Marat Gafurov and Narantungalag Jadambaa went to war in Beijing on Saturday night local time in a back-and-forth fight, which pushed both men to their absolute limits. In the end, it was the Russian who prevailed to unify the ONE Championship featherweight titles with a rear-naked choke late in the fourth round.
Their title unification bout was the headline attraction of ONE: Dynasty of Champions in the National Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium. After an evenly matched opening round, Gafurov scored a takedown attempt early in the second stanza and quickly locked on an armbar.
The fight seemed all but finished with the tap from Jadambaa a matter of formality, but the Mongolian showed unbelievable heart, not to mention impressive flexibility, to somehow survive and escape. Despite the setback, Gafurov was still in top position, where he proceeded to punish the regular champion.
Gafurov was able to move fluidly from side control to half guard to mount to knee on belly to crucifix position, while constantly punishing the face of his prone opponent with punches and elbows. Yet Jadambaa not only survived, he worked his way back to his feet and finished the round with a barrage of punches.
The undefeated Russian looked to be the more fatigued of the two going into the third round, but capitalized on an ambitious flying knee attempt to take Jadambaa down. Gafurov took the Mongolian’s back and sunk in one of his trademark submission attempts, but once again the 39-year-old somehow survived, worked his way back up, and then landed some hard punches of his own.
Jadambaa started the fourth round in confident style, stuffing a couple of takedowns and landing punches to the body and head. A wild attempt at an overhand right left him off balance and Gafurov capitalized ruthlessly to drag him to the ground and once again moved from mount to side control to crucifix position, while landing a barrage of punches.
Jadamba gave up his back in a desperate attempt to escape and Gafurov locked in another rear naked choke. The brave Mongolian refused to tap and had to be rescued by referee Olivier Coste, who recognized he had slipped into unconsciousness and called the bout off with 21 seconds remaining in the round.
At the end of an action packed title fight, which will be talked about for years to come, Gafurov succeeded in unifying the titles and remains undefeated, moving to 13-0. Jadambaa drops to 10-4 after suffering the first submission loss of his 11 year professional career.
The new ONE Championship 125-pound titleholder is also undefeated, as Kairat Akhmetov literally wrestled the belt away from Adriano Moraes. The Kazakh prevailed courtesy of a split decision after repeatedly taking the defending champion down, although he was never able to capitalize with either ground and pound or submission attempts.
The only scare for Akhmetov came at the end of round five, when he took Moraes down only for the Brazilian to reverse the position and start to posture up and throw down punches. It was probably the most significant single moment of the fight, but it was not enough for the defending champion to erode the lead his opponent had already amassed on the scorecards.
Moraes can count himself a little unfortunate to find himself on the wrong end of a split decision for the second time in his career. His record drops to 13-2, while Akhmetov has yet to taste defeat and improves to 23-0, claiming the ONE Championship flyweight title in the process.
In welterweight action, Nikolay Aleksakhin (16-3) dominated Burenzorig Batmunkh (302) for the best part of three rounds, scoring a rear naked choke win with 21 seconds remaining in the fight. Jeff Huang (6-2) needed just 90 seconds to win his rematch with Trestle Tan (3-5-0-1) by TKO.
There was also a one-night, four-man featherweight tournament, which saw teammates Yang Sen (2-0) and Zhang Jia Cai (1-1) clash in the final. The former prevailed courtesy of a Kimura early in the second round.
ONE WUJIE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (BEIJING II) Full Results
- ONE Featherweight World Championship bout: Marat Gafurov defeats Narantungalag Jadambaa by Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:39 minutes of round 4
- ONE Flyweight World Championship bout: Kairat Akhmetov defeats Adriano Moraes by Decision (Split)
- Beijing Featherweight Tournament II final bout: Yang Sen defeats Zhang Jia Cai by Submission (Kimura) at 0:35 minutes of round 2
- Flyweight bout: Li Wei Bin defeats Wang Ya Yong by Decision (Split)
- Welterweight bout: Nikolay Aleksakhin defeats Burenzorig Batmunkh by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:39 minutes of round 3
- Welterweight bout: Jeff Huang defeats Trestle Tan by TKO (Strikes) at 1:30 minutes of round 1
- Beijing Featherweight Tournament II alternate bout: Ma Jia Wen defeats Wang Ya Wei by Unanimous Decision
- Beijing Featherweight Tournament II semi-final bout: Zhang Jia Cai defeats Qiao Long Fei by Submission at 3:42 minutes of round 1
- Beijing Featherweight Tournament II semi-final bout: Yang Sen defeats Ala Teng Bu Ri Ge De by Decision (Split)
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