ONE Championship events in Singapore have always been spectacular, and Enter the Dragon was no exception. The card was filled with some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts as well as kickboxing, and most of the fights ended up in a knockout or submission. The crowd was entertained.
20-year-old Christian Lee was the biggest winner of the eventful evening, knocking out submission legend Shinya Aoki and winning the ONE Championship lightweight title.
Even though Lee was full-mounted and caught in an arm-bar in round one, we knew that the young Singaporean would survive the onslaught and win the bout eventually.
Why? Because Lee is on the right page of the programme book. Or rather, he was in the blue corner.
Right is right
Perhaps it is a mere coincidence. Out of eight bouts on the main card, seven were won by fighters in the blue corner. Highly rated fighters lost, and underdogs won. If anything, this reiterates the unpredictable nature of combat sports.
The evening’s main card started with the fight between former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dedjamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and China’s Miao Li Tao.
Dedjamrong, a battle-hardened Muay Thai World champion, got dominated on the ground before getting knocked out via a left hook in the first round. Miao, who was fighting for only the second time in a ONE arena, was in the blue corner.
The following bout was a little more predictable. Besides, Geje Eustaquio is a former ONE Flyweight World Champion who is still in his prime. He was up against ONE debutant Kim Kyu Sung.
Eustaquio’s championship pedigree and experience came to the fore as he outstruck the young Korean and managed to hold off a late rally en-route to a unanimous decision victory. Eustaquio was in the blue corner.
Next, we have local favourite Amir Khan fighting against Turkey’s Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev. Khan is always a good bet for victory especially with the crowd behind him.
Arslanaliev didn’t care whether he was in Singapore, or anywhere for that matter. He overwhelmed Khan and eventually knocked him out in the first round. Arslanaliev was in the blue corner.
Sage Northcutt is one of the three marquee signings by ONE Championship along with Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson. He is also regarded by many as one of the most promising young fighters in MMA. Unfortunately for Super Sage, he went the way of Alvarez.
Cosmo Alexandre threw a right overhand 25 seconds into the fight, and left Northcutt face-planted. Alexandre was in the blue corner.
Yodsanklai Fairtex is a legend who has over 200 victories in kickboxing and Muay Thai. His last loss was in 2011. His opponent, Samy Sana, lost just three months ago against Jo Nattawut. Sana used his height and reach advantage to pulverise Yodsanklai and won via unanimous decision. Sana was in the blue corner.
At this juncture, we started to notice the rather strange sequence of fighters in the blue corner winning their respective matches. In this bout, the “Greatest Kickboxer of all Time”, Giorgio Petrosyan, got beat by Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy and lost by split decision. The one time we thought definitely that the fighter in the blue corner would win, lost.
We have to admit that we weren’t familiar with Nieky Holzken coming into the event, but the folks from ONE Championship have sold a solid story around the Dutchman.
On paper, he’s more experienced and is ranked slightly higher than compatriot Regian Eersel in Combat Press’ welterweight rankings (Holzken is sixth and Eersel is seventh).
Holzken started well, but it seemed like he gassed out in the latter rounds. Eersel, in the blue corner, won by unanimous decision.
And finally, there’s Shinya Aoki versus Christian Lee. While Lee has the puncher’s chance, you can’t really punch while fighting off submission attempts on the ground.
Surely, Aoki would win it for the red corner, but we all knew what happened. All credit to Lee for overcoming adversity in the match and being on the front foot whenever he can. Lee’s game plan to continuously unload strikes on Aoki worked, and he of course, was in the blue corner.Leave a comment