ONE FC Bantamweight World Championship bout: Bibiano Fernandes def. Masakatsu Ueda
Once again, bantamweight champion, Bibiano Fernandes, demonstrated his dominance to the MMA world. From the main event’s beginning to the twenty-five-minute mark, the thirty-four-year-old “Flash” held the center of the cage, calmly yet cautiously stalking Ueda, then pouncing in for a quick exchange or for one of his familiar, single-leg takedowns. Once on top, Fernandes either stayed on top of took the back. But wherever he was, Ueda was almost always on the defensive.
Probably realizing that only a “Hail Mary” would save him, Ueda showed a bit more aggression in the fifth round, but it wasn’t enough to weather Bibiano’s storm. Whenever Ueda threw a punch, Bibiano threw a harder one back, and despite Ueda’s best efforts, he could neither score a takedown nor fend off any of Bibiano’s takedowns. By the time the final bell rang, there was no question who won Rise of Heroes’ main event.
Lightweight bout: Eduard Folayang def. Kotetsu Boku (Unanimous Decision)
As ONE FC commentator, Jason Chambers, repeatedly pointed out, anyone unfamiliar with Kotetsu Boku or Eduard Folayang would have thought the co-main event was a superfight between a lightweight and a flyweight. Compared to the lean, well-built Folayang, Boku (seven years Folayang’s senior) looked like a frail old man.
Eduard was not shy about demonstrating his strength advantage for Kotetsu Boku. In the first round, Folayang lifted Boku into the air and slammed him to the canvas in a way that would have made the WWE proud; and from the beginning of the fight to the end, Eduard pressured his opponent with punches, superior wrestling, and the occasional wheel kick – just for good measure.
Boku, however, deserved an “A” for effort. Despite eating some hard kicks and punches and constantly being on the defensive, “No Face” retained his composure and kept his opponent at bay (sometimes) with the hard rights and lefts that have earned him so many knock-out victories before. Boku’s strategy wasn’t enough to earn him a win, but it was enough to keep him standing until the end of round three.
Flyweight bout: Rey Docyogen def. Joshua Alvarez (Unamimous Decision)
The featherweight battle between Rey Docyogen and Joshua Alvarez may have brought Rise of Heroes’ first round finish streak to a halt, but it kept the action going.
The first round started out slightly in Alvarez’s favor when the Guam native latched on to Docyogen’s back and made repeated attempts at a rear naked choke. The Filipino, however, eventually shook Alvarez off and dominated the rest of the round with his wrestling. Try as he might (and he did try hard), Alvarez just couldn’t stop Docyogen from holding him down, holding his back, and raining punches down upon him.
Alvarez pushed the action in the second round, chasing his opponent around the cage and harassing him with punches. However, Docyogen never once let anyone think he was out of it, and responded to Alvarez’s punches with punches of his own, rocking Alvarez as the second rounded wound down to a close.
The third round started with another groin shot that almost certainly made all of the men in the audience cringe. Alvarez took his time recovering, but didn’t take his time getting back into the fight after he let the referee know he was okay to continue. However, most of the final round belonged to Docyogen. Though Alvarez stayed busy on his back and tried to nail submission attempt after submission attempt, Docyogen never let him up and beat him down with punches, elbows, and forearms.
Featherweight bout: Rob Lisita def. Yusuke Kawanago (Referee Stoppage due to Strikes)
And the quick finishes just keep coming tonight at Rise of Heroes, this time in the form of “Ruthless” Rob Lisita serving a nice, cold dish of revenge to the man who beat him almost two years before, Yusuke Kawanago. Before the first minute of the first round went down in the record books, one of Lisita’s hooks took Kawanago right out of the air as the Japanese fighter attempted a flying knee. Lisita didn’t waste any time positioning himself over his downed opponent and then doing everything in his power to drive Kawanago’s head into the canvas with a barrage of lefts and rights. After the first couple of punches, Kawanago couldn’t defend himself and the referee stopped the fight.
