Bibiano Fernandes is the most dominant bantamweight in the history of Asian MMA and the Brazilian seems to be improving with age after scoring back-to-back stoppage wins in ONE Championship title defenses.
At ONE: Kingdom of Champions in Yangon on Saturday night (local time), he claimed his first knockout win since 2011, at the expense of Cage Warriors 135-pound champion Toni Tauru. The Finnish fighter had won ten straight fights going into this contest, but came up short against the Brazilian champion.
Fernandes has not been beaten as a bantamweight since 2007, but Tauru was expected to provide a tough test for the multiple time BJJ world champion. The Finnish fighter was significantly taller, but this advantage was nullified by “The Flash,” who used a combination of striking and takedowns to control the action from start to finish.
After a flurry at the start of the first round, Fernandes was unable to do any further damage to Tauru despite repeatedly taking him down and enjoying positional superiority. That all changed at the start of the third round when the Brazilian turned up the pressure and rocked the challenger with a devastating right uppercut.
Tauru was on wobbly legs, but Fernandes gave him no time to recover and followed up with another right hand that sent the Finnish fighter flying backwards. There was no need for a follow up as the champion turned away in triumph, while the challenger lay unconscious on the canvass.
Fernandes inevitably seems to win fights, but after three straight five=round decision wins, he seems to have recovered his killer instinct. Last December he finished the previously undefeated Dae Hwan Kim with a rear naked choke and in Yangon he became the first man to ever stop Tauru with strikes.
The victory takes Fernandes’ overall record to 18-3 and extends his winning streak to ten, a period that has seen him win titles with both Dream and ONE Championship. Meanwhile, Tauru drops to 10-2-1 after suffering a first defeat since he started out as a professional in 2011.
The other international fight on the card was in the women’s 105-pound division and it matched Taiwan’s Jenny Huang with Russia’s Elena Pashnina. After three fairly uneventful rounds, it was the former who prevailed courtesy of a split decision, with her opponent paying the price for being yellow carded for inactivity.
ONE: Kingdom of Champions Results
Bantamweight World Championship Bout:
Bibiano Fernandes def. Toni Tauru by KO (Punch) at 1:02 of round 3
Myanmar Lightweight Tournament Finals:
Thway Thit Aung def. Saw Ba Oo by KO (Punch) at 2:25 of round 1
Myanmar Featherweight Tournament Finals:
Tha Pyay Nyo def. Myo Man Thit by TKO (Punches) at 0:56 of round 1
Jenny Huang def. Elena Pashinina by Decision (Split) at 5:00 of round 3
Myanmar Featherweight Tournament Semi-Finals:
Myo Man Thit def. Min Htet Zaw via TKO (Punches) at 4:43 of round 1
Tha Pyay Nyo def. Hlit Hlit Lay by KO (Punch) at 2:54 of round 1
Myanmar Featherweight Alternate Bout
Phoe Thaw def. Kyal Sin Htoo by TKO (Cut) at 5:00 of round 1
Myanmar Lightweight Tournament Semi-Finals
Saw Ba Oo def. Dawna Aung by TKO (Punches) at 4:03 of round 1
Thway Thit Aung def. Saw Thae Oo by TKO (Punches) at 0:52 of round 1
Myanmar Lightweight Alternate Bout
Saw L Lay def. Saw Hla Doe via decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of round 2
(Follow @JamesGoyder on Twitter | Photos courtesy of ONE Championship)