The Japanese bantamweight is well known for his dominant ground style, which isn’t all that flashy but it always seems to be effective.
South Korean fighter Dae Hwan Kim (14-4-1) found that out the hard way over three rounds as he struggled to stop the takedowns and the suffocating top attack coming from Kamikubo (10-1-1) round after round.
It was a methodical game plan from Kamikubo, who was constantly pressing forward with brief striking combinations and then dragging Kim back down to the mat repeatedly. Once Kamikubo got the fight to the canvas, he just stifled every attempt from Kim to get back up again much less mount any kind of offense from the bottom.
Kamikubo was working to advance his position throughout all three rounds but also taking the minimum amount of risk to ensure he always maintained his control.
By the time the fight was deep into the third round, Kamikubo was latched onto Kim, clutching the body lock and just watching his opponent’s will disappear before his very eyes.
When the fight ended, the judges all agreed with Kamikubo earning the lopsided decision victory to move to 3-0 in ONE Championship while wrapping up his sixth win in a row overall.
With the bantamweight title fight trilogy coming up in March at ONE: ‘A New Era’ between current champion Kevin Belingon and former title holder Bibiano Fernandes, it’s entirely possible that Kamikubo has positioned himself as a potential contender to the winner at some point in 2019.
ONE Warrior Series veteran Mark Abelardo (18-5) eeked out a victory over previously undefeated bantamweight Daichi Takenaka (11-1-1) after a cut opened up forced a doctor’s stoppage in the contest.
It was an unfortunate ending for Takenaka after the Japanese fighter was dominating throughout the first rounds while constantly taking Abelardo to the mat and controlling him with a strong grappling game.
Takenaka nearly locked up a rear naked choke submission at one point with his arm around Abelardo’s chin but he couldn’t quite cinch up the hold and it ultimately cost him as the fight continued.
Abelardo was constantly trying to find a home for his punches before Takenaka could take him down. His best shot all night was probably the one that got him the victory.
Abelardo uncorked a powerful right hand that connected flush down the middle with a cut on Takenaka’s lip opening up. As time ticked away in the round, Abelardo was constantly chipping away at Takenaka and the cut only got worse as blood starting pouring from his mouth.
Finally, the referee paused the action for the doctor to take a look and the decision was made that Takenaka could not continue in the fight. Abelardo was declared the victor, although it feels like he might be looking at a rematch against Takenaka at some point in the future following the way the first fight ended on Saturday in Thailand.
Debuting lightweight Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu (5-1) from Mongolia played spoiler in his clash against veteran contender Shannon Wiratchai (9-4), who was fighting in front of a home crowd in Thailand.
While it wasn’t the most exciting performance, Tsogookhuu did his homework on Wiratchai by timing his offensive flurries and never allowing himself to stay open for a counter attack from his opponent.
The book on Wiratchai is well known as the Thai fighter typically feasts on opposition that gets too aggressive against him so Tsogookhuu took that to heart and refused to over extend himself during the three round battle.
Gracious in defeat
Tsogookhuu set up his combinations during the exchanges and constantly had Wiratchai guessing at what was coming next., It seemed throughout the majority of the fight Tsogookhuu was landing with good accuracy while Wiratchai just couldn’t find an opening to finally pull the trigger.
When the fight ended, Tsogookhuu was handed the unanimous decision victory and Wiratchai couldn’t do anything more than accept the defeat as he applauded his opponent’s performance.
Tsogookhuu picks up his first win in ONE Championship while joining arguably one of the deepest weight classes in the organization with another lightweight contender joining the ranks.
Experience trumps youth
Throughout her career with ONE, Iniong has shown flashes of brilliance but then stumbled against some of the better competition she’s faced while bouncing back and forth between wins and losses over her past five fights.
On Saturday, Iniong was able to use an aggressive striking attack combined with a series of takedowns to take Radzuan off her game to earn a hard fought split decision victory.
Iniong did a great job putting pressure on the Malaysian fighter early in the fight while blasting away with strong striking combinations. That forced Radzuan to work for the clinch but then she found herself being taken to the mat repeatedly with no answer for Iniong’s top control.
Iniong continued the assault for the majority of the fight but did have to survive a late scare from Radzuan, who managed to finally reverse her fortune by taking the back with about 90 seconds left in the contest.
Radzuan pounded away from the top and then attempted to latch onto a rear naked choke but she ran out of time before she could finish the submission.
The judges returned a somewhat surprising split decision but ultimately Iniong got the job done as she moves to 8-4 in her career with her fourth victory in ONE Championship.