ONE Championships held their twenty-fifth show on Friday at Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this time putting their flyweight title for grabs.
In the main event - although the fight was followed by two additional bouts featuring Malaysian stars - Adriano Moraes put his flyweight title up for grabs opposite Riku Shibuya. The first round belonged almost entirely to the Brazilian as he scored with a head kick and two takedowns that lead to the back twice, although the referee separated them on one such occasion. Moraes also secured mount, but a scrambling Shibuya managed to squirm his way free.
The second round was a bit more even as Moraes was able to secure a couple of takedowns, but Shibuya found ways this time to more quickly scramble back to his feet. Despite standing ramrod straight and having virtually no defense, Shibuya also managed to walk down Moraes, landing decent strikes in pocket exchanges, although the Brazilian was still the more active and accurate of the two.
By the third frame, Moraes opened with leg kicks to the undefending Shibuya. The Japanese flyweight scored partially with a jumping knee, but it ended up leading to leading to a series of takedowns from Moraes and subsequent scrambles from Shibuya. The challenger seemingly had no issue giving up his back as Moraes could only momentarily claim dominant position before Shibuya was able to turn and stand. Still, Shibuya spent the overwhelming majority of the round simply trying to survive or reset the position. Shibuya was able to score a reversal on top from a failed rear naked choke attempt towards the end of the round, but could do nothing with it.
Moraes' paced slowed in the fourth and Shibuya was able to score with a few left hands, but the key moment came when a deep cut opened over Shibuya's eye from a front kick to the face. Moraes was able to land a double leg takedown and move to the back again before Shibuya reversed before the referee checked the cut with 10 seconds left in the round. Despite being deep, the bout was allowed to continue and the two moved onto the fifth and final round.
The fifth and final frame was more of the same, perhaps, but more even. Moraes was able to score another takedown, move to the back and attempt a rear naked choke, but Shibuya again defended and reversed only for the two to essentially settle the round on the feet. The round and bout was punctuated by a cartwheel kick from Moraes that only partially landed, but served as something of a metaphor for the entire bout: proactive if imprecise offense from Moraes, sturdy defense and not much else from Shibuya.
In the end, Moraes retained his title via unanimous decision.
"Shibuya is a very tough guy," Moraes said. "I studied him very much," Moraes said post fight. The Brazilian also admitted Shibuya proved to be a difficult opponent, but Moraes also reiterated his interest in competing in the organization.
"Yeah, I tried finishing this match every time. Shibuya is tough guy. Very strong," Moraes said. "This belt is mine. I want to stay here a long, long time."
"Moraes is the strongest flyweight champion in the world and I'm the only one who has fought with him for five rounds," Shibuya said after the bout. "I'm disappointed."
As for what's next, the Japanese fighter seemed open to anything. "I want to fight for a world championship. I will go anywhere, anytime. I will show you my fight."
In the first of two bouts that took place after the main event, Ann Osman defated Walaa Abbas via first round submission with a rear naked choke. Walaa attempted to score punches in the clinched before being backed into the cage and scooped out from underneath after a level change from Osman. The native Malaysian moved to mount, then the back where she quickly locked up the fight-ending choke. The finish came at 2:20 of the first frame.
The second of the two post-main event bouts featured Peter Davis and Rajinder Singh Meena, a bout where the hometown favorite in Davis positively cruised. Meena attempted to catch a kick, which forced Davis to sprawl. In the scramble, Davis attempted to take the back, which ultimately resulted in mount. Davis used the gift wrap technique to isolate one of Meena's arms, only to tee off with elbows with his own free arm. After several unblocked shots, the referee halted the action at 2:41 of the first frame.
Returning to the normal order of bouts, the hometown Malaysian Agilan Thani would delight his countryman in his bout as he cruised past Reant Fabriza Rainir after just a minute and 20 seconds in the first round. Thani charged across the cage, scored a right hand and converted that into a blast double. Thani got right to work, passing to mount, despite Rainir's best attempts at recovering guard. From there, the Malaysian rained down shots on Rainir and despite covering up, the referee stopped the contest. The end came at just 1:20 of the first round.
Featherweights Cary Bullos and Ev Ting put on a mostly even striking battle in the first round of their contest, but it was the second round where things got interesting. From the clinch along the fence, Ting executed an expertly-timed foot sweep from double underhooks, a takedown so forceful that Bullos landed directly on his head. In the ensuing scramble, Ting immediately locked up a standing guillotine choke before Bullos could do more than get to his base. The choke was too locked on to avoid and Bullos was forced to tap at 1:05 of the second round.
Another Malaysian has success as Gianni Subba continued his roll in ONE Championships. As the opening bell rang, Subba and his opponent Thanh Vu exchanged range-finding strikes before Vu marched forward, attempting to back Subba up. A patient Subba, however, kept his composure and timed a beautiful left hand counter over the top that dropped Vu face forward to the mat. Subba followed up immediately with a soccer kick and finishing strikes before the referee was forced to stop the action. The entire bout last just 20 seconds.
The second of two women's bouts featured Kirstie Gannaway and April Osenio. This was a bout largely controlled by Evolve's Gannaway, who showed herself to be the superior grappler of the two. Osenio, on multiple occasions, attempted to throw Gannaway with a head toss without concern for a farside underhook. As a result, Gannaway was able to take her back every time Osenio scored the takedown. While Gannaway wasn't able to finish in the first round, and, in fact, Osenio landed a series of devastating punches at range in the first frame, Gannaway made her pay for the mistake in the second. She took Osenio's back just as she had in the first, this time securing the rear naked choke on a clearly winded and beaten Osenio. The end came at 2:50 of the second round.
Opening the main card was a contest between Ramon Gonzales and Chan Rothana. Gonzales attempted two jumping spinning back kicks, both of which missed and forced fairly even ground scrambles. Eventually, though, Gonzales would pay for his recklessness. Rothana was able to secure the first-round victory after Gonzales failed to secure a leg for an achilles lock as Rothana stood over him - after landing on the ground from a failed flying attack - and the Cambodian moved into mount. Once there, Rothana unleashed a furious pace of elbows, hammerfists and punches. The end came officially at 4:48 of the first frame.
Complete ONE 25 results are available here.