MANILA – The Mall of Asia Arena crowd was into a frenzy Friday night with another thrilling evening of authentic martial arts action. In the main event of ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio of Baguio City clinched the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship, edging Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov by unanimous decision in an exhilarating five-round title tilt. Three other Filipinos also won in other matches.
Although Akhmetov managed to showcase his wrestling, it was largely ineffective against Eustaquio, who was far superior in the striking department for the majority of the bout. Eustaquio repeatedly connected on Akhmetov with crisp, clean combinations throughout the championship contest. In the end, all three judges saw the bout in favor of Eustaquio to win by unanimous decision.
Geje Eustaquio, ONE Interim Flyweight World Champion, said: “I don’t know what to say. This belt is not mine to take, it’s ours. Thank you to my family who was always there from the start, coach Mark Sangiao, and the entire who never doubted me and always believed that one day I would stand here holding this belt. I am proud to represent this flag all throughout the world. Here is your world champion from the Philippines. Adriano [Moraes] I know you’re there. I got a belt! Give me one more try and I hope to give you a better challenge this time.”
In the co-main event of the evening, 22-year-old Joshua “The Passion” Pacio unveiled an improved grappling game, submitting China’s Lan Ming Qiang via rear naked choke in the very first round. Pacio started off with his world-class wushu, operating from range with fast and powerful kicks. After taking the action to the mat, Pacio effortlessly took the mount and pounded on his foe who soon gave up the back. With the body triangle locked in, Pacio sunk his forearm underneath Lan’s neck and secured the bout-ending maneuver.
Rafael “Indio” Nunes of Brazil made a triumphant return to the ONE Championship cage after two years away from competition to defeat Filipino featherweight veteran Eric “The Natural” Kelly by second-round submission. The 30-year-old Muay Thai specialist kept Kelly on the defensive with his striking before taking matters to the ground and sinking in a deep d’arce choke to score the finish.
Filipino featherweight standout Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly delivered a sensational first-round knockout of opponent Meas Meul, dropping the Cambodian with a high kick merely seconds into the bout. At the opening bell, Kelly engaged Meul at the center of the cage and connected on a quick three-punch combination before delivering the final blow that sent Meul face first into the canvas.
Even though he lived up to his moniker “The Ferocious” during the heated moment of the bout, Kelly showed great sportsmanship to check on his fallen foe and was emotional in his post-bout interview, stating, “I’m so happy — not for myself, but for my team.”
At 21 seconds flat, the 33-year-old Baguio City native now owns both the fastest knockout and finish in ONE Championship’s featherweight division, with the highlight-reel stoppage going viral around the world.
With his stellar victory over Meul, Kelly elevated his professional record to 10-4 and earned him the GoDaddy Knockout Of The Night award.
Kelly seeks to return to action on 20 April as ONE Championship is set to host another blockbuster event in Manila, Philippines.
“I want to compete again. I’m free on April 20 for the Manila event. Having a match on that card will be amazing,” he said. “I’m still in good shape. I have no injuries. If ONE Championship will offer me a bout, I’m here to accept the offer to perform again in front of my countrymen.”
Kelly stressed that he has no preferences and is willing to face any opponent in the stacked featherweight bracket of ONE Championship.
“I can face anyone in my division. I don’t have to choose my opponent. I will just fight anyone who’s in front of me,” he declared.
Jomary Torres defeats fellow Filipino April Osenio by knockout in 0:40 minutes of round 1. She scored the most impressive win of her young career, authoring a swift knockout finish over Team Lakay atomweight ace Osenio. Torres left a lasting impression on her third trip to the ONE Championship cage, driving Osenio to the mat with a high-impact slam before putting the final touches on follow-up ground strikes to claim the knockout.