Reece McLaren earns split-decision win over Tatsumitsu Wada at ONE Championship

Queensland’s Reece McLaren edged out his Japanese counterpart Tatsumitsu Wada in a close split-points decision victory at One Championship : Battle For The Heavens on Saturday night.

The event took place at Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium, China and was broadcast live on the promotions official mobile application.

McLaren initiated for the takedown early on in the first round, but was only able to get his opponent down momentarily. Both fighters looked to be aggressive in their stand-up with wild back-and-forth exchanges. Wada achieved a takedown of his own where he began to attack with ground-and-pound. McLaren was active from underneath and looked dangerous from his guard and managed to scramble back to his feet and the fighters proceeded to go toe-to-toe on their feet. McLaren finished the round strong with strong uppercuts and elbows

Round two began with a relentless McLaren rushing forward. Wada reciprocated with a flurry of wild strikes though majority were failing to find their target. McLaren swooped in again with a successful takedown and immediately went to work with ground-and-pound. The PUMMA trained flyweight challenger actively sought out submissions, and was close to securing an armbar, but the Japanese veteran slipped out and got back to his feet. McLaren secured a strong round, ending the round with another takedown in the dying seconds.

Wada clinhed up early in round three, and then managed to trip the Australian. McLaren used his elbows well from the bottom, while Wada attacked with ground-and-pound from the top. The referee eventually stood up the combatants due to inactivity. A battle from the clinch then ensued after a brief stand up exchange with the 26-year-old Australian securing a successful trip of his own. McLaren finished strongly with an attempt to take Wada’s back ending in McLaren securing mount. The round concluded with McLaren from mount chasing for the armbar.

With fights within ONE Championship judged on a whole and not the traditional round-by-round, McLaren was deemed the winner in a split points decision. It’s the third win on the trot for McLaren who moves to a 12-5 record, while Japanese veteran Tatsumitsu Wada falls to 19-9-2

Earlier in the card, Melbourne’s Andre ‘The Giant’ Meunier lost to skilled Morrocon Ibrahim “Mr. Cool” El Bouni via TKO in their ONE Super Series kickboxing bout. The fight ended mid-way through the first round after Meunier rushed in with his head down and was caught with by a well-placed right hand from El Bouni, dropping him for an eight-count. Despite recovering, El Bouni jumped at the opportunity to finish the fight and after a flurry of punches Meunier was again on the canvas with the referee calling an end to the fight.

The card was headlined by a women’s ONE Series Kickboxing bout with Kai Ting Chuang defeating Yodcherry Sityodtong to claim the atomweight title.

Main Card:

  • Kai Ting Chuang def. Yodcherry Sityodtong via Decision (Unanimous)  – One Super Series Kickboxing
  • Reece McLaren (Australia) def. Tatsumitsu Wada via Decision (Split)  – MMA
  • Ibrahim El Bounidef. Andre Meunier (Australia) via TKO, Rd 1 – One Super Series Kickboxing
  • Fu Chang Xin def. Rustem Yensebayev via KO/TKO, Rd 1 – MMA
  • Saemapetch Fairtex def. Deividas Danyla via Decision (Unanimous) – One Super Series Muay Thai
  • Zhao Zhi Kang def. Ma Xu Dong via Submission, Rd 3– MMA

Preliminary Card:

  • Istela Nunes def. Gina Iniong via Decision (Unanimous)– MMA
  • Shuya Kamikubo def. Sunoto via KO/TKO, Rd 1 – MMA
  • Peng Xue Wen def. Eddey Kalai via KO/TKO, Rd 1 – MMA
  • Robin Catalan def. Adrian Mattheis via Submission, Rd 2  – MMA

David Lewellin is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.