Japanese mixed martial arts veteran Shoko Sato sent a warning shot to the bantamweight division as he announced his arrival in ONE Championship with an eye-opening finish of Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo.
On Friday, 10 May, the Shooto Bantamweight World Champion showed his skill and power with a second-round TKO on the main card of ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Shoko Sato picks up a massive win for ????????, finishing Mark Fairtex Abelardo via TKO at 1:58 of Round 2!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, 10 May 2019
The first round saw Abelardo begin aggressively as he attacked the 31-year-old with two low leg kicks that caused an impact that echoed around the arena.
It was clear that the Kiwi athlete’s power would cause problems for his rival if it went unchecked, but Sato had the solution to stifle his adversary and turn things in his favor.
The man from Tokyo stayed just outside of range and kept Abelardo at bay with heel strikes to the lead leg.
When he closed the distance, Sato hit a successful takedown by sweeping the Fairtex gym representative’s standing leg, but Abelardo quickly got back to his feet. However, he then absorbed a head kick, but wore it quite well.
“Tyson” finished the round well as he got the takedown he wanted and used it to launch a flurry of ground and pound. That gave the opening frame an even complexion, but that abruptly changed in the second stanza.
Sato was more aggressive after the restart. After he evaded a wild right hook from Abelardo, the Sakaguchi Dojo and Fight Base Toritsudai representative countered with a right elbow that shook his opponent momentarily.
That gave the 31-year-old a window to put Abelardo’s back on the mat, and then unleash a plethora of strikes as he stood in his guard.
The ONE Warrior Series winner covered up and could not offer any sort of intelligent defense, which forced referee Yoshinori Umeki to call a halt to the contest at the 1:58 mark of round two.
With his TKO win, Sato improved his record to 32-16-3 (1NC) and became an instant contender in one of The Home Of Martial Arts’ most competitive divisions.