Bibiano Fernandes remains undefeated in One Fighting Championship competition. | Photo Courtesy: One FC
Bibiano Fernandes sent a strong message to the rest of the One Fighting Championship bantamweight division: The title belongs to him.
Fernandes submitted previously unbeaten South Korean prospect Dae Hwan Kim with a second-round rear-naked choke to retain his 135-pound championship in the One FC 23 “Warrior’s Way” headliner on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. Kim (10-1-1) conceded defeat 76 seconds into round two.
Champion kept challenger at bay with repeated takedowns and various submission attempts. Kim did what he could to return fire and found the mark with more than one spinning back kick to the body, but he offered little else in terms of meaningful offense. Early in the second round, Fernandes shot for a double-leg, advanced to a still-standing Kim’s back after it was defended, set his hooks and cinched the choke. So quick was the transition that Kim had no avenue through which to deny his advances. The tapout soon became inevitable.
Undefeated since 2010, Fernandes (17-3) has rattled off nine straight wins.
Related: One FC 23 Play-by-Play
In the heavyweight co-main event, Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Brandon Vera dispatched an overmatched Igor Subora in the first round with a left cross and follow-up soccer kicks. Subora (5-2) met his end 3:54 into round one, his five-fight winning streak grinding to a halt in decisive fashion.
Vera was never in danger. The 37-year-old Lloyd Irvin protégé attacked Subora with knees from the clinch, stinging kicks to the body and a steady stream of leg kicks. The Ukrainian was little more than a sitting duck. A counter left hand wobbled Subora, and a left cross put him on his back.
Vera then put the exclamation point on his first victory in more than three years with three quick soccer kicks to the head.
Meanwhile, surging Russia Top Team export Timofey Nastyukhin knocked out Eduard Folayang with a flying knee and subsequent soccer kick in the first round of their pairing at 155 pounds.
Nastyukhin (8-1) executed the brutal finish 3:11 into round one.
Folayang (14-5) had no answers for the aggressive 25-year-old Russian. Nastyukhin blasted away with power punches from the start, neutralizing the Filipino striker on the feet.
A switch-step flying knee sent Folayang to the canvas in a dazed and defenseless state, and a soccer kick separated him from his senses.
The promising Nastyukhin has won his last eight fights, all of them first-round finishes.
Elsewhere, two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Roger Gracie took care of James McSweeney with a third-round front kick to the body and follow-up punches in a light heavyweight showcase. McSweeney (14-12) succumbed to the blows 3:15 into round three.
The two men battled to a virtual stalemate through two rounds. McSweeney staggered the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with head kick in the first frame but Gracie (7-2) rebounded in the second, where he drew blood, utilized a pesky but effective jab and did damage with looping hooks.
The jab also proved to the London-based Brazilian’s weapon of choice in the third round, and it helped set up the improbable finish. Gracie doubled over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 graduate with a kick to the gut, planted him on the canvas with an uppercut and polished him off with ground-and-pound.
The defeat halted McSweeney’s three-fight winning streak.
In other action, Lakay MMA’s Kevin Belingon (13-4) took a unanimous decision from Koetsu Okazaki (10-4-1) in their showdown at 135 pounds; Brazilian prospect Herbert Burns (5-0) submitted Honorio Banario (8-5) with a rear-naked choke 3:59 into the first round of their featherweight battle; Evolve MMA’s Jake Butler (5-1) picked up a unanimous decision against Sylvain Potard (7-5) in their light heavyweight rematch, avenging an October 2013 knockout defeat; Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (4-0) wiped out Rene Catalan (0-2) with a knee strike to the body 2:30 into round one of their encounter at 125 pounds; Ana Julaton (2-1) pocketed a unanimous decision over Walaa Abbas Mohamed Kamaly (2-2) in their women’s flyweight scrap; and Jujeath Nagaowa (2-0) put away Tharoth Sam (2-1) with punches 3:34 into the second round of their clash at 105 pounds.