Brandon Vera successfully defended his One Championship heavyweight crown against Italy’s Mauro Cerilli at One: Conquest of Champions. (Photo via Getty Images)
A Manila crowd already ecstatic at the return of One Championship to the Philippines reached a fever pitch, as two Filipinos left the arena with belts wrapped round their waists at the end of the evening.
In the main event, Filipino-American former Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight and heavyweight contender Brandon Vera successfully defended his One Championship heavyweight crown against Italy’s Mauro Cerilli. “The Truth” made his MMA return after two years away from combat sports, during which time he started an acting career. The ring rust, though, didn’t prevent him for clipping former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship heavyweight kingpin Cerilli on the chin with a well-timed left hook. “The Hammer” found himself on the floor after overextending in order to catch Vera with a right overhand. Vera continues to breathe new life into his post-UFC career with this, his second successful defense of his One Championship title.
In the card’s co-main event, Eduard Folayang seized the vacant One lightweight strap after five rounds of back-and-forth with Singapore’s Amir Khan. After a slow start in the opening stanza of the bout, the Team Lakay representative entertained the crown showing spinning attacks, flying kicks and huge slams. Folayang took the lead of the bout and didn’t let it go until the judges rewarded him with a unanimous decision’s victory. The Filipino fighter became the first two-time titleholder in One lightweight history.
Elsewhere, Team Lakay’s Honorio Banario (14-7) defeated late replacement Rahul Raju (4-4) via unanimous decision in a welterweight bout. Raju stepped up to this contest with only four days’ notice. In the first bout of the main card, American fighter James Nakashima (10–0) outwrestled his opponent, Russia’s Raimond Magomedaliev (5-1), to a unanimous decision, possibly setting a championship match against Zebaztian Kadestam for the welterweight title.