ONE Championship had another banner year in 2017. Here are the top five fighters who left an indelible mark on the ONE Championship stage this 2017.
Number one is Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Sydney, Australia.
Nguyen captured two coveted world titles. He stopped former undefeated featherweight champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov to claim the ONE Featherweight World Championship.
Nguyen wrote his name in history books as the first man to hold two world titles simultaneously in ONE Championship by knocking out Filipino martial arts superstar Eduard “Landslide” Folayang to bring home the ONE Lightweight World Championship in the main event of ONE: Legends of the World in Manila.
Number two is Alex “Little Rock” Silva. The 35-year-old Brazilian submission wizard brilliantly defeated a pair of top contenders and then outclassed previously-undefeated titleholder Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito to clinch the ONE Strawweight World Championship.
Following his third-round submission of Roy Doliguez at ONE: Throne of Tigers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Silva displayed his skills on unbeaten Hayato Suzuki, a highly-regarded wrestler and Grachan champion, on the undercard of ONE: Legends of the World in Manila.
Silva out-scrambled Suzuki following a takedown attempt and latched onto an armbar that forced a tap.
Number three is Team Lakay’s Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, a 29-year-old Wushu practitioner who owns seven knockouts on his resume.
Since losing to reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes in January 2016, Belingon has beaten all of his subsequent opponents.
He beat Tajikistan’s Muin Gafurov in October 2016, followed by a complete first-round annihilation of Finnish submission wizard Toni “Dynamite” Tauru at ONE: Kings of Destiny in Manila, Philippines.
Next was a showdown against Reece “Lightning” McLaren at ONE: Quest for Greatness in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Belingon needed just 62 seconds to end matters. He dropped McLaren with a well-placed overhand right. The Aussie crashed to the canvas and Belingon followed with a volley of punches to finish the contest.
At ONE: Legends of the World Belingon scored his fourth straight victory by defeating Korean-American contender Kevin “Old Boy” Chung.
Number four is Christian Lee who is the younger brother of reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
He began his professional career by railing off five straight victories by thrilling finish.
After steamrolling Chinese stalwart Wan Jan Ping at ONE: Kings of Destiny in Manila, Lee toppled Keanu Subba of Malaysia by submission at ONE: Quest for Greatness in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 19-year-old Singaporean martial arts sensation delivered a masterful performance against former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu “No Face” Boku at ONE: Warriors of the World in Bangkok, Thailand.
The impressive win over Boku was Lee’s seventh first-round stoppage victory and tied the promotional record for most finishes at eight.
Number five is Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang who is Myanmar’s most successful athlete in history.
He started 2017 by losing the world title bout at ONE: Quest for Power in Jakarta, Indonesia. He redeemed himself by stunning former undefeated champion Vitaly Bigdash of Russia in a highly-anticipated rematch to be crowned the new ONE Middleweight World Champion at ONE: Light of a Nation in Yangon, Myanmar on June 30.
N Sang earned a unanimous decision nod and claimed the ONE Middleweight World Championship. He concluded his 2017 by taking part in ONE Championship’s openweight super-bout where he beat heavyweight kickboxer Alain “The Panther” Ngalani, at ONE: Hero’s Dream in Yangon, Myanmar.
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