Main Event: One Flyweight World Championship, 135lbs
Superlek Kiatmuu9 (C) defeated Takeru Segawa by Decision (Unanimous 3-0)
The first round of the highly anticipated super fight kicked off as both fighters tested the waters. Ferocious kicker Superlek used jabs and straight as a set up to a monstrous low kick. Unable to get in close or out of range Takeru struggled to unload his punching arsenal however, he found a home for his own low kicks. Perhaps wary of the sheer size and power of the champion, Takeru was uncharacteristically cautious for much of the opening frame. Superlek maintained distance perfectly, doubling the jab and finding a home for the baseball bat low kicks, the Thai Boxer took command and finished strong.
Superlek, sticking to well calculated basics, launched a dialed-in right hand, jabs and low kicks to dictate early in the 2nd. The range war continued with Superlek covering up, utilizing front kicks to keep his foe at bay. Takeru started to find his rhythm as the round progressed and he was able to back his foe up. Pressing forward the Japanese ace threw blistering hooks to the body and head. Takeru began to get a read on the low kicks as he blasted a right hook to the face. Surging forward swinging with fight-ending intent, Takeru’s signature style was starting to show, much to the delight of the crowd. The champion remained calm and collected, scoring with jabs from range and even leaning back against the rope to evade with hands down. Solid leg kicks punctuated a round that saw the Champion take control early and Takeru come on strong late.
The start of the 3rd stanza was a trade off between Takeru’s jab jarring the head back and Superlek’s thudding low kick damaging the legs. Takeru leaned on his full contact Karate roots, going to the body with savage hooks with intermittent crescent kicks, toes piercing the body. As the champion folded in pain, Japan’s top kickboxer was relentless with the body shots. Superlek prioritised defending his body, with his head ducked to hide his chin, the champion bent over and weathered a storm of around 15 blows to the head. The final blow had Superlek stunned, resorting to survival instincts as he backed to the ropes. Another body blow took its toll and, as referee Olivier Coste repeatedly yelled at Superlek to fight back, the Thai superstar somehow held on until the round concluded, narrowly avoiding a standing count.
Superlek was backed against the ropes as the championship rounds commenced. With a front kick and pinpoint right hand the champion sought to keep the challenger from closing the range. Takeru was hunting the body but not out of the fight at range, with lightning fast jabs and occasional kicks. Superlek’s low kicks carry unbelievable power as the Thai continued to chop his opponents thighs. With volume Superlek chipped away with punches but the challenger had more starch in his strikes as body blows took the wind from Superlek. The Thai champ spent the majority of the round on the back foot, however, he was able to get a lot of volume in his strikes. Conversely Takeru blocked knees and kicks to the body well and walked through the head shots with a smile. Typical for his style, a bloodied, limping Takeru ploughed forward, wearing on his opponent with unrelenting pressure as a close round came to a conclusion.
The punching vs kicking battle continued into the final round of a sensational fight. Superlek struck first, sharp 1-2 combinations masking his trademark thunderous low kick. The Japanese fighter headhunted through the round, pouring on the pressure as dynamite jabs, crosses and hooks bounced the champions head side to side. Backed up the Thai Boxing sensation found it difficult to get room to unload with power but threw out volume as he attempted to manage diatance. Stepping in knees for the Thai as he gazed up at the clock with a minute to go. The wily veteran continued to clinch when his back was against the ropes and continued to make use of the distance gained as the were restarted in the centre, killing the time until the round, and fight, ended.
The superfight delivered and then some, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats as momentum swung back and forth. The damage on Takeru’s leg was considerable as he somehow made it out of the early rounds. Superlek was marked up around the body from the body blows that had him on the cusp of going down. Both fighters pulled out all the stops in a war that lived up to expectations.
In a hard fought battle of the ages all 3 judges sided with Superlek who retained his belt and picked up an additional $50,000 for his victory.
Thai standout Superlek has long cemented himself at the top of the One 135lb division. An imposing figure who has had issues with the scales in the past, the Thai teased a potential move to 145lbs, having largely cleared out the competition in his weight class. A rematch with Takeru or was suggested, as was another clash with fellow Thai Rodtang, who will likely be campaigning for a shot at the title.
Takeru, in defeat, now faces his 2nd loss in his last 3 bouts. MCL, ACL and hand surgery combined with Spondylolisthesis and well documented struggles with depression and anxiety raised question marks over the Japanese stars time left in the sport. While his tearful post fight interview hinted at retirement a bout with fellow power puncher Rodtang could serve him well stylistically. Additionally if he has it in him, the Karate based Kickboxer could be a real force in One’s 125lb division.
Co-Main Event: One Lightweight Submission World Grappling Championship
Kade Ruotolo defeated Tommy Langaker by Decision (Unanimous 3-0)
Clinch fighting in centre of the ring. Kade more active, Tommy shrugging off, neither committing until Ruotolo leapt for an armlock before a flying scissor entry to a leglock. Langaker was unfazed, shutting down the attempts before working to pass the guard. Ruotolo reversed, Langaker went for the back take, Ruotolo countered again only to have the Norwegian roll out of danger. The beautiful sequence ended with Langaker on top, however his arm was intertwined between Ruotolo’s legs as the Art of JuJitsu representative worked for a Kimura. With characteristic calm, Langaker worked free, ending in deep 1/2 guard as he sought to attack the Champions supporting leg for a reversal. Ruotolo countered with heavy top control and the threat of a Darce/ Spinning choke.
