Shinya Aoki put in one of the most impressive performances of his career to submit Kamal Shalorus in the opening round and successfully defend his 155-pound title for the first time in the main event of ONE FC: Reign of Champions on Friday in Dubai.
ONE FC’s first card in the Middle East took place at the World Trade Centre and featured three title fights.
Aoki clinched briefly with Shalorus up against the cage at the beginning of their headlining bout before dropping for a double-leg takedown.
Once the fight was on the floor, the Japanese submission specialist was very much in his element and mounted Shalorus before sinking in a body triangle when the Iranian turned his back. From there, it was just a matter of time until Aoki forced the tap with a rear naked choke.
Shalorus appeared to tap twice before the referee noticed with the end coming at 2:15 of the opening round. Aoki improves to 36-6-1 after a sixth consecutive win while the Iranian drops to 9-4 and sees his two-fight winning streak snapped.
In the penultimate fight of the night, Ben Askren wasted no time at all in taking Nobutatsu Suzuki down. From that moment onward, the champion was powerless to prevent the American battering him with a non-stop barrage of punches and knees.
Referee Olivier Coste gave Suzuki every opportunity to escape, but the Japanese fighter could do nothing except cover up as Askren kept raining down punches to his defenceless opponent, forcing the stoppage at the 1:28 mark.
It was a dominant performance from the two-time NCAA Division One champion and U.S. Olympian, who improves to 14-0 and adds the ONE FC welterweight title to the 170-pound belt he previously held under the Bellator banner.
This was only the second loss of Suzuki’s career, but it cost him the title he won by beating Brock Larson earlier this year and sees his record slip to 11-2-2.
Koji Oishi put his ONE FC 145-pound belt on the line against Narantungalag Jadambaa in what was expected to be a very close contest, but the Mongolian controlled the action from start to finish, subjecting the champion to relentless pressure.
Oishi won the belt by stopping Honorio Banario with an overhand right and defended it for the first time against the Filipino former champion in identical fashion, but simply could not find his range or rhythm and struggled for accuracy.
Jadambaa moved forwards for all five rounds and constantly landed knees, punches, and kicks, coming close to finishing the fight in the final five minutes when he trapped Oishi’s head and landed a barrage of unanswered punches.
Oishi’s eye was badly damaged in the second round and appeared on the verge of swelling shut. He was able to survive the full 25 minutes, but the decision was a foregone conclusion with all three judges scoring it to the Mongolian.
It was only Jadambaa’s second fight at 145 pounds, but with the win he becomes the third ONE FC featherweight champion and improves his record to 10-3, while Oishi drops to 25-10-10 after suffering only his second loss in the last five years.
Roger Huerta used the ONE FC rule set to good effect to finish Christian Holley with a barrage of knees to the head and body from side control, followed by some finishing punches after the previously undefeated English lightweight had given up his back.
It was the first win for Huerta since 2010 and takes him to 22-7-1-1 with some mouthwatering match-ups out there for him in the ONE FC 155-pound division, while Holley drops to 10-1 after the first defeat of his career.
There were also big wins for James McSweeney (14-11), who knocked out Cristiano Kaminishi (8-2) with a straight right followed by a soccer kick in their light heavyweight fight, and Herbert Burns (4-0), who scored a unanimous decision win over Hiroshige Tanaka in a featherweight bout.
Official ONE FC: Reign of Champions Results
Shinya Aoki def. Kamal Shalorus by Sub (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:15, R1
Ben Askren def. Nobutatsu Suzuki by TKO (Strikes) at 1:24, R1
Narantungalag Jadambaa def. Koji Oishi by Unan Dec, R3
Roger Huerta def. Christian Holley TKO (Strikes) at 3:13, R1
James McSweeney def. Cristiano Kaminishi by KO at 1:17, R1
Herbert Burns def. Hiroshige Tanaka by Unan. Dec., R3
Mohamad Walid def. Vaughn Donayre by Sub. (Armbar) at 1:05, R1
Dejdamrong sor Amnuaysirichoke def. Ali Yaakub by Sub. (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:34, R1
Ann Osman def. Ana Julaton by Split Dec., R3
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