Four Filipinos stepped foot in the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday evening.
Though three Pinoy fighters did not come out as victors, it was the country’s brightest prospect Joshua Pacio whose star shone the brightest, outpointing former world champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in a virtual title eliminator.
Pacio outguns DSA in battle of strawweight contenders
In an absolute thriller, former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke battled ex-title challenger Joshua Pacio at ONE championship: Warrior Kingdom.
The contest was extremely close, but the Philippines’ Pacio was able to pull away with a razor-thin split decision victory.
After a touch of the gloves, the two well-trained combatants came out kicking. Amnuaysirichoke pressured Pacio to begin the contest, and utilized his elite Muay Thai skills — the same skills that earned him three Lumpinee titles.
Pacio, a standout from Team Lakay, pushed the fight against the cage and swept his leg out to bring the Singaporean-based Thai to the canvas. The Filipino kept busy inside the guard, dropping strikes on his opponent, and ended the round in Amnuaysirichoke’s half guard as the Thai attempted to finish with an unorthodox guillotine.
Amnuaysirichoke, who trains out of Evolve MMA, pushed forward again with a number of kicks to start the second round. The Team Lakay product grabbed one of those kicks and pounced on a big takedown. With plenty of time left in the stanza, Pacio looked comfortable in the top half guard position. Utilizing his pressure, he scored with punches and a straight armbar submission attempt, but was unable to finish.
For a moment, Amnuaysirichoke was able to get to his feet, but Pacio dragged him back to the ground. The round ended the same as the previous one, with the Filipino on top in the half guard.
The crowd erupted as the third frame began, and both fighters landed straight punches. Amnuaysirichoke pushed the action, but Pacio landed a number of strong counter shots. Nonetheless, the former champ continued pressing forward, and stuffed three straight takedown attempts from his opponent, who was beginning to get exhausted.
After a fourth failed takedown, the Thai put on a striking clinic, connecting with punch after punch to the head and body. The Evolve MMA dynamo showed his grit and finished the final round with a big kick that swept Pacio’s legs out from under him.
However, Amnuaysirichoke’s last-ditch effort did not pay off. Pacio was awarded the win via split decision, pushing his record to 9-1. As for his Thai opponent, he drops to 6-2, 10 months following his title loss to Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito in the same venue.
Corminal drops heartbreaker
Shannon “One Shin” Wiratchai overcame an early knockdown from Richard “Notorious” Corminal to score a first-round TKO victory.
After entering the ONE Championship cage flamboyantly, complete with Disney’s Aladdin and a dance routine, Wiratchai was promptly dropped by a straight right hand to the head within the first minute by Corminal.
“One Shin” quickly popped back up to his feet and got on the offensive, smiling and laughing throughout despite the setback. The Bangkok Fight Lab superstar then landed two big hooks to the head of Corminal en route to victory.
The first one was followed by a high kick, and he cut angles, and lunged in and out of range with measured strikes, all while backing Corminal up against the fence. Although Wiratchai missed with a spinning back elbow to the head and gave up his back, he got free rather quickly.
From there, the Bangkok native goaded his opponent to come in by putting his hands down and laughing. Corminal obliged and charged in, only to be checked by a second right hook. That one dropped the Filipino, and though he was quick to get back to his feet, he was clearly hurt.
Wiratchai flurried with follow-up strikes against the cage and referee Yuji Shimada jumped in to stop the fight at the 3:37 mark of the first round.
The win is Wiratchai’s fifth consecutive victory and he improves his record to 7-1. Following the bout, he called for a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship, but he will have to wait in line and see who prevails between reigning kingpin Eduard Folayang and challenger Ev Ting.
Corminal, meanwhile, dips to 4-2 and goes back to the drawing board.
Sityodtong stuns Gonzales
In one of the most exciting match-ups of the evening, Yodsanan Sityodtong of Thailand and Ramon Gonzales of the Philippines put on a spectacular show to the roar of a packed Impact Arena.
