Yusup Saadulaev handed Adriano Moraes his first professional loss. | Photo Courtesy: One FC
Yusup Saadulaev succeeded where nine others before him had failed.
A steady diet of takedowns and mild ground-and-pound carried Saadulaev to a split decision over previously unbeaten Constrictor Team representative Adriano Moraes in the One Fighting Championship 12 “Warrior Spirit” main event on Friday at the Putra Indoor Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Saadulaev (11-3-1, 2-2 One FC) delivered takedowns in the first and second rounds, attacking with strikes from the top once he secured position. Moraes (9-1, 0-1 One FC) scrambled out of danger on more than one occasion. The promising Brazilian prospect did his best work late in round two and into round three, where he maneuvered into top position and unleashed some ground-and-pound of his own.
Alas, the effort was not enough for Moraes to escape defeat for the first time. Saadulaev escaped full mount in the third round, settled in top position and punctuated his second victory in as many appearances.
In the co-main event, Evolve MMA middleweight Leandro Ataides kept his perfect professional record intact, as he knocked out Pancrase veteran Bryan Rafiq with less than a minute remaining in the first round.
Rafiq (8-3, 0-1 One FC) met his end 4:19 into round one, his modest three-fight winning streak halted in decisive fashion.
Ataides (6-0, 1-0 One FC) greeted the Frenchman with a double-leg takedown and heavy ground-and-pound before the two middleweights returned to their feet. There, the Brazilian belted Rafiq with a right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas and drew their encounter to an immediate close.
Meanwhile, once-beaten Australian heavyweight Chris Lokteff recorded the most significant win of his career, as he outstruck the American Kickboxing Academy’s Tony Johnson to a unanimous decision.
Lokteff (12-1, 1-0 One FC) had difficulty staying on his feet against the much heavier American. However, he made the most of his opportunities in the standup, staggering Johnson with a right hand in the first round and punishing him further as he fatigued in the third. A former King of the Cage champion, Johnson (7-2, 1-1 One FC) saw his best chance at victory come and go in round two, where he grounded the Australian, transitioned to his back and cinched a rear-naked choke, only to see the game Lokteff free himself from peril.
Others did not require any assistance from the judges. Malaysian lightweight Peter Davis was one of them, as he submitted Alaa Mazloum with a rear-naked choke 1:23 into round two.
Davis (7-3, 4-1 One FC) moved for a takedown on the Egyptian in the second round, transitioned to his back, secured his hooks and landed the choke. The tapout from Mazloum (1-1, 0-1 One FC) followed soon after, as the 32-year-old Davis threw the brakes on a troubling two-fight losing streak.
Elsewhere, Gianni Subba (3-0, 3-0 One FC) stopped Yun Ting Chen (1-1, 1-1 One FC) on elbows 3:03 into the first round of their flyweight scrap; Malaysian featherweight A.J. Lias Mansor (2-3, 1-2 One FC) snapped a three-fight skid with a unanimous decision over Melvin Yeoh (7-2, 1-1 One FC); and Saiful Merican (2-1, 1-1 One FC) captured a unanimous verdict from Cambodian flyweight Tok Sophon (2-1, 0-1 One FC).
In preliminary action, American featherweight Steven Durr (2-1, 1-0 One FC) took a unanimous decision against Samir Mrabet (2-1, 0-1 One FC); Phuket Top Team’s Nik Harris (5-2, 1-0 One FC) put away Zuli Silawanto (6-7, 1-2 One FC), forcing his retirement in between the second and third rounds of their welterweight clash; and Casey Suire (4-0, 1-0 One FC) submitted Raymond Tan (2-1, 1-1 One FC) with a guillotine choke 3:28 into the first round of their battle at 135 pounds.