Friday, 16 August marked an incredible night of celebration for martial arts fans in Thailand and those watching around the world.
The heroes of ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD displayed some of the most phenomenal martial arts skills of the year at the Impact Arena in Bangkok.
After highlight-reel finishes, back-and-forth battles, and World Title match-ups, we take a look back at three unforgettable moments of the night.
Alex Silva Returns To The Winner’s Circle
Coming into this contest against Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian, Alex “Little Rock” Silva had only one thing on his mind: victory.
Not content with leaving the match to the judges like he did in his last bout in May, Silva took matters into his own hands.
Most competitors would pause before taking a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt holder like Rahardian to the ground, but not “Little Rock.”
The Copa de Mundo BJJ World Champion showed superior grappling ability over “The Lion” and managed to take the Indonesian down to the canvas several times in their strawweight mixed martial arts clash.
The two men spent most of the first round engaged in a high-level grappling contest. Although Silva had the upper hand on the ground, he could not lock in his favorite rear-naked choke.
Even on his back, Rahardian defended well, but his attempts to get from under the Brazilian’s vice-like grip left him open to body shots and punches.
Instinct kicked in and “Little Rock” broke through that defense late in the second stanza. He wisely gave up leverage to transition to an armbar, which forced the tap from his Indonesian rival with just seconds remaining in round two.
The victory improved the Brazilian’s record to 8-4 and put him back in the hunt for the strawweight belt.
Samy “AK47” Sana Fires Warning Shot After Win Against “Genghis Khan” Dzhabar Askerov
Samy “AK47” Sana and “Genghis Khan” Dzhabar Askerov clashed in an exciting back-and-forth battle over three explosive rounds.
Threatened by Sana’s reach and length, Askerov bobbed and weaved the Frenchman’s punches and returned his own hand combinations.
Sana dropped Askerov early in the first stanza with a left cross-right hook combination, but the man from Vityaz Fight Club shook it off and got back to his feet.
Askerov then threw spinning elbows, but Sana answered with high knees and right hands.
In the second round, Sana continued to throw body shots at Askerov, who looked increasingly disconcerted as his rival amped up the aggression.
“Genghis Khan” tried to pull out his ‘Rolling Thunder’ kicks, but they failed to connect.
Sana invited Askerov to engage in the third round, but the wary Russian kept his distance. Askerov threw weapons at the Parisian, but could not get within striking range to score decisive hits.
Ultimately, it was “AK47” who unloaded more ammunition and dispatched Askerov to get the majority decision win.
Ahead of his ONE: CENTURY appearance in October, Sana proclaimed in his post-bout interview that nothing would deny him in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final.
With this victory, Sana resumes his path to Tokyo to face the other finalist, Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan, who booked his ticket courtesy of a knockout win over “Smokin” Jo Nattawut later in the night.
Ilias Ennahachi Stuns Thailand To Become The New Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion
Ilias Ennahachi put his world-class kickboxing skills to the test on the biggest stage of martial arts and he passed with flying colors when he faced Petchdam “The Baby Shark” Petchyindee Academy.
The Dutch kickboxer moved well in the first round and kept a watchful eye on his Thai opponent’s trademark left kick.
Whenever he saw an opening, he delivered punishing kicks to Petchdam’s abdomen and thighs.
Petchdam’s inside leg kicks did some damage, but Ennahachi’s wide stance and constant motion frustrated the Thai.
“The Baby Shark” could not maintain his striking rhythm, and whenever he closed the distance to land punches, Ennahachi met him on the inside with leg kicks and short jabs.
The challenger continued to unload with an offensive blitzkrieg of punches and uppercuts as the second frame wore on.
Early in the third round, Petchdam caught a left hook flush on the chin that wobbled him. It was more of the same as Petchdam failed to answer the Dutch kickboxer’s offensive output.
Although the Thai tried his best to stay in the contest, the damage proved too much for him to overcome in the third stanza. Referee Atsushi Onari called a stoppage at the 2:25 mark.
With this win, Ennahachi improves to 35-3 and earns his place at the top as the new ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion.
ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, takes place on 6 September in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
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