Geje Eustaquio took on former ONE Championship flyweight king Kairat Akhmetov in Jakarta on Saturday night (local time). The Filipino appeared to have secured a first-round knockout victory when he stunned his opponent with a series of up-kicks, but the fight was inexplicably paused by referee Yuji Shimada.
Akhmetov appeared incapable of intelligently defending himself and the up-kicks to a standing opponent are legal under ONE Championship rules. But he was given time to recover and went on to register the most controversial of split decision wins.
Eustaquio had surprisingly scored the first takedown of the fight, timing a high kick to pull Akhmetov down. The Kazakh worked his way up and they briefly clinched against the cage before the former champion capitalized on an attempted knee to get the fight to the ground.
Akhmetov stood up and ate a series of up-kicks to the face. He was badly dazed and looked to the referee for help, which he got in the form of a timeout, despite the strikes from Eustaquio being legal under both the unified rules of MMA and global MMA rules.
From that moment onward, Akhmetov was able to use his wrestling to control the action, taking Eustaquio down once towards the end of the opening round and again at the start of the second. Early in the third, the Kazakh was warned for inactivity and he responded by dropping his opponent with a perfectly times straight left.
Akhmetov attempted to take advantage with a guillotine choke, but Eustaquio was able to pop his head out and spent the final minute of the fight in top position. In the final seconds, he landed a flurry of punches, some of which came after the bell, but it was not enough in the eyes of two judges.
Despite having scored a legitimate knockout in round one, Eustaquio found himself on the wrong end of a split decision verdict that sees his record fall to 9-6. Akhmetov improves to 24-1, but will know he was extremely fortunate not to suffer a first-round knockout loss.
Earlier in the night, Alain Ngalani (3-3) inflicted a devastating one-punch knock out on Hideki Sekine (7-2). The Japanese giant chased him around the ring looking for a takedown which he never completed before eating a right hand from the hard-hitting heavyweight.
The Indonesian fans enjoyed seeing Stefer Rahardian move to 6-0 with a first-round submission win over Sim Bunsrun (3-4). There was also a big stoppage win for Roy Doliguez (7-4), who came from behind to finish Yago Bryan (3-3) with a straight left in the third round doing the damage.
ONE: TOTAL VICTORY Full Results
- Flyweight bout: Kairat Akhmetov defeats Geje Eustaquio by Split Decision after three (3) rounds
- Flyweight bout: Stefer Rahardian defeats Sim Bunsrun by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:07 minutes of round 1
- Heavyweight bout: Alain Ngalani defeats Hideki Sekine by Knockout at 0:11 minutes of round 1
- Strawweight bout: Roy Doliguez defeats Yago Bryan by TKO (Strikes) at 2:58 minutes of round 3
- Featherweight bout: Hisyam Samsudin defeats Jeremy Meciaz by TKO (Strikes) at 2:47 minutes of round 1
- Flyweight bout: Ramon Gonzales defeats Liu De Li Ge Ri Hu by Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) at 1:52 minutes of round 2
- Strawweight bout: Adrian Matheis defeats Phat Soda by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:11 minutes of round 1
- Bantamweight bout: Riski Umar defeats Adi Nugroho by TKO (Strikes) at 2:00 minutes of round 1
- Catchweight bout (68.3kg): Thai Rithy defeats Jerome S Paye by Knockout at 0:19 minutes of round 2
(Follow @JamesGoyder on Twitter)