ONE FC: War of Dragons was the promotion’s first step onto Chinese soil and it concluded with an epic main event which ended with Eric Kelly submitting Rob Lisita after two rounds of non-stop back-and-forth action.
Both fighters had their moments and Lisita landed some soccer kicks and came close with a head and arm choke in the opening round. They exchanged wild punches in the center of the cage and Kelly looked like he was on the verge of securing a rear-naked choke before the Australian escaped and the round ended.
Both men came forward at the start of the second round and an exchange in the center of the cage left Kelly with blood gushing from a badly damaged nose. The referee couldn’t pause the action immediately because Lisita had his back and was working for a rear- naked choke but as soon as the Filipino slipped out the fight was stopped while the doctor assessed the damage.
Kelly was allowed to carry on and he quickly looked to sink in a guillotine but the Australian escaped and ended up in side control. Lisita took the back of his bloodied opponent who flipped him off and then finished the fight in dramatic fashion with a rear-naked choke.
The win didn’t just take Kelly to 11-1 overall, it also secured him a $50,000 performance of the night bonus and a potential title shot against reigning 145-pound champion Koji Oishi while Lisita drops to 14-6 after suffering his first loss in five fights.
Koji Ando (10-3-2) of Japan dealt previously undefeated Brazilian Rafael Nunes (10-1) the first loss of his career, winning by submission in the first round. A takedown attempt by the Brazilian was stuffed and the Japanese fighter instantly took his back and sunk in a rear naked choke.
Japanese mixed martial artist Koetsu Okazaki (10-3) overcame a dominant first round by Yusup Saadulaev (12-4-1-1) to win by second round TKO after taking the Russian’s back and unleashing a tirade of unanswered strikes to the head, causing the referee to put an end to the match.
Former NCAA Division I wrestler Jake Butler (4-1) put his elite wrestling skills on full display as he battered Mohamed Ali (9-7) taking the Egyptian down and subjecting him to a barrage of ground and pound with the referee stopping the fight in the third round.
Official Results for ONE FC: WAR OF DRAGONS:
Eric Kelly def. Rob Lisita by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:43 of round 2
Koji Ando def. Rafael Nunes by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:43 of round 1
Koetsu Okazaki def. Yusup Saadulaev by TKO (Strikes) at 4:21 of round 2
Jake Butler def. Mohamed Ali by TKO (Strikes) at 1:21 of round 3
Paul Cheng def. Mahmoud Hassan by Submission (Verbal) at 0:00 of round 3
Chi Lewis Parry def. Alain Ngalani by TKO (Strikes) at 4:07 of round 1
Sung Ming Yen def. Nicholas Lee by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:10 of round 1
Jeff Huang def. Bala Shetty by TKO (Strikes) at 3:20 of round 1
Eliot Corley def. Rayner Kinsiong by TKO (Strikes) at 1:36 of round 1
Nathan Ng def. Florian Garel by Submission (North-south Choke) at 1:23 of round 1