In Manila, Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena on December 11th, 2015, ONE Championship: Spirit of Champions was held to a rambunctious crowd. The main event saw Filipino-American Brandon Vera win the first ever heavyweight belt with ease along with other spectacular finishes by up-and-comers and established names.
The night was filled with knockouts and submissions but the biggest bang came from the main event between former UFC LHW and HW Brandon Vera and late replacement Paul Cheng. From the sound of the bell Vera did what he does best and that is use kicks. In the final sequence, Cheng came in running with his chin up in the air and Vera tagged him with a short left hook that dropped the Canadian to one knee. Then, as Cheng was getting back up Vera blasted him in the dome with a massive headkick. As a result, Cheng laid on the canvas stiff as a board.
Brandon “The Truth” Vera (14-7) is now the ONE Championship heavyweight champion. It was obvious that the fight was no challenge for him and the only question lies is who can he fight to defend the title. With the whole Chi Lewis-Parry fiasco going down before the event, it is hard to determine if ONE will have a contender that even has a chance against Vera.
The other story of the night was the Lee family. They were able to stay undefeated and continue their development as mixed martial artists in the process.
To kick off the main card, Christian Lee (1-0) made his professional debut against a much more experienced David Meak. The 17 year-old came out the gate guns blazing and out-struck his opponent leading to a quick TKO in less than thirty seconds.
His older sister, “Unstoppable” Angela Lee (4-0), also had a good night in her bout against Poland’s Lena Tkhorevska. They kept things on the ground for most of the fight with Lee attempting submissions and Tkhorevska defending them. The highlight of the first round was when the American suplexed her adversary. However, in the second, Lee was relentless in her ground attack and eventually took the back and strapped on a tight rear-naked for the tap. She has ended all her fights by submission.
The two Brazilian on the main card were able to represent the beautiful art of jiu-jitsu. Bruno Pucci (4-1) was able to get back in the win column by submitting the previously unblemished Anthony Engelen with his patented rear-naked choke. Also, BJJ world champion Alex Silva (3-1) defeated Ruel Catalan with a nasty kneebar after being in some trouble in bottom position.
In the fight of the night, Reece McLaren and Mark Striegl faced off in the co-main event. Early in the fight, Striegl landed a clean elbow that dropped McLaren. From there, “Mugen” flung kicks at the Australian but was not able to finish him. In the third round, McLaren got the fight to the mat and then jumped on his back to strangle the Filipino with a rear-naked choke.
Reece “Lightning” McLaren (8-3) should be able to get a contender fight in the first quarter of next year. If he is able to win that fight just like he did this one, then he will be on the fast track to a title shot against the champion Bibiano Fernandes.
Listed below are the results of the full card.
ONE Championship: Spirit of Champions
December 11th, 2015
Mall of Asia Arena
Heavyweight Title Main Event (-120kg,-265lb)
Brandon Vera (USA) vs Paul Cheng (Canada)
Winner: Brandon Vera via KO (Headkick) 1R,0:26 *NEW Heavyweight Champion
Bantamweight Bout (-61kg,-135lb)
Reece McLaren (Australia) vs Mark Striegl (Philippines)
Winner: Reece McLaren via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 3R,3:33
Flyweight Bout (-56kg,-125lb)
Eugene Toquero (Philippines) vs Li Wei Bin (China)
Winner: Eugene Toquero via TKO (Corner Stoppage) 2R,5:00
Women’s Bantamweight Bout (-61kg,-135lb)
Irina Mazepa (Russia) vs Ana Julaton (USA)
Winner: Irina Mazepa via Unanimous Decision
Women’s Straweight Bout (-52kg,-115lb)
Angela Lee (USA) vs Lena Tkhorevska (Poland)
Winner: Angela Lee via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 2R,3:26
Featherweight Bout (-65kg,-145lb)
Bruno Pucci (Brazil) vs Anthony Engelen (Indonesia)
Winner: Bruno Pucci via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 2R,2:19
Flyweight Bout (-56kg,-125lb)
Alex Silva (Brazil) vs Ruel Catalan (Philippines)
Winner: Alex Silva via Submission (Kneebar) 1R,3:53
Featherweight Bout (-65kg,145lb)
Christian Lee (USA) vs David Meak (Australia)
Winner: Christian Lee via TKO (Punches) 1R,0:29