ONE Championship hosted its first live event after a four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus, or Covid-19 pandemic that caused the organization to temporarily cease operations and postpone the entirety of its scheduled shows from March to May.

The promotion prepared double fight cards in its return, kicking off the revelries with ONE Hero Series 13 that was held in Shanghai with no audience in attendance on Saturday.

It was headlined by a riveting strawweight encounter between ONE Hero Series mainstay Ze Lang Zha Xi and promotional newcomer Liang Hui.

Dig deep

Ze Lang had to dig deep in order to outlast his compatriot and extend his winning streak to three matches in ONE Championship’s Chinese developmental league.

The Sichuan native endured a hot start from Liang, who went strike-for-strike early on by connecting a volley of explosive boxing combinations in the close-quartered exchanges.

Operating behind a steady stream of quick and clean punches, Liang kept Ze Lang constantly disarrayed on the defensive end, especially after effortlessly catching a flying knee attempt from his opponent in a desperate effort to change the complexion of the bout.

Shifting momentum

To prevent his ring counterpart from pulling away on the scorecards, Ze Lang gathered himself together in the second frame, where he dramatically shifted the momentum on his side by proficiently moving in and out to drill sharp and crisp jabs.

With Liang putting the pressure on Ze Lang at the start of the third and final period, the latter exhibited more poise and control as he flaunted an excellent display of counter punching.

Ze Lang also utilized his clinch game near the midway point of the last stanza, where he pummeled Liang with hard knee shots to the legs and midsection.

Overwhelming offence

Looking to nullify Ze Lang’s overwhelming offense, Liang shot for a double-leg takedown. However, his foe easily sprawled out of it and then pulled him to the ground instead.

As Liang struggled to regain his footing, he was met with a plethora of short punches before being able to break free from Ze Lang’s tacky clutches.

In the last 30 seconds of the fight, both men stood toe-to-toe, delivering punch after punch. But Ze Lang was determined to close it out on a vindictive note as he clobbered a myriad of straight punches and hooks that found their mark in a bid to swing the decision in his favor.

Ze Lang’s fearless endeavor in the dying moments of the strawweight showdown against Liang reflected on the judges’ scorecards as all three officials at ringside awarded him with a close unanimous decision victory.

The Enbo Gedou representative improved his mixed martial arts standing to 13-4-1 with the win over Liang, who dropped to a professional record of 5-5-1.

Best of the rest

In other MMA matches of the evening, Wang Zhen (3-5) emerged triumphant in his flyweight battle against Zou Jin Bo (4-7), settling for a split decision win after almost finishing the fight with a rear-naked choke in the last minute of action.

Meanwhile, Yang Hua went three rounds with Wei Zi Qin to score a split decision triumph in their flyweight kickboxing tussle.

ONE Hero Series 13, Beijing, June 20th
Ze Lang Zha Xi def. Liang Hui via unanimous decision
Kickboxing: Luo Chao def. Zhao Jun Chen via split decision
Kickboxing: Yang Hua def. Wei Zi Qin via split decision
Wang Zhen def. Zou Jin Bo via split decision
Fu Kang Kang def. Wang Hu by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:29 minutes of round two