“The Warrior” Zhang Lipeng expected a three-round grind against fellow lightweight rising star Ruslan “Snow Leopard” Emilbek Uulu. But in the end, the Chinese athlete needed less than a minute to get the job done.
Zhang improved his ONE Championship record to 2-0 by finishing Emilbek Uulu after just 32 seconds of their mixed martial arts clash at ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE on Friday, 28 January.
It was an early Knockout of the Year candidate for the 31-year-old, who made a massive statement at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and stated his case to enter the top-five rankings.
The bout began with each fighter treading carefully in the middle of the Circle, waiting for the other to make the first move. Emilbek Uulu broke that deadlock by throwing a right cross – but that proved to be a pivotal mistake.
Zhang saw the punch coming and countered with a beautiful left-right combo that instantly turned off “Snow Leopard’s” lights. Referee Mohamad Sulaiman jumped in to stop the action and save the Ak-Bars Team representative from further damage.
“The Warrior’s” victory was so impressive that it didn’t take long for ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong to award him a US$50,000 performance bonus, as announced by commentator Mitch Chilson during the post-bout interview.
The win was also a strong follow-up to Zhang’s solid ONE debut last year when he outlasted former lightweight king Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.
The GP Mixed Martial Arts representative has now pushed his overall MMA slate to 32-11-2 while proving that he’s ready for some of the biggest names in the stacked lightweight division, which is currently ruled by Ok Rae Yoon.