ONE Championship held an event in Beijing this weekend ,centered around kickboxing with two title fights headlining the show. Muay Thai star Yodsanklai returned to action after his loss to Samy Sana, while Jorina Baars, one of the top women in the sport, made her ONE debut.
In the main event, flyweight champion Ilias Ennahachi defended his belt in a rubber match against fellow top-five fighter Wang Wenfeng. Ennahachi beat Wenfeng way back in 2014 and lost a close, very debatable decision in their 2017 rematch. The fight was once again very close, Ennahachi used his mobility to win the early rounds and while Wenfeng rallied and pressured well in the latter half of the fight, Ennahachi’s counters and defense were enough to take a split decision. Whether it is in muay thai or kickboxing, ONE’s roster at 60kg and excellent and there’s plenty of compelling potential fights awaiting the two fighters, most notably a very interesting stylistic match up between Ennahachi and the muay thai champion of the organization, Rodtang Jitmuangnon.
In the co-main event, Roman Kryklia, who has long been one of the best kept secrets in heavyweight kickboxing, took the inaugural title by battering Tarik Khbabez with right hand counters and high knees, stopping him in two and avenging an old loss in the process. With ONE lacking a bit of depth in that division, it remains to be seen whether they can find worthy opponents for him but the Ukrainian is definitely a solid champion and will be one of the best heavyweights in the world for years to come.
For his return following his upset loss to Samy Sana earlier this year, Yodsanklai looked to have a rebound fight ahead of him. Jamal Yusupov was unknown, coming in on a few days notice and facing the best international Muay Thai fighter of the last decade. Nobody seems to have notified him that he wasn’t supposed to win the fight though. He displayed very good boxing in the first round, hurt Yodsanklai with a straight left early in the second before handing him his first KO loss since 2005. This is definitely the Upset of the Year and will rank very highly on the list of all time Muay Thai upsets. At 34 and with nearly 300 fights under his belt, it looks like father time finally caught up to Yodsanklai, he’s already briefly retired due to injuries before and it looks like it might be time to call it a career for the Thai legend. At 36, Yusupov is no spring chicken himself but the win will probably earn him a nice late career run in ONE.
That results overshadowed another big upset on the card as Christina Breuer spoiled the ONE debut of undefeated Jorina Baars, most famous for defeating Cris Cyborg in Lion Fight in 2014. The result wasn’t as clear cut as Yusupov vs Yodsanklai though, as Breuer took a controversial split decision. I personally scored the fight for Baars because of her pressure and knees in the first two rounds, but Brauer worked well enough with her very stiff left hand that I don’t find the result to be outrageous. Much like in MMA, women’s 65kg is cruelly lacking in depth so expect those two to cross paths again soon.
On the prelims, Enriko Kehl absolutely destroyed Armen Petrosyan. Unlike his older brother Giorgio, Petrosyan is more of a journeyman than an all time great but that was only his third stoppage loss in 90 fights and his first since 2011. A good rebound win for the German after he fell short for the third time against veteran Dzahbar Askerov in the One Featherweight kickboxing Grand Prix.
Former K-1 World MAX champ Enriko Kehl (49-15-2) exacts quasi-revenge, assailing Armen Petrosyan four years after losing to his older (more legendary) brother, Giorgio. The German is 4-1 in his last five. His three most recent wins are all second-round knockouts. #AgeOfDragons pic.twitter.com/P0ZiKB20jl— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) November 16, 2019
ONE Championship: Age of Dragons full results:
Kickboxing: Ilias Ennahachi def. Wang Wenfeng by split decision – for flyweight title
Kickboxing: Roman Kryklia def. Tarik Khbabez by TKO. Round 2, 0:43 – for light heavyweight title
Muay Thai: Jamal Yusupov def. Yodsanklai Fairtex by knockout. Round 2, 0:39
MMA: Bo Meng def. Laura Balin by knockout. Round 1, 2:18
MMA: Ritu Phogat def. Nam Hee Kim by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 3:37
MMA: Jeremy Miado def. Li Tao Miao by knockout. Round 1, 3:01
Kickboxing: Christina Breuer def. Jorina Baars by split decision
MMA: Kai Tang def. Edward Kelly by unanimous decision
MMA: Yusup Saadulaev def. Daichi Takenaka by split decision
Kickboxing: Enriko Kehl def. Armen Petrosyan by TKO. Round 2, 1:55
MMA: Hexigetu def. Ramon Gonzales by unanimous decision