Marat Gafurov submitted Naruntuntalag Jadambaa in the fourth round of one of the fights of the year at ONE: Dynasty of Champions, while Kairat Akhmetov needed a split decision to squeeze past Adriano Moraes.
Akhmetov and Gafurov remain undefeated after their victories in Beijing, but ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui confirmed he would be open to the idea of offering both their opponents immediate rematches.
“Given how exciting and close both title fights were, I wouldn’t mind giving rematches for both fights. All four of these fighters are champions in my mind.”
While the way that Gafurov choked Jadambaa into unconsciousness left no room for debate there was controversy over the manner of Akhmetov’s victory. The Kazakh scored a number of takedowns but Moraes was constantly looking for sweeps and submission attempts from his back.
It’s the second fight in a row that Moraes has been the full five rounds and, while Cui has some sympathy for the former champion, he also had some strong words for any ONE Championship fighters who go the distance.
“There were great fights. Some fights were super close with decisions that could have gone either way like Adriano Moraes vs Kairat Akhmetov. It was a razor-thin split decision by the judges and I don’t envy their job on this one.
“I personally thought that Moraes had done enough to keep the belt, but I can also see how others agree with the judges’ decision. The big lesson for all fighters is do not leave the fight in the judges’ hands. You control your destiny if you finish your opponent.”
With Gafurov (13-0) having unified the featherweight belts and Akhmetov (23-0) winning the flyweight title ONE Championship now has five undefeated champions on the roster. These include straweight champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (6-0), middleweight belt holder Vitaly Bigdash (8-0) and welterweight champion Ben Askren (14-0-1).
Chi Lewis Parry (6-0-0-1) will have an opportunity to add his name to the list when he takes on Brandon Vera (13-7-0-1) for the organisation’s inaugural heavyweight title at ONE: ‘Spirit of Champions’ in Manila on 11 December.