Guess who didn’t get the “Bring your big gold belt” memo. PicProps: onefc.com
OK, first: if you didn’t manage to wrangle your ass out of bed this morning to log on and watch ONE FC’s inaugural event, you can still catch all the fights for free at Sherdog:
Watch em, then come in and we’ll talk. Or you can just come in and we’ll tell you about it.
Much the excitement for the event came from the comparisons to PRIDE. According to ONE’s website, they utilize “a combination rule set of global MMA best practices, blending Asian and non-Asian rules”, meaning no restriction to elbow, knee, or kicking attacks on a grounded opponent. We didn’t see any at the first event, and I’m still not entirely clear on how the fighters were instructed.
They didn’t get Lenne Hardt (AKA The Crazy Screaming PRIDE Lady), but they did get Yuji Shimada (AKA “I don’t care, kill him. Do you want to win?”) in to referee.
It does seem that ONE is shooting for high production values as PRIDE did, but there were no grand displays. No elaborate entrances, although there was an amusingly eclectic mix of music chosen for walkouts, which led to the revelation that Bas Rutten digs Lady Gaga and Johnny Cash. The crowd was relatively sparse in the 12,000 capacity stadium, but they were an enthusiastic bunch.
And with good reason: the card was full of good action throughout.
For the grappling fans: Kelly vs Chilson, BJJ aces vs South Koreans named “Kim”. Both Gregor Gracie and Leandro Issa outpointed Kims, and there was jits popping out all over the place. Gracie’s opponent Seok Mo Kim had outstanding submission defense, escaping a triangle and surviving multiple arm triangle chokes from Gracie, who is going to be catching hell from family for failing to finish a fight in which he scored and maintained mount for minutes at a time. Kelly took home a $5K bonus for sub of the night for sleeping Chilson with a standing RNC.
For the KO junkie: Sityodong vs Mashamaite, Ng vs Bo, Colossa vs Yu, Rahman vs Ghosh. Both Ng and Bo are generally favorites of livebloggers everywhere. Beats the hell out of Magomed Sultanakhmedov, Georgi Karakhanyan, and Jadamba Narantungalag, is all I’m saying.
For the “PRIDE mismatch to make the home team look like a ninja” fan: Rahman vs Ghosh. Raheem Rahman picked up the $5K knockout of the night bonus after plowing through his opponent in the first.
For the sadist: Moreira vs Wang. Not a gory fight, but painful nonetheless. Yuji Shimada has seen some world-class ass whoopings in his lifetime, so don’t expect him to stop a fight unless someone’s ear falls off. If a fighter wants to continue to soak up punishment in the second round, Shimada is willing let him. And the fighter does. So Shimada does.
Fight of the night: Folayang vs Kwon. Supposedly a mismatch on paper, this was a fast-paced, even contested fight with lots of fun kick technique and some wild exchanges. Go watch it.
Notes to Victor Cui (ONE CEO): Can you hook up with HDNET? That would be great, then we can watch these in high def, and rewind when Folayang and Kwon are moving to damn fast for us to follow. Also, a little pyrotechnics never hurt nobody.*
All in all a fun event, albeit short of rivaling PRIDE’s inaugural event or UFC’s current dominance. If the first broadcast is any indication, ONE FC will be the leader in MMA in the eastern hemisphere in short order. I know I’ll tune in again.
*Not intended to be a factual statement.