Martin Nguyen successfully defended his featherweight championship against game Japanese challenger Koyomi Matsushima in the main event of ONE: ‘Dawn Of Heroes’ tonight in Manila.

Nguyen employed a patient approach to break down his opponent as Matsushima attacked with takedowns in the opening round. This approach seemed to take a toll on the Japanese fighter who was breathing hard at the start of the second stanza.

Nguyen saw an opening and pounced, operating his behind his patented right hand. Having hurt Matsushima he attempted a flying knee and then polished him off the challenger with a torrent of punches on the ground.

The official time was 4:40 of the second round and with the win Nguyen improves to 13-3. On the other hand Matsushima drops 11-4.

Crowd silenced

In other matches of the evening, Eddie Alvarez (30-7-0-1) silenced the hometown crowd in attendance as he submitted Filipino superstar Eduard Folayang (21-8) in the first round of their Lightweight Grand Prix semi-final match.

Alvarez had to survive an initial onslaught from Folayang, who rocked the former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion with a left hook and then knocked him off balance with a stinging leg kick in the opening moments of the fight

Folayang then swamped Alvarez with a barrage of punches on the mat, but the American’s composure helped him to reverse the position and take the Filipino’s back for the fight-ending rear naked choke submission.

A tough test awaits Alvarez in the finals of the Lightweight Grand Prix as he is set to take on highly-touted combatant Saygid Arslanaliev.

Flyweight finalists

Meanwhile, the finalists of the Flyweight Grand Prix were finally determined after former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson (29-3-1) and Filipino standout Danny Kingad (14-1) trumped their respective opposition in the semi-finals.

Johnson defeated Japan’s Tatsumitsu Wada (21-11-2) via unanimous decision after a close fight. It was not a walk in the park for the former UFC flyweight champion who struggled to find his rhythm in the first half of the encounter.

Wada took Johnson down early on and even latched himself on the back of his American counterpart looking for a rear-naked choke. The man universally regarded as the greatest flyweight of all time turned the tide in the third round, opening a gruesome cut above the Japanese’s eyebrow.

The strong finish to the fight paid off for Johnson who was declared the victor, punching his ticket to the finals of the Flyweight Grand Prix at ONE: ‘Century’. His opponent will be a Filipino who booked his spot courtesy of a razor-thin split decision victory.

Razor thin

The 23-year-old prevailed over Reece McLaren (12-7) but he had a rough start and was repeatedly taken down by the Australian. Sensing that the bout was slipping away from him Kingad came alive in the third and final frame, where his strikes found home in the stand-up exchanges.

Kingad finished the round on a strong note, pinning McLaren on the canvas while delivering vicious elbows. His third-round rally was enough to merit him the victory on two of the three ringside judges’ scorecards.

In the co-main event Rodtang Jitmuangnon scored a unanimous decision win over Jonathan Haggerty to become the promotion’s new flyweight Muay Thai champion. A knockdown in the fourth round made the difference for the Thai fighter.

ONE: ‘Dawn of Heroes’ Manila, October 2nd
Martin Nguyen def. Koyomi Matsushima via TKO (Punches) at 4:40 of Round 3 (Defends ONE Featherweight Title)
Muay Thai: Rodtang Jitmuangnon def. Jonathan Haggerty via Decision (Unanimous) (Wins ONE Flyweight Title)
Eddie Alvarez def. Eduard Folayang via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 2:16 of Round 1
Demetrious Johnson def. Tatsumitsu Wada via Decision (Unanimous)
Danny Kingad def. Reece McLaren via Decision (Split)
Muay Thai: Rodlek PKSaenchaigym def. Andrew Miller via KO (Punch) at 0:49 of Round 3
Yuya Wakamatsu def. Geje Eustaquio via KO (Punches) at 1:59 of Round 1
Dae Sung Park def. Honorio Banario via Decision (Unanimous)
Daichi Takenaka def. Leandro Issa via TKO (Punches) at 1:39 of Round 3
James Nakashima def, Yushin Okami via Decision (Unanimous)
Xie Bin def. Edward Kelly via Technical Decision (Unanimous) at 3:32 of Round 2
Miao Li Tao def. Pongsiri Mitsatit via Decision (Unanimous)
Ayaka Miura def. Samara Santos via submission (Americana) at 0:39 of Round 2
Muhammad Aiman def. Sunoto via Decision (Unanimous)