair.
With three fascinating rounds in the books, local hero Seksan took the nod via the closest of split decisions. Following the 140-pound catchweight tilt, it was revealed that the victory came on his 34th birthday.
As an added birthday present, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong awarded him with a massive US$50,000 performance bonus for his efforts, and the bout also earned the Monster Energy Fight of the Night.
Late Flurry Pushes Richard Godoy Past Alexy Lyapunov
Despite having 15 submission victories between the two of them, Godoy and Lyapunov basically engaged in a virtual Muay Thai fight. The Brazilian targeted the Russian’s legs with his kicks, while Lyapunov moved forward and engaged his opponent with his boxing.
Action picked up midway through the final stanza when the match hit the canvas. Lyapunov stuffed his rival’s takedown attempt and landed in full mount, where he dropped some decent ground-and-pound.
But Godoy had one last run in him, eventually pushing the Russian back to his guard where he forced a stalemate and a return to the feet. The moment they restarted, he quickly secured a takedown and landed heavy ground strikes as time expired.
That late flurry convinced two of the three judges to award “The Wolf” with the victory, improving his record to 15-4.
Muangthai PK.Saenchai Wins Three-Round Thriller Against Mavlud Tupiev
Muangthai PK.Saenchai’s experience in the trenches led him to a thrilling three-round unanimous decision victory over Mavlud Tupiev in their 147-pound catchweight Muay Thai showdown, despite the courageous challenge from his tough Uzbek rival.
Tupiev’s punches were the biggest factor in the early running of the fight, as he connected with solid lefts and rights on the Thai’s chin. “Elbow Zombie” fired back, but he definitely felt the force of the bigger man’s powerful shots.
Muangthai picked up the pace in round two and landed scything elbows that cut his opponent, alongside punches, kicks, and knees. Tupiev’s fists still crashed in with force, but he seemed to be slowing down.
During the final stanza, it appeared that Tupiev had an injury to his left arm and could barely lift the limb. Ultimately, this left him open to Muangthai’s continued onslaught. The Uzbek still swung with everything he had until the final bell, but it wasn’t enough to snatch the win.
In the end, “Elbow Zombie” earned the judges’ favor – as well as a cool US$10,000 bonus for his role in the incredible battle.
Josh Hill Passes Tough Test In Keivan Soleiman In ONE Debut
Promotional newcomers Josh Hill and Keivan Soleimani entertained the Lumpinee Stadium crowd over three hard-fought rounds, but in the end, it was the Brit who picked up the unanimous decision victory.
Hill controlled the opening frame of the 177-pound catchweight Muay Thai bout, countering the Iranian veteran’s aggressive style. The second stanza saw the action sway in momentum, as Soleimani began to shine in pressuring his adversary.
The final round saw the duo throw everything they had at one another in what had been a close fight up to that point, but the 23-year-old Brit seemed to have the edge in those last three minutes. Hill showcased his unorthodox kicks and attacked from unpredictable points of entry, allowing the 2022 UK Fighter of the Year to get the nod from the judges.
With the victory, Hill extended his winning streak to seven and moved his record to 33-11-1.
Colton Kielbasa Earns Flawless Debut Win Over Akihiro Fujisawa
Colton “The Monster” Kielbasa registered a swift victory in his first promotional outing, needing just 57 seconds to dispatch the durable veteran, Akihiro “Superjap” Fujisawa, in their flyweight MMA contest.
Fujisawa opened up with sharp punches, but “The Monster” replied with some kicks before closing the distance. Pushing “Superjap” to the ropes, the American wrestler took him to the mat with a lateral drop, landing straight in the mount position.
After unloading a few shots, Kielbasa forced his foe to give up his back and sunk in a quick rear-naked choke to extend his record to 5-1, with four straight first-round victories.
Mohammad Sadeghi Successful In Historic Opening Bout
Mohammad Sadeghi and Angelos “The Bullet” Giakoumis kicked off the historic event with a thrilling flyweight Muay Thai bout that set the night’s bar extremely high. When the dust settled, though, it was Sadeghi who walked away with the unanimous decision victory in his ONE debut.
From the opening bell, the Iranian played a smarter game. Every time “The Bullet” stepped forward to attack, Sadeghi side-stepped and punted body kicks into his foe’s ribs and arms.
The welting shots eventually took its toll, and in the later rounds, Giakoumis’ punches were drained of both their speed and power. This allowed the 20-year-old to close the distance at will and work from within the clinch, where he drove knees into the Greek man’s torso.
Sadeghi’s overwhelming onslaught not only earned him the nod from all three judges, but it improved his record to 11-1 as he became the first-ever athlete to win a ONE Friday Fights contest.