Heavyweight bout: James McSweeney def Chris Lokteff (KO)
Anyone remember any of the fight scenes between Optimus Prime and Megatron in the Transformers movies? If you do, ONE FC fans in Manila just witnessed the live action version of those fights. From the time the first bell resonated throughout the stadium, these two huge men threw huge punches and huge kicks and threw them both with a speed that would have made the most light-footed bantamweight jealous. McSweeney showcased his Muay Thai with furious roundhouse kicks, while Lokteff preferred to bombard his opponents with punches. McSweeney’s lower body attack paid off though when he nailed the Australian with flying knee and knocked him out in the first round.
Middleweight bout: Leandro Ataides def. Tatsuya Mizuno (Referee Stoppage due to Strikes)
Not going to have to spill too much ink on this one. Ataides came out swinging and charging; Mizuno came out running. Ataides rocked him early, and when Mizuno couldn’t back up anymore, there was only other place for him to go: down.
Flyweight bout: Ana Julaton def. Aya Saeid Saber (Referee Stoppage due to Strikes)
At first, this match looked exactly like the first women’s match of the night: a kickboxer throwing kicks, a boxer throwing punches, one of them with little to no clue about grappling, and a victory for the boxer. The only difference was that this time, it was the person with weak jiu-jitsu who won.
When the first bell rang, Ana came out swinging and Saber came out kicking. Neither woman dominated the other standing, but Saber’s grappling skills gave her the upper hand both in the clinch and on the ground. The Egyptian kickboxer repeatedly took Julaton down and put two mice over the Filipina-American’s eye with elbows and punches.
Round two looked the same, and as round three neared its end, most of the Filipino fans in the arena were probably getting ready to swallow a nice, bitter helping of disappointment, as a unanimous decision victory for Saber was in clear view. However, Saber botched her judo throw and Julaton landed on top, leaving the women’s boxing champion in full mount and allowing her to rain down no less than thirty punches on her Saber. Right after the clock passed the final minute mark, the referee saw enough, and awarded a smiling jubilant Julaton her first MMA victory.
Flyweight bout: Eugene Toquero def. Gianni Subba (Unanimous Decision)
Though fans looking for a fast-paced fight were left disappointed, fans looking for heavy kicks got more than what they bargained for. Thailand’s Gianni Subba and the Philippines’ Eugene Toquero spent much of the standing portion of their three-round fight feeling each other out, but when they felt the time was right, they threw hard leg kicks than resonated throughout the arena and were obviously meant to chop their opponents down.
One kick from Toquero did just that – only it didn’t hit the leg. Instead, it hit a part of Subba’s anatomy that no doubt left every male ONE FC fan cringing and thanking his lucky stars that he didn’t decide to quit his job and become a professional MMA fighter. Subba had to take the entire five minutes to recover, but when he did, the fight went on as if nothing happened. Toquero nailed a couple of nice single legs, but Subba returned with some double legs of his own. Toquero spent more time on top, throwing some short jabs as the referee demanded more action. Subba fought back from the bottom in kind, but Toquero maintained a slight advantage in aggression that almost certainly earned him his victory.
Atomweight bout: Jujeath Nagaowa def. Jeet Toshi (TKO)
The smallest fighters on the roster started out with a big show of kicks and punches. Toshi came out kicking and Nagaowa came out punching. However, just when fans thought they were going to be in for a boxer versus kickboxer match, the tiny Jujeath Nagaowa took her opponent down and chipped away at Toshi, who unfortunately had little to no ground game.
The referee eventually stood the two up, but Jujeath took Jeet down soon after. This time, though, instead chipping away at her opponent, Jujeath sought to chop Jeet up with standing punch after standing punch. Toshi occasionally went for an ankle lock, but unfortunately showed how little she knew about jiu-jitsu. A lesson from Rousimar Palhares before the match would have done her some good.
When round two came around, fans had to wonder if Toshi had given up already. Instead of throwing kick after kick on her much shorter opponent, the seven-time, Indian kickboxing champion kept at her failed jiu-jitsu and either hung her hands out limply, or made a futile attempt at a front headlock. By the time the round neared its end, Toshi no longer wanted any part of her opponent. Nagaowa caught her up against the fence and landed fifteen head shots and body shots, and even though Toshi stayed on her feet, the referee had seen enough and called an end to the bout.