Start fast, finish strong was how Martin Nguyen described his plan of attack against reigning lightweight champ Eduard Folayang.
‘The Situ-Asian’ made good on that promise on Friday night with a crushing one-punch knockout to end Folayang’s reign and become the first two-division champion in the promotion’s history.
It was just a few months ago that Nguyen put a grinding halt to Marat Gafurov’s undefeated run as featherweight champion. The 28-year-old Vietnamese-Australian then stepped up a weight class to challenge ONE lightweight champion Folayang for his title, looking to repeat the feat and write himself into the books.
After plastering each other with hard strikes in the first round, both men picked up where they left off in the second, where Folayang and Nguyen continued to trade heavy blows at the center of the cage.
When Folayang launched his patented spinning backfist, Nguyen saw an opportunity to turn the lights off on his Filipino foe by uncorking explosive signature right hand.
“Eduard, I still love you like a brother, I hope you’re fine and I hope you come back stronger. I’m still your number one fan,” Nguyen said.
His win capped off a stellar night in Manila, with nine finishes and just one bout going the full three round distance.
In the co-main event, Adriano Moraes retained his flyweight title by submitting Danny Kingad with a rear-naked choke in the first round.
Filipino knockout artist Kevin Belingon captured another sensational victory in front of a jubilant hometown crowd by routing South Korean-American dynamo Kevin “Oldboy” Chung, solidifying his position as a top contender in the stacked bantamweight division.
The Baguio City native frequently caught Chung with crushing right crosses and lashing kicks to the body from bell to bell. Chung tried to change the complexion of the match by resorting to his superb grappling skills, but Belingon’s defense against submission attempts was enough to steer him to a unanimous decision triumph.
Previously unbeaten Japanese prospect Hayato Suzuki bowed down for the very first time in his professional career as he yielded to Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion black belt Alex Silva.
Both men started out aggressively, but it was Silva who showed a more capable set of grappling skills.
Further down the card and former world title contender Reece McLaren found a new home at flyweight as he pulled off a successful submission victory by defeating flyweight mainstay Anatpong Bunrad. Debuting effortlessly in his new weight class, McLaren showcased his fluid grappling skills and solid striking. With a mere eight seconds remaining in the very first round, McLaren caught Bunrad in an anaconda choke and transitioned into a D’arce choke to force the tap.
Team Lakay’s highly-touted atomweight prospect Gina “The Conviction” Iniong extended her winning streak inside the ONE Championship cage with an outstanding second-round finish of Indonesia’s Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol.
A three-round strawweight encounter set a promising tone for the entire evening of ONE: Legends of the World as Peng Xue Wen collided with Cambodian Phat Soda in the curtain-raiser for the event.
Peng, a National Youth Greco Wrestling Champion, left a lasting impression in his maiden trip to the ONE Championship cage by scoring a knockout victory over Soda with a high-impact slam in the first round.
ONE Lightweight World Championship bout
Martin Nguyen def. Eduard Folayang
Knockout at 2:20 minutes of R2
ONE Flyweight World Championship bout
Adriano Moraes def. Danny Kingad
Submission (RNC) at 4:45 minutes of R1
Kevin Belingon def. Kevin Chung
Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds
Alex Silva def. Hayato Suzuki
Submission (Armbar) at 1:22 minutes of R1
Reece McLaren def. Anatpong Bunrad
Submission (D’arce Choke) at 4:52 minutes of R1
Zhao Zhi Kang def. Thai Rithy
Submission (RNC) at 2:31 minutes of R1
Women’s atomweight bout
Gina Iniong def. Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol
TKO (Strikes) at 2:12 minutes of R2
Joshua Pacio def. Roy Doliguez
Knockout (KO) at 0:38 minutes of R2
Xie Chao def. Kelvin Ong
TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) at 1:48 minutes of R1
Peng Xue Wen def. Phat Soda
Knockout (KO) at 2:15 minutes of R1