ONE Championship kicked off the new year with style as ONE: ETERNAL GLORY took place in beautiful Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday, 19 January.
The Indonesian crowd was entertained with an action-packed 12-bout card that featured a plethora of the best martial artists in the world, including a troop of promotional newcomers that sets up the world’s largest martial arts organization for another groundbreaking year.
Here are three grand highlights from ONE’s first event of 2019.
#1 A New Strawweight World Champion
In the main event, the ONE Strawweight World Champion Title was on the line as the reigning king of the division Joshua “The Passion” Pacio had his first World Title defense against Japan’s Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta.
An emerging strawweight talent, Saruta made his promotional debut on the same bout card as Cambodia’s Sovannahry Em and Chan Rothana on 7 December as he took home the unanimous decision victory over Evolve’s Alex “Little Rock” Silva.
With a very impressive debut over a tough opponent, Saruta quickly found himself in title contention and made the most of his opportunity.
Even though Team Lakay’s defending titleholder Pacio had his glistering moments, it was the constant pressure and effective wrestling that ultimately convinced two of the three judges and crowned Saruta as the new ONE Strawweight World Champion.
With a row of hungry competitors, the new Strawweight kingpin will undoubtedly have his hands full in 2019.
#2 A Triumphant Event For The Lee Clan
Evolve stars Christian “The Warrior” Lee and his brother-in-law Bruno “Puccibull” Pucci could not have asked for a more prosperous evening.
Competing on the main card, both combatants had their hard rivals to take on as Pucci was set to kick off the Jakarta main card with a featherweight clash with former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu “No Face” Boku.
Two-time BJJ No-Gi World Champion Pucci wasted no time as he swiftly went in for a takedown and then worked diligently to put the Japanese mixed martial arts veteran on his back.
After a dynamic back-and-forth, “Puccibull” managed to get Boku’s back and sunk in a rear-naked choke, extending his professional record to 7-3, all victories coming by finish.
Four bouts later, “The Warrior” Lee put on another powerful performance as he dominated Team Lakay representative and former foe Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly.
With superior grappling, Lee made it look easy as he half-way through the first round took full advantage of his full mount position and rained down a barrage of strikes that ultimately stopped the bout.
With two dominant performances and ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee competing for the ONE Strawweight World Title at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, 2019 is turning out to be quite the year for the Lee clan.
#3 New and Exciting Talents
ONE: ETERNAL GLORY was full of emerging talents and promotional newcomers that set the bar sky high for the rest of the year.
China’s Niu Kang Kang needed only 31 seconds to finish local hero Sunoto Peringkat and South Korean super talent Won Il Kwon established himself as a future top-contender as he took out Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen via TKO, 67 seconds into the first round.
ONE’s all-striking league Super Series really turned up the volume inside the Istora Senayan Arena as England’s Jonathan “The General” Haggerty and Italy’s Joseph Lasiri put on a relentless pace and fought bravely for three rounds of high-powered action.
At first, the back-and-forth flyweight Muay Thai contest seemed to be going towards a finish victory for Haggerty as he landed several strong elbows and kicks, but Lasiri showcased a true warrior spirit and managed to claw his way back into the contest.
After an exhilarating display of world-class Muay Thai, “The General” Haggerty was ultimately awarded the victory via unanimous decision.
With so many impressive performances from both veterans and promotional newcomers, ONE Championship could not have asked for a better beginning in 2019.