Martin Nguyen made his name by knocking out Marat Gafurov and Eduard Folayang in spectacular style. The Australian enhanced his reputation even further at ONE: Roots of Honor after finishing Narantungalag Jadambaa with a flying knee in the second round, retaining his ONE featherweight championship.
Nguyen’s last fight was at bantamweight and he looked significantly smaller than Jadambaa. However, the featherweight champion’s superior speed was immediately evident as he landed a series of low kicks in the opening round.
By contrast Jadambaa looked a little slow, but a low kick at the end of the round connected with Nguyen’s shin and caused the Australian to immediately switch stances. It seemed the Mongolian might be packing more power, but the champion would put that theory firmly to bed in the second stanza.
Nguyen had been scoring regularly with low kicks and, after digging his right shin into Jadambaa’s thigh early in round two, the Mongolian flinched and took all his weight off the injured leg. The champion instantly capitalized with a flying knee to the face of his off-balance opponent.
It was another highlight reel knockout in a championship fight for Nguyen and will go down in ONE Championship history alongside the stoppage wins over Gafurov and Folayang. He improves to 12-3, while Jadambaa drops to 14-6.
Joshua Pacio defeats Yosuke Saruta to reclaim ONE strawweight championship
For the crowd at the MOA Arena in Manila, the highlight was undoubtedly the co-main event. Joshua Pacio made up for the disappointment of his split-decision loss to Yosuke Saruta with a highlight-reel knockout, recapturing his strawweight crown with a fourth-round head kick.
Saruta has started well and hurt Pacio with a right hand in the opening round. In the second and third, the Filipino started to outwork his opponent and this pattern continued during the fourth.
Pacio appeared to be on track for a decision win, but was able to dispense with the need for the judges altogether. Saruta put his entire bodyweight into an overhand right and was met with a thunderous head kick that instantly ended the fight.
With the win, Pacio reclaims the ONE strawweight title and improved to 17-3. Saruta drops to 19-9-3, coming up short in his first defence of the belt he won in January after stepping in as a late replacement for Hayato Suzuki.
Demetrious Johnson's next flyweight grand prix opponent determined
Earlier in the night, Tatsumitsu Wada (21-10-2) booked his spot in the Flyweight Grand Prix quarter finals with a debatable decision win over Gustavo Balart (8-2). The Japanese fighter will face Demetrious Johnson in the semifinals.
ONE Championship: Roots of Honor Official Results
Martin Nguyen def. Narantungalag Jadambaa by KO (Knee) at 1:07 of Round 2
Joshua Pacio def. Yosuke Saruta by KO (Kick) at 2:43 of Round 4
Tatsumitsu Wada def. Gustavo Balart by Decision (Unanimous)
Leandro Issa def. Fu Chang Xin by Submission (Armbar) at 3:03 of Round 1
Kickboxing: Andrei Stoica def. Ibrahim El Bouni by Decision (Unanimous)
James Nakashima def. Luis Santos by TKO (Verbal Submission) at 0:56 of Round 2
Edward Kelly def. Sung Jong Lee by TKO (Punches) at 2:51 of Round 2
Kickboxing: Anderson Silva def. Andre Meunier by KO (Punch) at 1:14 of Round 1
Kwon Won Il def. Eric Kelly by TKO (Punches) at 0:19 of Round 1
Muay Thai Saemapetch Fairtex def. Ognjen Topic by Decision (Majority)
Xie Bin def. Ahmad Qais Jasoor by Submission (D’Arce Choke) at 2:27 of Round 2
Niko Soe def. Eko Roni Saputra by TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) at 3:03 of Round 1
Lerdila Champairtour def. Momotaro by Decision (Unanimous)
Bi Nguyen def. Dwi Ani Reno Wulan by TKO (Punches) at 3:55 of Round 1
Ramon Gonzales def. Akihiro Fujisawa by Submission (Guillotine) at 1:19 of Round 1