Adriano Moraes would be undefeated were it not for a razor thin split-decision loss to Yusup Saadulaev in his ONE FC debut and the Brazilian cemented his status as a top flyweight prospect and secured a title shot with a submission win over Kosuke Suzuki on Saturday.
The two flyweights faced off in the main event of ONE FC: Era of Champions at the Mata Elang International Stadium in Jakarta. The Brazilian put on a dominant display, securing multiple takedowns and easily controlling Suzuki on the ground.
Moraes was en route for a clear-cut decision win when he took Suzuki down early in the third round and looked for an arm triangle. The Japanese fighter had been able to successfully defend a similar submission in the earlier exchanges, but eventually tapped this time.
Moraes (11-1) will be fighting for the title next after beating two experienced Japanese opponents in the ONE FC cage. Suzuki will have to work his way back up the ladder after seeing a six-fight winning streak snapped and dropping to 10-4-2.
In the co-main event, Fransino Tirta made a triumphant return to his hometown. The undefeated Indonesian made light of his near three-year absence from active MMA competition to score a quick-fire rear naked choke win over Egyptian Sami Amin.
Tirta (16-0-1) was at a disadvantage in terms of size and reach against the EFC 145-pound champion, but wasted no time in shooting for a takedown and taking his opponent’s back. Amin (4-2) tapped almost immediately to ensure the Indonesian BJJ black belt got his ONE FC career off to a perfect start.
With a flyweight title shot on the line, the stakes were high when Geje Eustaquio (6-2) took on Kentaro Watanabe (10-5) and the Japanese fighter made a strong start, showcasing some of the power punching he was known for during his Shooto days.
In the first round, Eustaquio was on the receiving end of some hard punches, but bounced back to take control of the fight by outworking the Japanese fighter throughout the final two rounds to earn a unanimous-decision win and the opportunity to fight Moraes for the ONE FC 125-pound belt.
The only disappointment for the Indonesian fans came when Yohan Mulia Legowo (7-3) was stopped in the first round by Malaysia’s Ev Ting, who put on a virtuoso striking display to finish the Indonesian with kicks and punches in the opening round.
Getting his ONE FC career off to a perfect start was Burmese born middleweight Aung La Nsang (15-9-1), who lived up to his reputation as being an explosive fighter by knocking out Mahmoud Salama (4-5) with some brutal first-round ground and pound.
Next up for Asia’s biggest MMA promotion is ONE FC: War of Dragons, which is set for Taipei on July 11.
ONE FC 17 Fight Results
Adriano Moraes def. Kosuke Suzuki by Sub (Arm Triangle Choke) at 1:25, R3
Fransino Tirta def. Sami Amin by Sub (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:08, R1
Geje Eustaquio def. Kentaro Watanabe by Unan Dec
Aung La N Sang def. Mahmoud Salama by TKO (Strikes) at 1:06, R1
Ev Ting def. Yohan Mulia Legowo by TKO (Strikes) at 4:35, R1
Dejdamrong sor Amnuaysirichoke def. Jomanz Omanz by TKO (Strikes) at 4:33, R1
Gianni Subba def. Ruel Catalan by Sub (Strikes) at 2:43, R2
Mohammad Sotounzadeh def. Zuli Silawanto by KO at 2:34, R1
Ella Tang def. Desi Rahayu by Unan Dec
(Follow @JamesGoyder on Twitter)