Two champ-champs met in ONE Championship, and local star Aung La N Sang saved the day for the Myanmar crowd.
The ONE light heavyweight champion put his second belt — the middleweight crown — on the line against undefeated Mohammad Karaki, a Desert Force 185- and 205-pound titleholder, and needed less than three minutes to claim another victory on Friday.
Sang hurt and dropped Karaki early with a pair of uppercuts, continuing to punish him with punches on the ground. Karaki somehow managed to get back on his feet, but “The Burmese Python” was relentless in his attacks, knocking Karaki down a second time and forcing the referee to stop the bout at the 2:21 mark.
Two-division champ Aung La N Sang (24-10, 1 NC) defends his middleweight belt, brutalizing Mohammad Karaki in the first round. "The Burmese Python" is 9-1 in ONE; he has finished 22 of 24 wins, 17 in the first round. #PursuitOfGreatness pic.twitter.com/LujJqkVXnX— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) October 26, 2018
Winner of nine of his 10 fights inside the ONE cage, having avenged his lone loss in 2017, Sang now holds a 24-10-1 record in mixed martial arts.
”This is just the beginning,” Sang said after the win. “I’m gonna keep getting better and guarantee I’m gonna put on better shows.”
In the co-main event, Keanu Subba silenced the crowd with a dominant victory over Phoe Thaw, forcing the previously unbeaten local fighter with a guillotine choke.
Experienced Japanese Masakazu Imanari finally returned to the winning column under the ONE banner. Six and a half years after his win over current interim champion Kevin Belingon, a stretch in which he fought 16 times for various promotions, Imanari once against showed his dangerous ground game.
Taking on Radeem Rahman in a catchweight bout, the 42-year-old submission specialist immediately rolled and went for an omoplata. Rahman, who held a 3-1 record prior to Friday’s event, escaped the submission attempt only to fall into a deep armbar and tap.
Another veteran to enter the cage was Luis Santos, who made quick work of UFC veteran Daichi Abe. With only three strikes landed in the fight, three hard liver kicks, the former ONE welterweight title contender stopped Abe in 33 seconds to score his fifth win under the company’s banner, improving to 65-11-1-1 in MMA (watch here).
Check the complete ONE Championship: Pursuit of Greatness results below.
Aung La N Sang def. Mohammad Karaki via TKO at 2:21 of R1
Keanu Subba def. Phoe Thaw via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:47 of R1
Tarik Khbabez def. Ibrahim El Bouni via TKO at 2:23 of R3 — kickboxing
Masakazu Imanari def. Radeem Rahman via submission (armbar) at 1:23 of R1
Han Zi Hao def. Ryan Jakiri via knockout at 1:39 of R1 — kickboxing
Ye Thway Ne def. Mite Yine via unanimous decision
Luis Santos def. Daichi Abe via knockout at 0:33 of R1
Josh Tonna def. Joseph Lasiri via unanimous decision — kickboxing
Ahmad Qais Jasoor def. Ma Xu Dong via knockout at 2:16 of R2
Rudy Agustian def. Kaji Ebin via submission (kimura) at 4:01 of R1