(James Goyder is the owner/editor of AsianMMA.com)
Throughout the years, there have been some big matches between fighters from Japan and Korea. But few have produced as much drama as the bantamweight bout between Kwon Won Il and Chen Rui at ONE: Unbreakable II. The event took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and was broadcast on delay on Friday.
Kwon and Rui started trading punches right from the opening bell and both men’s faces were immediately marked up.
Kwon decided to switch things up and repeatedly shot for takedowns, eventually putting Rui on his back. As the Chinese fighter got to his feet, the Korean took his back and almost immediately moved into mount.
Once he secured the position, Kwon exploded with a flurry of punches. Rui kept moving his head to ensure that some of them missed, but enough shots landed to leave the referee with a decision to make.
He decided to let the action continue and was vindicated when Rui eventually succeeded in pushing off the cage with his feet and standing up. There were only seconds remaining in the round, but the damage that Kwon had done to the Chinese fighter’s face was already extensive.
There was no let up at the start of the second stanza with both men throwing heavy leather. Kwon was mixing up punches to the body and head and even landed a spinning back elbow, while Rui looked in desperation mode, planting his feet and swinging full force
The Korean’s strategy proved more successful and his superior accuracy was starting to tell. But Rui seemed to possess an iron chin and a remarkable capacity to take his opponents best punches and keep firing back.
The body work from Kwon would prove to be a good investment. After an embrace at the start of the third, he went to work with punches downstairs and upstairs and one of the former finally took the life out of Rui.
A left hand to the body at the 0:33 mark finished the fight with Rui collapsing to the canvass. The Korean improved to 10-3, while his opponent dropped to 9-2.
It was the first time Kwon had registered back to back wins in his ONE Championship career. After the fight, he called out John Lineker, although given the fireworks that this fight produced matchmakers might be tempted to put together an immediate rematch.
In heavyweight action, Mauro Cerilli (14-4) gave Abdulbasir Vagabov (12-2) a ONE Championship debut to forget. He snapped the Russian’s ten-fight winning streak with a low kick and punches in the second round doing the damage.
In the other heavyweight fight on the card, Oumar Kane (2-0) finished Alain Ngalani (4-6-0-1) late in the opening round. The Senegalese star only needed one takedown to finish his fellow African with ground and pound.
ONE: Unbreakable II results
- Mauro Cerilli def. Abdulbasir Vagabov via TKO (Low kick and punches) at 0:36 of round two
- Daichi Takenaka def. Ivanildo Delfino via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 2:55 of round three
- Kwon Won Il def. Chen Rui via KO (Punch) at 0:31 of round three
- Kickboxing: Beybulat Isaev def. Mihajlo Kecojevic via KO (Punch) at 1:22 of round one
- Sovannahry Em def. Choi Jeong Yun via TKO (Punches) at 2:51 of round two
- Omar Kane def. Alain Ngalani via TKO (Punches) at 4:32 of round one
ONE: Unbreakable II fight highlights
(Video courtesy of ONE Championship)