Add another bantamweight contender to the mix after Shoko Sato made quite the debut with a ground and pound TKO to finish Mark Abelardo in the featured mixed martial arts bout at ONE: ‘Warriors of Light’ on Friday in Bangkok.
As the taller, longer fighter, Sato was able to hurt Abelardo with his rangy punches throughout the opening round. Abelardo struggled to get inside, although he was more than happy to exchange shots with Sato throughout the contest.
Still Sato was doing far more damage to his shorter opponent while showcasing a well rounded skill set overall.
As the second round got underway, Sato was getting even more comfortable in his attacks while Abelardo was just trying to find an opening to return fire.
He never really got a chance after Sato flung him to the ground and then moved into a top position where he began raining down punches like machine gun fire. Thanks to his long reach, Sato was just dropping bombs from above while Abelardo was stuck underneath trying to cover up.
Finally as Sato’s punches broke through Abelardo’s defense and he turned to the side to try and avoid any more punishment, the referee had finally seen enough.
The end came at 1:58 into the second round. With the win Sato improves to 32-16-3 while Abelardo drops to 18-6.
As ONE Championship continues to expand into Japan, Sato will be a great addition to the bantamweight line up as he graduates from Shooto while earning his third win in a row overall with an 8-1 resume in his past nine fights.
Back on track
Following a pair of submission losses, Pongsiri Mitsatit (10-2) got back on track with a brutal body shot knockout to finish Robin Catalan (8-6) in the opening round.
While the ground game has been his biggest problem over his past two fights, Mitsatit showed real patience after he was almost immediately planted on the mat in the opening seconds of the fight after Catalan caught a kick and brought him crashing down to the ground.
Catalan was quick to jump on the back and then scrambling into a heel hook submission as he began cranking away on Mitsatit’s leg trying to get the finish. To his credit, Mitsatit was constantly moving and working to get free from the submission and he eventually slipped free of Catalan’s grasp.
Once the fight got back to to the feet it was all Mitsatit as he began bombarding Catalan with knees to the body from inside the clinch.
Catalan desperately tried to slow him down by grabbing onto Mitsatit in an attempt to get him back to the ground but to no avail. Instead, Mitsatit just kept assaulting Catalan’s midsection and with one final knee to the body, the 28-year old Filipino crumbled to the canvas.
The referee quickly rushed into stop the fight as Mitsatit returns to the win column for the first time since 2017. The win also marked the second Catalan brother that Mitsatit has defeated after he stopped Rabin Catalan two years ago before finishing Robin on Friday in front of his native Thai audience.
Japanese veteran Kazuki Tokudome (19-10-1) earned an important victory on Friday with a TKO against Adrian Pang (23-13-2) after the Australian was unable to continue due to a massive cut over his eye.
Despite his reputation as a grappler, Tokudome showed no fear in striking exchanges with Pang immediately after the first round began. It was Tokudome who kept swarming with his attacks while Pang was stuck playing counter fighter in a sport where he’s almost always the aggressor.
Tokudome was consistently getting the better of the exchanges with a longer reach and more accuracy behind his punches.
In the second round, Pang faced more of the same from Tokudome as he was constantly on the attack with crisp combinations that never gave his opponent a moment to catch his breath.
The end of the fight came just over a minute into the second round as Tokudome connected with a well-timed left-right combination that stung Pang with the second punch opening a massive cut over his left eye.
A quick check from the doctor was all it took for the referee to call a stop to the contest with Tokudome getting the TKO victory, which stopped his three fight losing streak dating back to 2017.
In a card largely dominated by kickboxing and Muay Thai fights, a couple of impressive newcomers looked good on the preliminary card as Pieter Buist (15-4) earned a devastating knockout against Kota Shimoishi (21-8) while Hexigetu (6-4) got a unanimous decision win against Ovais Shah (3-3).
Coming from a Dutch kickboxing background, Buist had to survive a scare early after Shimoiishi was able to drag him to the mat and control him on the ground. Buist did a good job using his legs to constantly push and press Shimoishi off him until he was finally able to escape back to the feet.
Once Buist got back to standing, he immediately began launching knees at Shimoishi’s head and all it took was once glancing blow for the Japanese fighter to fall to the ground. Buist followed him to the canvas where he blasted Shimoishi with a trio of knees to the head that ultimately earned him a knockout victory.
While he had to survive a couple of exchanges on the ground, Buist was able to show off his devastating power with the barrage of knees that got him the knockout finish.