Monday, 16 June 2014

ONE FC Era of Champions on Premier Sports - TV Review

It's time to step into the world of Asian MMA once again as we travel to Jakarta in Indonesia for the latest offering from the ONE Fighting Championship, Era of Champions, shown this past Saturday night on Premier Sports here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the flyweight division as Ruel Catalan took on Gianni Subba.

This proved to be a very enjoyable opener. Subba put in a dominating performance in the first round after he scored with the early takedown. His work looked top notch as he quickly took his man's back, and although Catalan managed to reverse and end up in top position Subba remained on the offensive, going for an armbar before locking in a triangle choke. Catalan remained in the hold for what seemed like an eternity, but he showed the patience of a saint as he survived until the end of the round.

He wasn't so lucky second time around though. When Subba went for an early takedown in the second a scramble saw Catalan ending up in top position. However, it was more of the same for Subba when he locked in another triangle. Catalan tried to punch his way out of the hold, but when Subba began connecting with a series of elbows to the head it wasn't long before Catalan was tapping to give Subba the submission win.

More flyweight action followed as Jomanz Omanz faced Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke.

These two didn't bother with a feeling out period. After a couple of tentative leg kicks both men began swinging for the fences, with Amnuaysirichoke getting the better of the exchanges. Omanz managed to counter with a couple of takedown attempts which ultimate led nowhere, and when the fight entered it's fifth minute Amnuaysirichoke stuffed a third takedown attempt, and after connecting with a couple of knees to Omanz's head he took top position and rained down a flurry of blows. Omanz offered nothing in return, so it came as no surprise when the referee stepped in to give Amnuaysirichoke the TKO win.

It was up to featherweight next as Ev Ting went up against Yohan Mulia Legowo.

This one may have only lasted a round but it was packed with great exchanges. The early chances went to Legowo when he scored with a couple of takedowns. His work on the ground looked top notch, the only problem was though that Ting's escapes were even better.

Abut half way through the round Ting took control after an impressive slam. They didn't stay on the ground for long, and when they got back to their feet Ting began to unload with a barrage of punches and kicks. Legowo was on rubber legs, and when Ting connected with a knee to the head as his man slumped against the fence the referee stepped in to give Ting the TKO win.

The middleweight division gave us Mahmoud Salama against Aung La N Sang.

The quickest fight of the night saw Salama coming out swinging before scoring with an impressive takedown. But when Sang reversed the positions he quickly rained down the blows, and with the Egyptian out of it the referee stepped in to give Sang the knockout win after just sixty-six seconds.

Yet more flyweight action followed as Kentaro Watanabe took on Geje Eustaquio in the first of the final eliminators for the vacant Flyweight title.

The only fight on the show to go the distance proved to be a very entertaining back and forth affair. It was obvious from early on that this was going to be the battle of the technician against the brawler.

It looked like Watanabe was going to get the stoppage early on when he began unloading with bombs right off the bat. Eustaquio managed to weather that particular storm, and as the fight went on he looked in top form as he slowly and surely began to impose his will on the game.

Watanabe still had his moments, and even though an inadvertent low kick stopped him in his tracks momentarily he still looked in top form throughout, although by the time the fight came to an end it looked like Eustaquio had the edge in the exchanges.

As for the judges they were in complete agreement as Eustaquio took the unanimous decision, earning the first spot in the title fight.

The co-main event featured bantamweight action as Sami Amin went up against Fransino Tirta.

This battle of champions from other organisations took a little while to get going, and the first meaningful contact came when Tirta took the fight to the ground. From there he quickly took Amin's back and flattened him out, locking on a rear naked choke for the submission win after just sixty-eight seconds.

The main event featured even more flyweight action as Kosuke Suzuki faced Adriano Moraes in the second of the final eliminators for the Flyweight title.

Now this was good, and I mean really good. For just over two rounds we were treated to some top notch ground fighting. It began early in the first when Moraes scored with the takedown. A brief scramble followed before Moraes quickly regained control, and from that point on he dominated the majority of the action. He seemed able to transition at will as he looked for various submissions.

Suzuki had a few good moments of his own as well when he went looking for a couple of kimuras, but if truth be told he was completely out-classed by the Brazilian, and you have to wonder what would have happened if he'd kept that arm triangle locked in at the end of the second round.

Moraes didn't have to wait too much longer to find out. The start of the third round was almost a carbon copy of the start of the first, and as Moraes took control it wasn't long before he moved into position so he could apply another arm triangle. Suzuki had no choice but to tap out, giving Moraes the very impressive submission win.

In conclusion - these ONE FC guys certainly know how to put on a good show, don't they?

I'm really glad that the good people at Premier Sports aired this show for free, because my second viewing of what ONE FC has to offer wasn't just a positive one, it was a great one. All of the fights delivered here, and even though I'm a UFC guy it does make for a refreshing change to see what other organisations are doing, and how their slight rule differences come into play.

As for my fight of the night I was going to go for the Eustaquio/Watanabe battle until Moraes and Suzuki put on their ground fighting clinic, which is why my prestigious no-prize is going to the main event.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing to do, and that's to give ONE FC's Era of Champions the big thumbs up.