Thanks to a perfect counter by Martin Nguyen, Marat Gafurov no longer is undefeated, and ONE Championship got a new featherweight champion in the process.
Nguyen (9-1) saw himself in a rough spot early in today’s “ONE Championship 59: Quest for Greatness” headliner. But a low kick by Gafurov (15-1) paved the way for a massive overhand that had the now-ex-champ landing face down on the mat at the 1:27 mark of Round 2.
Seemingly awakened by follow-up shots, though, Gafurov was quick to get up and express his dismay with the stoppage. In fact, he wasn’t even in the cage to hear the announcement of Nguyen’s win at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The title win also meant revenge for the 28-year-old Nguyen, whose sole career loss had come exactly by the hands of choke expert Gafurov at ONE Championship 31 in 2015. The new champ now is on a five-fight winning streak – all finishes. (via Twitter)
It seemed like we could be off to a short fight when Gafurov cracked Nguyen with a right hand and immediately went for the takedown. Nguyen tried to resist, but soon saw himself exactly where he didn’t want to be against Gafurov: with his back dominated. The challenger managed to escape the early scare, though, switching positions against the cage before even briefly getting Gafurov to the ground.
Gafurov, however, was quick to prop himself back up, and the two went back to the center of the cage. After some overall balanced exchanges, Nguyen was once more taken down by Gafurov. This time, however, he managed to keep Gafurov from getting to his back, and briefly got up before being once more taken down before the end of the round.
The tides turned in the second round, after Nguyen managed to get back up from yet another takedown. Approximately one minute in, Gafurov went for a low kick and saw himself hit flush in the face with an overhand right. Nguyen made sure to follow it up with punches, prompting the referee to step in.
The setback was the first of Gafurov’s stellar record – which most recently included six consecutive rear-naked-choke finishes.
Long layoff shows, and Suzuki is no match for a fresh Ev Ting
Nobutatsu Suzuki (11-3-2) hadn’t fought in three years when he met a fighter more than a decade his junior in Ev Ting (14-4). The disparity became apparent when a much faster and fresher Ting needed less than a round to end things in pretty assertive fashion.
While Suzuki showed early aggression with low kicks – and stuffed a takedown attempt by Ting, it didn’t take too long for the tides to turn. After drawing first blood, hurting Suzuki above the left eye, Ting started taking more definitive control of the exchanges halfway through the round. Soon, a failed low kick by Suzuki led to a beautiful takedown by Ting.
At that point, it was clear Suzuki didn’t have much left to give. Ting capped off the display with some violent ground-and-pound. The stoppage marked Ting’s return to the winning column after a title loss to champ Eduard Folayang. Suzuki, in turn, is now on a two-fight skid after a TKO loss to champ Ben Askren in 2014.
Thani cruises, Belingon and May score solid finishes
Malaysia’s own Agilan Thani (8-1) had an easy time bouncing back from his first career loss, cruising his way to an unanimous decision over fellow middleweight Sherif Mohamed (8-4). It was Thani’s first time heading into the judges’ scorecards in his entire pro career. The result follows a first-round submission by Askren in a title affair back in May. Mohamed is now on a two-fight skid.
Reece McLaren (9-5) gave champ Bibiano Fernandes one of his toughest challenges to date when they met back in December. But Kevin Belingon (16-5), himself a former challenger to Fernandes throne, took no notice of that, needing only a minute to land the right hand that spelled the beginning of the end of the bantamweight scrap. (via Twitter)
May Ooi (3-2) was rocked by Ann Osman (5-4), but managed to bounce back big by locking in a finish of her own. The upset win put the 41-year-old former Olympic swimmer back on the winning column after a two-fight skid. It also meant she gets to keep her 100 percent finish percentile in pro wins.
ONE Championship 59 results:
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Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie