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One Championship results: Kevin Belingon, Renzo Gracie and Garry Tonon take wins in Manila

Kevin Belingon threw water on Martin Nguyen’s second attempt to claim his third divisional title with a unanimous decision win in their interim bantamweight title tussle, which took main event privileges at ONE Championship: Reign of Kings in Manila, Philippines on Friday.

With divisional kingpin Bibiano Fernandes out with a foot injury, the newly crowned interim champion is set for a rematch with the Brazilian at a later date, following a loss in their initial meeting in January 2016.

Following the win, Fernandes joined “The Silencer” in the cage, where the championship duo shared their great respect for each other.

“He did a very good job today, but I’m the champion and I’m still going to be the champion,” said Fernandes after shaking Belingon’s hand.

“I respect him as a champion, but we’re in the same weight class and I’m the top contender, so there is no way to escape a fight with my friend,” Belignon replied.

Over the opening two rounds, Nguyen tried to use his distance and pot shot from the outside as Belingon charged in and scored with lunging flurries. The Filipino fan-favorite Belingon had more success in the third, landing several hard shots, but was unfortunately caught low by a signature right hand of Nguyen’s. Belignon landed a thudding roundhouse kick in the fourth round, but Nguyen still looked unaffected despite having another one of his numerous takedowns stuffed a minute later by his counterpart.

In the final round, even though Nguyen walked him down for the majority of the five minutes, Belingon landed the cleaner shots. Nguyen applauded as the announcer declared his opponent as the winner, clearly accepting that the Filipino had done enough to warrant the decision.

Shinya Aoki called for a showdown with main eventer Nguyen after his co-main event win over striking supremo, Shannon Wiratchai.

Aoki was raining down elbows from mount when the referee stopped the action at the midway point of the second round. A former lightweight champion under the ONE banner himself, Aoki lost his last crack at promotional gold against Eduard Folayang back in 2016.

Although the opening round wasn’t action-packed, Renzo Gracie pulled off a successful return to MMA with a second-round submission over veteran Japanese campaigner, Yuki Kondo.

Both fighters were given yellow-cards in the first round for inactivity. Yet, in the second round, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend looked more lively as he took Kondo down, transitioned to his back and submitted him with a rear-naked choke.

Earlier in the day, former lightweight champion Eduard Folayang handed Aziz Pakhrudinov the first loss of his professional career.

Folayang exploded into action in the second round. After dumping Pakhrudinov to the canvas, he landed several strikes and after the Russian got back to his feet, he unraveled his kicking arsenal to great affect. Pakhrudinov looked like had control of the Filipino when he launched into a takedown at the start of the third round, but seconds later he was struggling to compete as they exchanged at striking distance.

The Russian let out a scream of anguish in the final seconds of the contest, perfectly summing up the frustration he had in the striking exchanges with the veteran.

Garry Tonon didn’t have it all his own way in his sophomore outing against Indian lightweight, Rahul Raju.

Raju landed a series of hard shots in the opening round and managed to evade several submissions and takedowns attempts over the three rounds. With a little over a minute left on the clock, “The Lion Killer” had to make a second attempt at a rear-naked choke, which eventually finished the contest, moving his record to 2-0 in MMA.

Check out the ONE Championship: Reign of Kings results here.

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