Reece McLaren defeated in flyweight tournament bout; ‘Mighty Mouse’ progresses at One Championship

Reece McLaren’s immediate hopes of progressing in the ONE Championship flyweight tournament ended on Sunday as the Gold Coast based fighter was defeated by Kairat Akhmetov in the opening round of the tournament.

The fight took place on the highly anticipated ONE Championship: A New Era event which took place at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan – a first for the promotion in the country.

The two were both looking for that knock-out blow and it was Akhmetov who landed the first notable strike as he briefly dropped the Aussie in the first round and then again as he was countered by a big left. McLaren recovered but was taken down in the final seconds of the round.

McLaren shot in against the fence but it was stuffed by his opponent who proved difficult to get to the ground throughout the contest. On their feet both were aggressive and threw a large variation of strikes, mixing up heavy hooks with leg kicks.

The pace didn’t slow in the last round with McLaren, who possibly feeling he needed a strong finish to progress in the tournament, constantly came forward with punches but his 31-year-old opponent gave just as good as he took. Both slugged it out until the final bell.

Akhmetov took the unanimous decision on all three judges’ cards as the former One Championship flyweight champion took his record to an impressive 26-2.

On the other side of the bracket, former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson made a successful debut in One Championship with a nasty guillotine choke against Yuya Wakamatsu.

It was a close opening stanza and Johnson took control in the second round, as he dragged Wakamatsu to the ground against the cage. The 24-year-old Japanese fighter got back to his feet but shortly after, Johnson racked up a tight guillotine to force the tap.

In title fights on the night, Bibiano Fernandes reclaimed his ONE Championship bantamweight title but won’t be satisfied as he claimed it by disqualification. His opponent Kevin Belingon was red carded due to an illegal elbow to the back of the head which Fernandes was unable to recover from.

Myanmar athlete Aung La N Sang had little trouble in defending his One middleweight title as he stopped Japanese fighter Ken Hasegawa, 4:41 into the second round. One heavyweight champ Brandon Vera respectfully called out Aung La N Sang at the conclusion of the fight with the two set to face-off for the light-heavyweight belt when the promotion returns to Japan in October.

In the co-main event, Jingnan Xiong survived a fourth round scare when she escaped a tight armbar submission from her opponent Angela Lee. The bout was back-and-forth before Xiong secured the stoppage in the final round with punches and kicks to retain her women’s strawweight title.

Japanese favourite Shinya Aoki got revenge over Eduard Folayang in the main event with the submission specialist making quick work of his opponent with Folayang going unconcious due an arm-triangle choke in the first round. In the process the 35-year-old claimed the lightweight title against and moved his record to an impressive 43-8.’

A notable result also took place in the One Championship lightweight tournament as former UFC champion Eddie Alvarez’s debut fight with the promotion ended with him suffering a TKO loss at the hands of Timofey Nastyukhin.

Results:

  • Shinya Aoki def. Eduard Folayang via Technical Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), Rd 1, 2:34 – One lightweight title
  • Jingnan Xiong def. Angela Lee via TKO (Punches & Kicks), Rd 5, 1:37 – One women’s strawweight title
  • Aung La N Sang def. Ken Hasegawa via TKO (Punches), Rd 2, 4:41 – One middleweight title
  • Bibiano Fernandes def. Kevin Belingon via Disqualification (Elbows to Back of Head), Rd 2, 1:21 – One bantamweight title
  • Demetrious Johnson def. Yuya Wakamatsu via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Rd 2, 2:40
  • Timofey Nastyukhin def. Eddie Alvarez via TKO (Punches), Rd 1, 4:05
  • Danny Kingad def. Senzo Ikedia via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Kairat Akhmetov def. Reece McLaren via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Mei Yamaguchi def. Kseniya Lachkova via Submission (Armbar), Rd 3, 3:18
  • Garry Tonon def. Anthony Engelen via TKO (Punches), Rd 1, 4:12
  • Chang Min Yoon def. Bala Shetty via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 1, 4:16