Smilla Sundell Stuns Natalia Diachkova to Force Vacant Belt at ONE Fight Night 22

The women’s muay thai belt at 125 pounds may not be in anyone’s possession now, but the division’s only champion is on a mission to get it back very soon.

One Championship and beltholder Smilla Sundell (36-5, 5-0 ONE) had visions of the 19-year-old from Sweden claiming titles across multiple disciplines, but much changed the day before the event. Sundell missed her weight class by 1.5 pounds and was forced to surrender her throne, and only challenger Natalia Diachkova (30-5, 4-1 ONE) could claim it. While ONE on Prime Video 22 concluded with a vacant 125-pound belt in One’s women’s muay thai division, it all-but promised an immediate rematch as Sundell pulled victory from the jaws of defeat as she dispatched Diachkova right before the second round ended.

Diachkova proved early on that her power would play a factor during the match. The underdog chained clean combinations together, landing flush on the face of the heavier woman repeatedly. As Diachkova continued to tag Sundall, damage began to mount almost immediately. Reddening quickly turned to swelling, and the Russian bullied the younger lady around the ring. Sundell’s left eye grew in size while a small mouse ballooned on her forehead. This momentum continued for the woman known as “Karelian Lynx” as she appeared to be on the path to an upset.

The Team Mehdi Zatout fighter beat Sundell to the punch as the second round progressed, with little sign of her slowing. Out of nowhere, as if a switch had been flipped in the former champion, Sundell unleashed a hellacious left hook to the liver that completely changed the complexion of the evening. Diachkova swung back valiantly, but the delayed reaction of the sudden disabling blow caught up with her as her body contorted in pain. Sundell knew that she had the challenger figuratively and literally on the ropes, and she released a seemingly unending combination of fists to the torso and side of the head until knees were in play. As “The Hurricane” swelled and clobbered Diachkova with knees, the Russian turned and put her body through the ropes to signal physical surrender. Referee Olivier Coste waved the match off at 2:59 of the second frame, punctuating a shocking comeback for the ex-champ.

Commentator Mitch Chilson remarked during Sundell’s post-fight interview that she would have likely received a $50,000 bonus check in addition to the giant belt getting wrapped around her waist, but the weight miss disqualified her from both. Sundell apologized for her mistake and promised that her next fight—almost certainly a rematch with Diachkova with gold on the line—would go differently.

In the final MMA bout of the evening, the co-main event featured a pair of unbeaten prospects throwing down with bright prospects at 155 pounds looming for the victor. With 19 stoppages in their combined 20 matches leading into this high-stakes affair, violence was practically guaranteed, and it did not disappoint. While Akbar Abdullaev (11-0, 3-0 ONE) and Halil Amir (10-1, 3-1 ONE) engaged in a grappling match for the lion’s share of the first round, Abdullaev controlled his opponent and slowed Amir down just a whisker. However, when the second round rolled around, the two opted not to grapple early on.

Related » ONE Fight Night 22 Round-by-Round Scoring

With the threat of his wrestling in his back pocket, Abdullaev chased his opponent around the ring as Amir struggled to find his rhythm. When getting stung, Amir pursued a takedown and got away with a few rope grabs before Abdullaev surged to his feet. Abdullaev turned the tables to drag Amir down, keeping his foe on his seat even as Amir got away with grabbing the ropes again. When upright, the Amir attempted to escape, but a determined “Bakal” reached him with a ferocious left hook to put Amir on his seat. To hammer the nail with a destructive right hand reminiscent of Dan Henderson against Michael Bisping, Abdullaev laid waste to his adversary and kept his stellar finish rate at 100%. Referee Herb Dean leaped between them to save Amir from further damage at the 2:52 mark of the second round.

The victorious Abdullaev claimed a $50,000 bonus check for his handiwork as he called out champion Kai Tang, making it three post-fight bonuses for his three knockouts under the One banner.

Dmitry Menshikov (30-2, 3-1 ONE) shocked Sinsamut Klinmee (82-18, 4-3 ONE) to notch a dramatic come-from-behind finish with a vicious barrage of punches, elbows and knees. While Menshikov likely was behind on the scorecards, he turned it up in the third round to melt Sinsamut and force referee Olivier Coste to wave the fight off at 1:33. Meanwhile in MMA, Maurice Abevi (8-1, 2-1 ONE) came to blows with Chinese veteran Lipeng Zhang (34-13-2, 3-2 ONE) in a 174-pound catchweight battle, stifling anything of merit that the more experienced fighter threw at him. All three judges turned in scorecards in favor of the Swiss competitor, who earned his first career victory by decision.

In preliminary action, surging Chinese debutant Rui Wei (70-3, 1-0 ONE) kept his lengthy win streak intact by outdueling former champ Hiroki Akimoto (26-3, 6-3 ONE) to claim the unanimous verdict in a back-and-forth 145-pound kickboxing clash; Reece McLaren (16-9, 9-6 ONE) won his engagement at 135 pounds by surviving a bombardment and outworking China’s Yong Hu (12-4, 8-1 ONE) by split decision; “Legatron” Rungrawee Sitsongpeenong (157-47, 5-1 ONE) threw down with Bulgarian brawler Bogdan Shumarov (17-3, 2-1 ONE), prevailing in the all-action 170-pound kickboxing bout via split decision; Chihiro Sawada (8-0-1, 3-0 ONE) ground out Noelle Grandjean (5-2, 2-2 ONE) en route to a methodical unanimous decision in their 115-pound MMA contest; Zakaria El Jamari (5-2, 1-1 ONE) pulled off the upset in a mighty slugfest with Thongpoon PK Saenchai (79-24, 1 NC; 4-1, 1 NC ONE), earning the nod from all three judges in their 125-pound muay thai banger; Bianca Basilio put Nanami Ichikawa to sleep with a rear-naked choke just 35 seconds into their 132-pound submission grappling affair; the event commenced with a 135-pound muay thai collision as Sean Climaco (11-2, 1-0 ONE) folded Josue Cruz (17-3, 0-2 ONE) with a brutal left hand to the midsection at 2:06 of the first round.

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