Zhu Kang Jie was pushed all the way by seasoned veteran and compatriot Ayijiake Akenbieke at ONE Hero Series 14. But he did just enough to earn a split decision win on his promotional debut.

Both featherweights collided in the co-headliner of OHS 14, which took place at Shanghai last Sunday with no audience in attendance. Though Zhu succeeded to get his hand raised in triumph, it was not a walk in the park for the Guangzhou native.

Ayijiake came out aggressively at the sound of the opening bell, immediately scoring a takedown and then securing top control for good measure. Zhu spent the majority of the first round on his back but looked very comfortable, scoring with elbows and short punches.

Rapid fire

In the second round Ayijiake continued to press forward and dived for more takedown attempts. But this time around Zhu chose not to bite the bait and tried to make the match a stand-up battle.

Zhu was briefly effective as he managed to get a few punches in. But Ayijiake soon took hold of his leg with the intent to take him back to the canvas.

However Ayijiake paid a heavy price as his opponent blasted him with rapid-fire blows to the head that forced him to let go of the limb. The third round was more calculated, with each fighter playing to their strengths.

Zhu capably connected with some punches and sharp leg kicks before Ayijiake was back on the hunt for another takedown. A minute and a half into the final stanza he did get the fight to the mat.

Last ditch

From there, the Hebei-based grappler seemed to be one step ahead of his counterpart every time he tried to escape. Despite having the dominant position Ayijiake was content to control his opponent on the ground without attempting any serious offense.

With the clock winding down Zhu made a last ditch effort to win in the eyes of the three ringside judges as he relentlessly drilled pointed elbows upwards despite being pinned on the mat. When the final bell sounded, both men felt they had done enough to earn the victory.

Two of the three judges awarded the bout to Zhu and with the razor-thin win he improves to 2-0-0-1.  On the other hand Ayijiake drops to 9-10-1 and seems destined to remain a journeyman for the time being.

Best of the rest

In other mixed martial arts bouts of the event, Zhang Ze Hao (4-2) picked up his second-straight knockout win in ONE Hero Series by obliterating Gao Bo (1-4) in the opening salvo.

Zhang dropped Gao with a right cross and then swarmed on his adversary with a series of harrowing punches to compel the referee to wave it off at the 3:43 mark.

Meanwhile, Li Zhe (6-4) broke his two-fight losing skid by submitting Mo Hao Xiong with a first-round rear-naked choke.

ONE Hero Series 14, Beijing, June 21st
Kickboxing: Xu Liu def Zhao Xiao Yu via unanimous decision
Zhu Kang Jie def. Ayijiake Akenbieke via unanimous decision
Kickboxing: Fu Qing Nan def. Yuan Peng Bin via split decision
Zhang Ze Hao def. Gao Bo by knockout (strikes) at 3:43 minutes of round one
Li Zhe def. Mo Hao Xiong via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:16 minutes of round one