Tattooed, built like a safe, and pneumatically carved for a 265-pounder, James McSweeney looks like everyone’s idea of a cage fighter in their head. In the fight against Australia’s Chris Lokteff, McSweeney’s striking proved that the Englishman’s enemies have a tendency to lie down and go to sleep whenever his Xtreme Couture-trained Muay Thai weapons touch them.
McSweeney making like Streetfighter’s Sagat on the night of One FC’s Rise of Heroes last May 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena was just one of the many martial arts weapons that defined the drama and sick finishes of the tournament.
The event also proved to be a sweep of victories for Pinoy pride, with the women fighters making truly explosive debuts, even as the international fighters performed like their limbs were strapped with dynamite. Behold the glory of Asia’s biggest MMA promotion on full throttle, with spectacle to spare.
Eugene Toquero, Cebu-based trainer to the stars, likes to cut a joker’s figure in the cage, taunting his opponents and raising his thumb at failed submissions. The flyweight bout between him and Malaysia’s Gianni Subba featured three rounds of precise kicks to the legs and good control of range. Although there were a few lengthy minutes when Toquero accidentally kicked Subba in the nuts, the Pinoy ended Subba’s three-fight winning streak in ONE FC with a unanimous decision win.
This was the first win that started the momentum in favor of the Pinoys. Jujeath “Bad Girl” Nagaowa, former WBO Atomweight Champion, put an unholy beating on India’s baby-faced kickboxer Jeet Toshi in the first undercard--considering Toshi’s aggressive face-off at the weigh-ins, looks like Nagaowa’s coolness paid off in spades. Nagaowa announced her debut with a flurry of punches that turtled up the Indian against the cage and forced the referee to declare it a TKO at 1:07 minutes of round 2. Who says the 105 strawweight division can’t bang?
Thank the gods of the Cordillera and the new wrestling coach of Team Lakay for Edouard “Landslide” Folayang’s awesome new Greco-Roman skills. And, yeah, that was an armbar attempt.
Sweet vengeance! Phuket Top Team’s Rob Lisita earned his revenge over Yusuke Kawanago, after Kawanago won their first fight two years previous, by catching the Japanese fighter with a precise left hook as Kawanago was coming forward. Oh, there he goes prone on the mat! And here come the Aussie’s hammerfists. End of story at 28 seconds of round one.
How much punishment can Joshua Alvarez take? A lot, apparently. The man just refused to go down even with former URCC champ Rey Docyogen’s strongest strikes.
This is a story of how Leandro Ataides, an elite BJJ practitioner, needed only 47 seconds at the start of round 1 to decimate Japan’s Tatsuya Mizuno to put a defining stamp on his win in the 185 lbs division. To celebrate, he stood atop the cage and proclaimed his triumph with a true, barbaric yawp. Talk about pumped.
Fil-Am boxing champ Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton was emotional in victory, but the bout against Egypt Top Team’s Aya Saed Saber was hard-fought and hard-won. At one point the Fil-Am got caught in what seemed a very very tight guillotine, but she popped out of it and made like Rampage Jackson with a few slams to disorient Ms Saber. With reversals galore, Julaton’s wrestling was on-point which eventually got her the mount and allowed her to finish Saber with some classic ground and pound. The crowd’s applause was loud and full of delight.
The heavyweight clash between Chris Lokteff and James McSweeney proves that big men are truly dangerous. Contested entirely on the feet Lokteff got backed up against the cage and McSweeney saw the opening, throwing a perfect two-step knee that landed flush on the chin of the Australian. There go the lights.
All photos Courtesy of One FC.
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