Half way through the match and Ruotolo was aggressive on top looking to pass the guard while the challenger played defence. Langaker elected once again for the deep 1/2 guard prompting an instant Darce/ Spinning choke from his opponent. Ruotolo locked the attempt in deep for a “catch” point as his submission grappling adversary dug deep into his defensive acumen to relieve the pressure and work out of danger. With 3 minutes on the clock Langaker finally saw a window of opportunity as he attacked the legs, fishing for a lock or an opportunistic back take. In contrast to their previous encounter Ruotolo was ready with smooth counters to each and every position. As the fast paced match wound down the Champion threw his legs around the shoulders for first a Teepee/ leg scissors choke and then a triangle on the opposite shoulder. Langaker, still stuck one step behind on defence escapes as the incredible battle of technical offence and defence came to an end.
Their first encounter was razor close, the immediate rematch was clear cut. Ruotolo won by a “catch” point in a bout where he gave his opponent no respite, attacking from start to finish. Langaker showed his mettle and resilient defence but the game that worked so well in their first encounter was shut down by the Champion. Ruotolo had done his home work, improved his game and as a result retained the One Submission Lightweight title and a $50,000 bonus.
(Credit to writer and retired fighter Ben Buchan for the following fight report)
Shinya Aoki defeated John Lineker by Submission (Rear naked Choke, 1R, 3:00)
Shinya Aoki put on an MMA grappling clinic against last-minute opponent John ‘Hands of Stone’ Lineker after slated opponent Sage Northcutt dropped out mysteriously, citing an incident with his own cornerman. Plowing the former One championship bantamweight king to the ground right off the bat, Aoki landed in half guard and used his signature slickness to threaten with a darce choke before dragging his outmatched opponent to the corner, softening him with short elbows and squirming to back control. After flattening him out and landing some heavy ground and pound, Aoki reacted to Lineker getting up to his feet by sinking in the standing rear naked choke and ending the fight in his customary fashion.
Nicky Holzken defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama by TKO (Punches, 1R, 1:40)
Dutch kickboxer Nicky Holzken made sure that this mixed-rules bout didn’t get past the boxing round, knocking down the legend Yoshihiro Akiyama twice on the way to a straightforward first-round knockout. Akiyama was on shaky legs early on after a left hook that landed on the break. Even after beating the count, he took extra seconds to recover on the corner ropes but it only delayed the inevitable. The second knockdown came soon after by counter right and referee Olivier Coste had seen enough, waving off the fight at 1:40 of round one.
Marat Grigorian defeated Sitkichai Sitsongpeenong by KO (Knee and Punches, R3, 1:39)
Marat Grigorian won by third-round knockout against Thai veteran Sitkichai in a featured kickboxing bout at a catchweight of 157 pounds. Marat Grigorian’s high-pressure game saw him take over as the fight went on, edging a competitive first round by landing more and heavier and continuing into the second, the highlight a beautiful knee to the body in the clinch at the end of the round. The knockout, when it came at 1:39 of the third round with a straight right, knee to the body combination, was no less than his perfect gameplan deserved.
Garry Tonon defeated Martin ‘The Situ-Asian’ Ngyuyen by Submission (Rear naked Choke, 1R, 4:41)
American grappling standout and Gracie/Evolve representative Garry Tonon took out Martin ‘The Situ-Asian’ Ngyuyen by first-round rear naked choke. After getting an early takedown, slipping quickly to mount position and then taking the back, ‘The Lion Killer’ kept control against Ngyuyen’s stubborn hand-fighting resistance, using a strong body triangle to sap energy and open opportunities. As the end of the round approached, there was a sense of inevitability as he finally slipped his wrist under the Australian Singaporean’s chin to force the tap.
Ayaka Miura defeated Itsuki Hirata by Decision (Unanimous 3-0)
In the first fight on the main card, Ayaka Miura took all three rounds with a combination of gruelling ring control, takedowns and dirty boxing against an Itsuki Hirata who started out energetically but visibly waned as the fight went on, her attempts to tag Miura on the way in being met with endless pressure against the corners. A last-gasp guillotine attempt was the closest Hirata came to turning the tide, but even that had a feel of desperation as the seconds ran out.
Yuya Wakamatsu defeated Danny Kingad by Decision (Unanimous 3-0)
Yuya Wakamatsu gave the Japanese crowd something to cheer, defeating Filipino standout Danny Kingad after three back and forth, grappling-packed rounds. Kingad was game throughout, but too often ended on the losing side of scrambles and whilst he never really looked in danger of being finished he was largely on the backfoot for most of the match.
Rade Opacic defeated Iraj Azizpour by Decision (Unanimous 3-0)
Rade Opacic’s reach advantage and superior range of attacks were his key to defeating Iran’s Iraj Azizpour by clear decision in a heavyweight kickboxing bout. In a match where the most damaging strikes were low blows delivered by both men, Azizpour was too often reduced to winging power shots
Bokang Masunyane defeated Keito Yamakita by Decision (Unanimous 3-0)
South African Bokang Masunyane used his top class wrestling slams and suffocating top control to take Keito Yamakita’s O with a clear unanimous decision.
Gustavo Balart defeated Hiroba Minowa by Decision (Unanimous 3-0)
Cuban wrestler Gustavo Balart ground out the split decision in a clinch heavy win against
(All videos used with permission from One)