Two new champions were crowned at ONE FC: Rise to Power in Bay City, Pasay, Philippines.
The SM Mall of Asia Arena was packed to the rafters, but for the Filipino fans it was a disappointing night as all five of their fighters lost, culminating in the dramatic defeat for Banario.
The defending 145-pound ONE FC champion came close to an emphatic first-round victory when, after a patient start, he exploded into life with a body kick followed by a barrage of punches that had Oishi badly hurt and the referee taking a close look at the action at the end of the opening round.
The Japanese veteran was saved by the bell as the Team Lakay fighter unloaded on him, but he was able to take advantage of the break between rounds to recover. In round two, Oishi landed a sledgehammer of an overhand right that put the Filipino flat on his back. It was followed up with another hard right hand that forced the referee to dive in to save the Banario.
Oishi celebrated his 36th birthday by becoming the new ONE FC featherweight champion.
Fernandes’ reputation as being one of the best bantamweights in the world was enhanced as he dominated Koetsu Okazaki for the full five rounds, although it looked like it was going to be a fast night’s work for Brazilian when he locked in a tight rear naked choke in the opening round, but the Japanese fighter somehow survived.
The former Shooto featherweight champion was on the back foot throughout the fight as Fernandes stalked forwards looking to land wild overhand rights and taking Okazaki down at will. A decision victory for “The Flash” was a foregone conclusion once the five rounds had finished.
With the win, Fernandes adds the ONE FC interim bantamweight belt to his Dream title. A unification bout with reigning bantamweight champion Soo Chul Kim awaits him. Another prospective title contender at 135 pounds is Masakatsu Ueda, who registered his third straight win at the expense of Kevin Belingon.
While it was not a good night for the Filipinos, the Japanese fighters fared much better with four out of five emerging victorious. Ueda and Belingon also claimed “Fight of the Night” honors after a dramatic finale to the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Ueda took Belingon down and kept him down. He looked firmly in control until late in the final round when he was badly hurt by a combination of knees and punches from the Filipino.
ONE FC fights are scored overall, not round by round, and it looked like the tide had turned in favor of the local favorite as blood poured from a wound above Ueda’s eye.
Ueda was clearly hurt, but survived the onslaught and, as Belingon started to visibly slow down, was able to finish the round strongly with some ground and pound of his own. He won the decision and a trophy for emerging first out of a field of eight fighters in the tournament.
Earlier in the night, Nobutatsu Suzuki and Phil Baroni put on a welterweight fight, which will linger long in the memory. The “New York Badass” started strong and hurt the Japanese fighter with a couple of right hands, but couldn’t find the finish and began to fade as the high pace of the action took its toll.
After being on the back foot for the first few minutes, Suzuki seized the initiative and backed Baroni up against the cage where he fired away with knees and punches. The legs of the UFC, Pride and Strikeforce veteran buckled and, as he lay prone on the floor, the referee stepped in to save him from further punishment.
Replays showed that Baroni’s collapse was due as much to a dislocated ankle as the strikes of his opponent and he was stretchered from the cage and taken to the hospital. For Suzuki, who has a slightly unusual Karate-based style, it was a very impressive ONE FC debut. He already looks to be a strong contender for a title shot in the 170-pound division.
Official results for ONE FC Rise to Power
-Koji Oishi def. Honorio Banario by KO at 1:45, R2
-Bibiano Fernandes def. Koetsu Okazaki by Unanimous Decision, R5
-Masakatsu Ueda def. Kevin Belingon by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Yasuhiro Urushitani def. Rey Docyogen by Split Decision, R3
-Nobutatsu Suzuki def. Phil Baroni by KO at 4:17, R1
-Kamal Shalorus def. Eduard Folayang by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Andrew Leone def. Geje Eustaquio by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Yusup Saadulaev def. Ryan Diaz by Submission (Anaconda Choke) at 2:57, R2
-Lowen Tynanes def. Felipe Enomoto by TKO at 2:41, R1
-Tony Johnson def. Tim Slyvia by TKO at 3:25, R2