The match-up was scheduled for three rounds in a catchweight bout on the main card, and the two fighters certainly did not disappoint.
Sityodtong, a former boxing world champion nicknamed “Little Tyson”, is known for his powerful fists. Gonzales, a Kyokushin karate standout who trains out of Manila, knew he had to stay away from Sityodtong’s heavy hands at all costs.
Gonzales began the bout looking to keep Sityodtong out of range, pushing the Evolve MMA fighter back with thudding head and inside leg kicks. Gonzales had a successful shot attempt, as he was able to latch on to a single leg to drag Sityodtong to the mat.
Once on the ground, the Filipino fighter made it known that he owned the advantage in the grappling department, controlling Sityodtong from the top for the remainder of the first round. He nearly secured a rear-naked choke victory, too, but Sityodtong was saved by the bell.
In the second round, however, Gonzales seemed to have emptied his tank in the first five minutes of the fight and looked exhausted. Although Sityodtong was also quite spent from the preceding exchanges, he appeared to have just a little more left to finish the fight.
With both fighters on their knees trading punches at the center of the cage, Sityodtong and Gonzales threw caution to the wind and decided to just tee off, unloading a barrage of heavy-handed blows on each other to the delight of the capacity crowd.
After Sityodtong and Gonzales were finished with their skirmish, the Filipino fighter was completely spent and could no longer continue. Gonzales then waved to referee Yuji Shimada, bowing out of the contest.
The end came officially at 3:21 of round two, as Sityodtong was awarded the submission victory via verbal tapout.
With the win, Sityodtong improves his record to 3-1, while Gonzales drops to 1-2.
Catalan continues to look for first win in ONE
In the card’s first bout, Filipino wushu champino Rabin “The Rock” Catalan squared off against Northern Muay Thai champion Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit.
Both athletes started off tentatively, constantly circling and searching for openings in the first minute of the fight. Catalan was the first to open up with strikes as he connected with a quick combination, but it was Mitsatit who did more damage with a body kick off the break.
Undeterred, Catalan rushed in for the takedown, but Team Quest Thailand product Mitsatit was able to defend well as the two clinched against the cage. The Filipino finally managed to drag “The Smiling Assassin” to the ground, but the Thai fighter managed to emerge on top in the ensuing scramble.
From there, Mitsatit calmly controlled Catalan’s leg from a standing position, occasionally dropping down to land powerful punches. This went on for a brief period of time until referee Yuji Shimada brought both fighters up to their feet.
The ground assault must have fueled Mitsatit’s confidence, as the momentum was firmly in the hometown hero’s favor. It was his turn to showcase his striking, as he landed a flurry of blows and a flying knee on Catalan, forcing the Filipino to initiate a clinch to avoid further damage.
After a successful trip takedown, Catalan got Mitsatit to the ground, but once again the Northern Muay Thai champion was able to quickly get to his feet. He then put his elite Muay Thai skills on full display by unleashing a barrage of devastating knees.
Inevitably, Catalan buckled to the floor from the constant stream of blows to his midsection. Mitsatit swiftly followed up with a brief flurry of ground and pound to secure the TKO victory at 4:45 of round one, sending the partisan crowd into a frenzy.
With the win, Mitsatit keeps his perfect record intact and moves to 8-0. Catalan is now 4-3, and still looking for his first ONE Championship victory.
ONE Championship: Warrior Kingdom results
March 11, 2017 – Impact Arena, Bangkok, Thailand
Strawweight bout: Joshua Pacio def. Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke by Split Decision
Lightweight bout: Shannon Wiratchai def. Richard Corminal by TKO (Ground and Pound – Round 1, 3:37)
Catchweight bout: Yodsanan Sityodtong def. Ramon Gonzalez by Submission (Verbal – Round 2, 3:21)
Strawweight bout: Pongsiri Mitsatit def. Rabin Catalan by TKO (Ground and Pound – Round 1, 4:45)