It was mixed bag of results for the Aussie fighters at One Championship: Global Warriors event which took place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on Friday night.
The Australian based fighters went two out of three which included PUMMA trained Reece McLaren upsetting Tajik Muin Gafurov. McLaren achieved multiple takedowns throughout the bout and was active with strikes from top position. McLaren also had a few submission attempts, but Gafurov was able to defend them well. Both fighters looked visibly tired towards the end of round three. Overall, McLaren’s game plan of getting the fight to the ground paid off with the judges awarding him the unanimous decision victory. With the win, McLaren now takes his professional record to 9-3 and is currently undefeated at One Championship while being an underdog in both of his promotional appearances to date.
Former Brace featherweight champion Martin Nguyen, from Sydney, was impressive coming from behind to secure a TKO victory, after being on the receiving end of an early onslaught at the hands of his Chinese opponent Li Kai Wen. It was a back-and-forth battle, and Wen proved to be a very tough opponent for Nguyen, dropping him midway through round one. Nguyen showed great resilience and eventually flattened out his opponent and began raining down heavy ground-and-pound forcing the referee to stop the bout 4:44 of round one. Post fight Nguyen was very vocal and made it known that he would like to compete in his homeland of Vietnam when the promotion returns there in June.
The lone Aussie loss occurred when Sydney based British/Filipino fighter Natalie Gonzalez Hills was submitted by Filipino April Osenio, who secured a first-round armbar submission.
The event was headlined between current welterweight champion and Olympic wrestler Ben Askren against Russian Sambo artist Nikolay Aleksakhin. The match was initially scheduled to be for the One welterweight title but Aleksakhin failed to make weight. Askren dominated for the majority of the match on the floor. His counterpart Aleksakhin looked good in the stand up but he wasn’t able to capitalise after Askren had already worn him down with his fast paced wrestling style. Askren also showed some improvement in his striking consequently getting him the win over Aleksakhin by unanimous decision.
David Lewellin is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.