ONE Championship’s inaugural event in Vietnam consisted entirely of Muay Thai and kickboxing bouts. In the main event Nong-O Gaiyanghadao was competing in the former, putting his bantamweight belt on the line against promotional newcomer Brice Delval.
In the opening round Nong-O seemed to be struggling with his opponent’s height and reach. Delval put him on his back with a perfectly timed counter teep in the dying seconds and momentum appeared to be firmly with the Frenchman.
In the second stanza Nong-O found a home for his body kick and repeatedly slammed his right shin into Delval’s ribs. The third round was completely one sided with the champion walking his opponent down and landing right hands to the body and head.
It was a right low kick that really did the damage and Delval appeared on the verge of collapse. He switched stance to put a bit more distance between his left thigh and Nong-O and was able to survive the round.
Nong-O’s pace dipped in the fourth round but he was able to land body kicks at will with Delval in retreat mode. The final three minutes featured a revival from the Frenchman who pressed forwards and scored with some long knees.
Delval was visibly exhausted and the left hand side of his body was covered in bruises and welts due to the kicks. But he kept coming forwards, presumably in the hope that he might have done enough to take two of the previous four rounds.
It proved to be a smart strategy as one judge actually did award him the decision. But the other two saw the fight for Nong-O who was clearly the superior fighter and retains his ONE bantamweight title.
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In the ONE: ‘Immortal Triumph’ co-main event Gulabdam SorJorPiekUThai beat Bobo Sacko by decision. The Thai fighter started strongly and hurt the Frenchman with a straight left in the opening round, with the referee giving a standing eight count.
But Sacko had a huge height advantage and started to walk the former Lumpinee champion down. The eight count would ultimately prove to be the decisive moment though with all three judges seeing the fight in favour of Gulabdam.
Earlier in the night Anderson Silva made short work of Beybulat Isaev in a kickboxing bout. The Brazilian needed just 2:19 of the opening round to overwhelm the promotional newcomer with punches.
There were also Muay Thai wins for Vietnamese fighters Bi Nugyen and Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat. The former beat Puja Tomar by split decision while the latter knocked out Azwan Che Wil with just 15 seconds remaining in the fight.