Bibiano Fernandes registered a ninth straight victory at ONE FC: Warrior’s Way in Manila on Friday night, successfully defending his 135-pound belt and showing that he still has a ruthless finishing streak with a second-round submission win over Dae Hwan Kim.
Fernandes wasted no time in shooting for his first takedown, but with Kim on his back, sitting up against the cage as the Brazilian worked for the double-leg, the fight was paused after a series of illegal elbows to the back of the head by the undefeated Korean.
Kim received a yellow card and things went from bad to worse after the restart when Fernandes transitioned rapidly from a triangle to an armbar, but the Korean escaped and was able to land a spinning back kick as the round came to a close.
In the second stanza, Kim came out with another spinning back kick that landed clean to the midsection, but the champion pressed forward and ducked under a wild hook to shoot for a takedown.
It was initially stuffed, but Fernandes’ persistence paid off as he leapt on the challenger’s back, sink in his hooks and from there it was a matter of when, not if, the decorated BJJ black belt finished the fight with Kim finally succumbing to the rear naked choke with a tap.
With the win, Fernandes retains his belt and moves to 17-3 with a lot of speculation that he might meet reigning ONE FC 155-pound champion Shinya Aoki in a bout that would presumably take place in the featherweight division. Kim drops to 10-1-1 after tasting defeat for the first time.
In the co-main event, UFC veteran Brandon Vera (13-7-0-1) got his ONE FC career off to the best possible start with a first-round stoppage win over Igor Subora (5-2). The Fil-Am fighter started strong and hurt the Ukrainian with a couple of hard body kicks.
Subora recovered well and began to enjoy some success with a boxing based strategy, but the end came suddenly when Vera switched stance to southpaw and landed a perfect left hand followed by a series of soccer kicks to his turtled up opponent, which gave the referee no option but to stop the fight.
Eduard Folayang (14-5) was being linked to a possible title shot if he could secure a third successive ONE FC win, but the Filipino’s hopes were dashed in dramatic fashion by promotional newcomer Timofey Nastyukhin (8-1), who hit him with a flying knee midway through the first round.
The Russian was riding a seven-fight winning streak into his ONE FC debut and displayed some spectacular striking skills, as he swiftly switched his feet and leapt towards Folayang, connecting with a knee that stunned the Filipino with a couple of follow-up soccer kicks finishing the job.
It was a better evening for Folayang’s Team Lakay training partner Kevin Belingon (13-4), who dominated a surprisingly reticent Koetsu Okazaki (10-4-1), taking advantage of the Japanese fighter’s reluctance to engage to punish him with a barrage of kicks to his lead left leg.
Okazaki offered little and it was left to the Filipino to set the pace, a task which Belingon took to with aplomb. He was close to finding a finish with ground and pound at the end of both the first and final rounds, but ultimately had to settle for a clear-cut decision win, which puts him right back in the title mix.
ONE FC: Warrior’s Way Full Results
Bibiano Fernandes def. Dae Hwan Kim by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:16 minutes of round 2
Brandon Vera def. Igor Subora by Knockout at 3:54 minutes of round 1
Timofey Nastyukhin def. Eduard Folayang by Knockout at 3:11 minutes of round 1
Roger Gracie def. James McSweeney by TKO (Strikes) at 3:15 minutes of round 3
Kevin Belingon def. Koetsu Okazaki by Unanimous Decision
Herbert Burns def. Honorio Banario by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:59 minutes of round 1
Jake Butler def. Sylvain Potard by Unanimous Decision
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke def. Rene Catalan by Knockout at 2:30 minutes of round 1
Ana Julaton def. Walaa Abas by Unanimous Decision
Jujeath Nagaowa def. Tharoth Sam by TKO (Strikes) at 3:34 minutes of round 2
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