Monday July 16, 2018

Pacio, Kelly stumbles in Macao

JOSHUA Pacio and Eric Kelly came in to Macau, hoping for a huge victory that would propel them to bigger fights in One Championship.

However, their dreams were dashed after suffering huge blows in the undercard of "Kings and Conquerors" at the Venetian Cotai Arena.

Undefeated Japanese veteran Hayato Suzuki made a successful One Championship promotional debut, thwarting former title challenger Pacio to win by first round submission.

After Pacio missed slightly on a spinning back kick attempt, Suzuki capitalized by taking his back and dragging the Filipino to the ground.

Although Pacio valiantly fought off Suzuki’s submission attempts, it was only a matter of time before the bout-ending sequence played out ending the bout with a rear naked choke, forcing the younger Pacio to tap out.

In a heated featherweight showdown between two top contenders, Kotetsu Boku of Japan posted a thrilling technical knockout victory over returning Kelly, utilizing his exceptional boxing skill.

Although Kelly was able to score on a couple of knockdowns by way of a monstrous right hand, Boku was never fazed and kept putting the pressure on the Filipino stalwart.

In the third round, Boku took Kelly’s back and pounded on his opponent to earn the finish.

The main event saw defending ONE bantamweight world champion Bibiano Fernandes making quick work of Andrew Leone, submitting the American challenger with a rear-naked choke in the first frame of the much-awaited championship clash.

It was the beginning of the end for Leone when Fernandes hammered a knee to the midsection that slumped his opponent to the mat.

The 37-year-old Brazilian authored the final sequence by latching on the match-ending submission, keeping the prestigious gold-plated strap securely fastened around his waist. With the impressive victory over Leone, Fernandes has set an unprecedented ONE Championship record of seven successful title defenses, remaining unbeaten in the promotion.

In the co-main event, Adriano Moraes of Brazil defeated Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan via five-round unanimous decision to become the sole owner of the One Flyweight World Championship. Moraes, who previously held the interim title, controlled the majority of the action with his grappling while defending champion Akhmetov tried his best to fend off the Brazilian’s advances with his wrestling.

On the feet, Moraes got the better of the exchanges and landed the harder blows. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Moraes, who unifies the flyweight titles to become the undisputed king of the division. (Roderick Osis)