Bibiano Fernandes was successful in his first One FC title defense. | Dean Marchand/Sherdog.com
Bibiano Fernandes has an aura of invincibility surrounding him.
On Friday, Masakatsu Ueda fought like a man who never truly believed he could break the One FC135-pound champion’s seven-fight winning streak.
Fernandes successfully defended his bantamweight belt with a five-round verdict over Ueda in the One FC 15 headliner at the SM Mall of Asia in Manila, Philippines. The Brazilian was on the front foot for the entire 25 minutes, forcing Ueda to desperately defend rear-naked choke attempts in the first, third and fifth rounds.
For much of the fight Fernandes was frustrated by an opponent who kept his back to the cage and tried to continuously circle away from the champion. However, ‘The Flash’ was occasionally able to rock Ueda’s head back with crisp one-two combinations.
Early in the fourth round Ueda began to press forward, landing a hard left kick from his southpaw stance. Although Fernandes’ left eye began to swell severely, the Japanese fighter soon reverted to retreat mode.
Going into the final round, Ueda needed a stoppage to win, but it was Fernandes who set the pace. The AMC Pankration product scored with a right hand and a takedown before closing the show by catching one of his opponent’s body kicks and shoving him to the ground, where he remained until the final bell.
After the fight Fernandes said he might have broken his leg, but that didn’t stop him from claiming a unanimous decision and improving his record to 16-3. Ueda drops to 18-3-2 and sees his three-fight winning streak snapped.
Eduard Folayang already has a reputation as the most popular mixed martial artist in the Philippines, but he might have won himself some new fans after beating former One FC lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku by unanimous decision in the co-main event.
Boku had shown fearsome punching power in past One FC appearances, but he seemed reluctant to engage his Filipino foe, who scored the first of multiple takedowns midway through the opening round.
On a couple of occasions Folayang ended up on his back -- once as a result of an unsuccessful hip toss and later due to a failed guillotine attempt -- but other than that Boku was second best throughout a fight which finished with a wild, crowd-pleasing exchange in the final seconds of the last round.
Folayang’s second straight win ups his mark to 14-4 and puts him back on track for a title shot which he was originally promised in 2012. Boku falls to 21-10-2.
Elsewhere, Rey Docyogen (11-2) finally registered his first One FC win with a hard-fought decision victory over Josh Alvarez (12-7). The Filipino punished the Guam native for his takedown attempts by repeatedly reversing the position and going to work with devastating ground-and-pound to earn the nod from all three cageside judges.
The rematch between Rob Lisita (14-5) and Yusuke Kawanago (13-4-2) was nearly two years in the making. Lisita wasted no time in getting revenge over the last opponent to defeat him, countering a knee attempt with a perfectly timed left hook to drop the former Legend FC featherweight champion. A series of follow-up punches ended the bout 28 seconds into the initial stanza.
James McSweeney (13-11) made a successful promotional debut with a first-round knockout of Chris Lokteff (12-2). The Australian was looking to land a big right hand but was finished in brutal fashion when McSweeney connected with a knee to the head at the 3:04 mark of the frame.
Leandro Ataides (7-0) secured his second straight first-round KO, stopping Tatsuya Mizuno (12-10) in 47 seconds. A barrage of punches from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt put away Mizuno in short order.
Earlier, former boxing world champion Ana Julaton earned a technical knockout victory over Aya Saeid Saber at the 4:01 mark of round three; flyweight Eugene Toquero scored a unanimous decision win over the previously undefeated Gianni Subba; and Jujeath Nagaowa beat Jeet Toshi by technical knockout 4:01 into the third round of their 105-pound tussle.