High Fives: A King Reclaims His Crown

By Guy Portman May 14, 2018
UFC 224 and Bellator 199 were not the only shows taking place May 11-13. There were a number of other events to pique the interest of MMA fans, particularly in Asia. Here are five of the highlights:

REMATCH REVENGEOne Championship on May 12 in Jakarta, Indonesia, saw Yoshitaka Naito take a split decision over Brazilian adversary Alex Silva in their eagerly awaited main event rematch. Silva earned the judges’ nod back at One Championship “Warriors of the World” in December. This time, his 34-year-old Japanese counterpart largely eschewed the standup in favor of relentlessly seeking takedowns. Most of the highly competitive contest played out on the mat. Naito avenged his only career loss with a split decision and in doing so reclaimed the One Championship strawweight belt.

SUPERMAN PUNCH … Former One Championship middleweight titleholder Vitaly Bigdash’s return from injury did not go as planned. The Russian met his demise in the third round, where Leandro Ataides dropped him with a Superman punch and then closed the proceedings with a fight-ending volley of ground-and-pound. This was the third consecutive fight in which “Leo” has had his hand raised. The Brazilian figures to challenge for the middleweight belt in his next outing. Bigdash has lost two in a row after starting his career 9-0.

SNAP, CRACKLE, POP … Two veteran heavyweights went head-to-head at Road Fighting Championship 47 on May 12 in Beijing, with Dutchman Gilbert Yvel facing off with Samoan standup specialist Siala-Mou Siliga. The end came 3:43 into the first round, as Yvel secured an armbar from the bottom. The technical submission resulted in a gruesome arm break for “Mighty Mo.”

GRAPPLING GIANT … On the Road Fighting Championship undercard, Brazilian grappling sensation Gabi Garcia overpowered Russian Veronika Futina. In the early going, Futina enjoyed some success while exchanging punches with her larger adversary. However, when the fight hit the mat, the outcome became inevitable. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion took Futina’s back, softened her with punches and cinched the rear-naked choke. The finish came at the 3:49 mark of the first round.

FIRST-ROUND FIREWORKS … In undercard One Championship action, unbeaten Indonesian flyweight Stefer Rahardian submitted India’s Himanshu Kaushik by rear-naked choke in the opening period. After a tentative start on the feet, Rahardian used his wrestling to force the fight to the mat. Kaushik offered little resistance on the ground and the Indonesian easily took his back and sank in a rear-naked choke at the 2:25 mark of the first stanza. Rahardian improved to 8-0, Kaushik dropped to 3-2.
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