ONE 165 was a night to forget for Martin Nguyen.
BJJ phenom Garry Tonon was simply too slick for “The Situ-Asian” on the ground at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, on January 28 as he snatched a first-round rear-naked choke submission.
After a brief exchange on the feet, Tonon quickly grabbed a body lock and took Nguyen to the floor.
“The Lion Killer” soon took mount and then slid around to the back as Nguyen tried to hip escape.
Tonon locked up a body triangle and patiently searched for a fight-ending choke as the Aussie defended diligently.
As the opening frame drew to a close, Tonon sensed the urgency and managed to sink in the rear-naked choke with just 19 seconds left on the clock.
The American now has three straight submissions to his name since a knockout loss to then-ONE Featherweight MMA World Champion Thanh Le in 2022.
He also scored a US$50,000 performance bonus for his efforts, courtesy of ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
Perhaps more importantly, however, he is now the number one contender to the winner of the featherweight title unification between returning divisional king Tang Kai and interim champ Le at ONE 166: Qatar on March 1.
Nguyen, for his part, is now 2-3 since losing the featherweight strap to Le back in 2020.
The 34-year-old is ranked third in the featherweight divisional rankings, but will now likely need to string some wins together to return to title contention.
In the ONE 165 main event, Superlek Kiatmoo9 successfully defended his ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title in a five-round thriller against high-profile Japanese promotional newcomer Takeru Segawa.
ONE 165 Full Results
ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title: Superlek Kiatmoo9 (c) defeated Takeru Segawa via unanimous decision
ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Title: Kade Ruotolo (c) defeated Tommy Langaker via unanimous decision
Openweight MMA: Shinya Aoki defeated John Lineker via submission (rear-naked choke) R1, 3:00
Catchweight (187.25lb) Special Rules: Nieky Holzken defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama via TKO (referee stoppage) R1, 1:40
Catchweight (156.5lb) Kickboxing: Marat Grigorian defeated Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong via knockout (punch) R3, 1:20
Featherweight MMA: Garry Tonon defeated Martin Nguyen via submission (rear-naked choke) R1, 4:41
Women’s Atomweight MMA: Ayaka Miura defeated Itsuki Hirata via unanimous decision
Flyweight MMA: Yuya Wakamatsu defeated Danny Kingad via unanimous decision
Heavyweight Kickboxing: Rade Opacic defeated Iraj Azizpour via unanimous decision
Strawweight MMA: Bokang Masunyane defeated Keita Yamakita via unanimous decision
Strawweight MMA: Gustavo Balart defeated Hiroba Minowa via split decision