Reece McLaren scores big finish at ONE: ‘Reign of Dynasties’
ONE Championship returned to Singapore for the first time in more than seven months with five MMA bouts as well as a Muay Thai world title fight as the main event.
It was a night of emphatic finishes.
Reece McLaren came into his co-main event against Aleksi Toivonen ranked at #5 in the flyweight division. The Finnish fighter arrived with an undefeated 7-0-0-2 record with all of his victories coming by way of submission.
For the first time on the ONE broadcast, the graphic next to one of the fighter’s name indicated their ranking. In this case, a little yellow #5 sat next to McLaren’s.
It felt significant. As a 10-fight veteran in ONE Championship, the Australian was being forced to justify his status in the division against the comparative newcomer who made his promotional debut last year.
‘Lightning’ passed the test with flying colours. He looked far the sharper fighter on the feet and showed a lovely range of strikes before dropping the Finn with a stinging right hand.
Toivonen quickly found his feet but McLaren could smell blood in the water. A delightful left hand to the liver was a stand-out shot as he continued to land cleanly.
With Toivonen in real trouble, McLaren threw a devastating knee to the body that left his opponent crumpled on the canvas. It was a statement victory for the 29-year-old who takes his record to 15-7 while Toivonen drops to 7-1-0-2.
There were some other big stoppages lower down the card. Singapore’s Amir Khan produced his first knockout in six fights as he dispatched Rahul Raju with a stunning elbow followed by some ground and pound. The 25-year-old has endured a tough spell, losing four of his last five encounters.
But he looked much more like his old self here, and now holds the record for most knockouts in the history of the promotion, taking his record to 13-7. His opponent drops to 5-4.
Elsewhere, there was a wild submission win for Eko Roni Saputra against Malaysia’s Murugan Silvarajoo. Working from half guard, the Indonesian squeezed Silvarajoo’s arm in between his thigh and his calf. From there he was able to crank an Americana.
It was a unique moment and even Roni sounded somewhat surprised. Speaking to Asianmma.com he said,
“While I was trying to get the elbow, I couldn’t get an opening. Until I saw that moment, and honestly it was an improvisation. I saw an opportunity… I’ve never practiced that before!”
The main event showcased a dominant display from Sam-A Gaiyanghadao. Defending his ONE strawweight Muay Thai belt against Josh Tonna, he was different class. The Thai southpaw knocked the challenger down twice in the second round.
The first coming from a crisp straight left and the second via a powerful flurry that finished with a sweep. The Thai legend sealed the finish late in round. It was another stinging left hand to seal the TKO with three knockdowns and another vintage showing from the double champion.