Renzo Gracie (via @OneChampionship)

ONE Reign of Kings: Renzo Gracie & Shinya Aoki dominate, Kevin Belingon claims a 135 lb belt

Manila, Philippines – The partisan local crowd screamed for 30 solid minutes as hard hitting Filipino MMA ace Kevin Belingon cashed in on a third ONE title opportunity with the performance of a lifetime at ONE: Reign of Kings. Two-division champ Martin Nguyen was looking to add the ONE interim bantamweight title to a collection that already includes the promotion’s featherweight and lightweight belts. But “The Situ-Asian” couldn’t figure out any way to use his obvious size and reach advantages, as the much faster Belingon kept distance expertly and exploded into range unexpectedly. Nguyen prefers counterstriking but had no success in that area, and whenever he pushed into the pocket Belingon made him pay with power shots that obviously bothered the champ. After 25 minutes of high-level MMA striking, local hero Kevin Belingon (19-5, #51 World) walked away with the first world title of his career in his 15th ONE fight. A rematch with the last man to defeat him, currently injured bantamweight champ Bibiano Fernandes, should be in the cards next for the Team Lakay product. Meanwhile, the popular Aussie Martin Nguyen (11-3, #28 World FW) can console himself by shining up the 145 and 155 pound ONE belts that still rest on his mantle and getting ready for an upcoming 155 pound title defense against Shinya Aoki.


ONE Reign of Kings Co-Main @ Lightweight:

Shinya Aoki (41-8, 6-2 ONE, 4-0 Pride,#95 World)

TKO – Ground Strikes, Round 1

Shannon Wiritchai (9-3, #441 World)

While ONE lightweight champ Martin Nguyen missed out on his three-division title ambitions in the main event, he saw a new #1 contender for his lightweight belt crowned in the co-main via quick and violent means. Potent finisher “One Shin” Shannon Wiritchai failed to fire off anything meaningful on this day, as he was planted and mounted by Pride legend Shinya Aoki within a minute. Aoki is famous for executing some of the nastiest and injurious joint locks in the game, but he showed off plain ol’ caveman bloodlust in this one by hacking Wiritchai’s face with elbows for the early round 1 TKO stoppage! Bloody and efficient work from 35 year old Shinya Aoki, who still has plenty in the tank 15 years and 49 fights into his pro career. When his lightweight title clash with Martin Nguyen is scheduled, Aoki will look to reclaim the ONE lightweight title belt that he lost to Eduard Folayang back in late 2016.


ONE Reign of Kings Legends Fight @ Welterweight:

Renzo Gracie (14-7-1)

Sub-RNC, Round 2

Yuki Kondo (59-35-9)

When Renzo Gracie was asked why he was fighting a relatively young 43 year old Yuki Kondo after 7+ years on the sidelines, the ever-charismatic 51 year old replied “I don’t beat up old people.” It’s questionable whether shopworn 7-time Pride vet Yuki Kondo can be considered anything but elderly in MMA years, but any win is impressive at age 51, right?  Granted, the round 1 kickboxing action was weak enough that referee Olivier Coste issued dual yellow cards. But once Grazie got the fight to the ground with a round 2 single leg, it took him mere moments to claim the back and force Kondo to tap in lieu of napping. Renzo still looked half-decent at age 51 and classic Gracie BJJ won over the crowd by the end of this sluggish legends’ match. Plus neither veteran took much damage; pretty great outcome for this kind of fight, if you ask me.



ONE Reign of Kings MMA Undercard

155: Eduard Folayang (20-6, #87 World)  UD3  Aziz Pakhrudinov (20-1-1, #203 World)

Former ONE lightweight champ Eduard Folayang repelled the bulk of regional talent Aziz Pakhrudinov’s grappling efforts and kept this fight standing to the delight of his home Manila crowd. The previously undefeated Aziz had a couple of nice takedowns early, including a slam midway through round 1, but Folayang scrambled effectively and scored a reactive double-leg takedown of his own in round 2. On the feet Folayang was patient and choosy as he crippled his foe with leg kicks. That proved a solid gameplan for Folayang to keep off his back en route to the unanimous decision win, his 10th in the ONE promotion.


155: Garry Tonon (2-0, BJJ world champ)  Sub3-RNC  Rahul Raju (5-3)

Snarky BJJ ace Garry Tonon surprised the world with decent striking in his pro MMA debut, and he spent some of the first two rounds plying his technical kickboxing game versus former Singapore FC champ Rahul Raju. On the mat, Raju did a shockingly good job of surviving Tonon’s leg lock tries but couldn’t keep the American from advancing to mount and smashing away as round 1 ticked off. After landing a nice left high kick early in round 2, Tonon kept on wearing down his opponent with takedowns and control from dominant positions. Raju defended admirably, but it was only a matter of time before Tonon’s supreme skills won out via round 3 RNC. This wasn’t as easy as you may have expected for Tonon, but his striking continues to look OK for a transitioning BJJ player and there’s no denying the craftiness and technique that he brings to the grappling realm.


M115: Joshua Pacio (15-2)  UD3  Pongsiri Mitsatit (9-1)

One of the top male strawweights on earth, Joshua Pacio demonstrated his abundant talents in this quick demolition of previous undefeated Pongsiri Mitsatit. Pacio predicted a finish via triangle choke; perhaps he was expecting it to be harder to work from top position, as the hometown talent scored a takedown into mount within the first 90 seconds. After softening Pongsiri with punches & elbows, Pacio worked to the back and fished for the RNC before securing a kimura from back mount! Dazzling one-sided work from Joshua Pacio, who advanced to 6-2 in the ONE promotion and scored some impressive footage for his highlight reel in the process.


M115: Rene Catalan (5-2)  UD3  Stefer Rahardian (8-1)


145: Bin Xie (5-1)  Sub1-D’Arce Choke  Sor Sey (4-3)

ONE Kickboxing highlights:


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