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6 Takeaways from ONE: Inside the Matrix 2

One Of The Quickest ONE Cards For A While

With the first 3 fights finishing in the first round, and only a 3 round match going the distance, Inside the Matrix 2 could have been one of the ONE cards with the shortest ever fight time. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t exciting though – far from it. This was great from start to finish, one of those rare MMA events that managed to avoid a single boring fight.

Meng Bo Has Serious Power

The night started with the shortest fight on the entire card (just) clocking in at 1:26. She was confident and aggressive from the outset. Clearly looking for that right hand as soon as the match was on, she didn’t appear concerned with the sidekick threat from Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol, backing up her opponent, cutting the cage excellently, and landing a cracking shot. It only took one punch. That kind of power is really rare in the women’s division, and in atomweight? Meng Bo is someone to keep an eye on in the future.

Eko Roni Saputra Keeps Up His Streak

Eko Roni has brought his winning streak in ONE up to 4 now, with all 1st round finishes and 3 submissions in a row. His last match was only in October, with a super creative Americana using his legs from the mounted crucifix. Once underneath the wrestling champion there’s no escape. His ground and pound is limited, but efficient, and mostly used to help advance position and induce mistakes from his opponent, before sinking in the choke.

It would be interesting to see him against a proficient grappler next: either a wrestler who will defend takedowns and force either more creative work or more striking from Saputra, or a Jiu-Jitero who will make him think twice about bringing the fight to the mat. Either way, with repeated performances like that he can’t stay out of the top five for long. On a peronal note, Saputra is quickly becoming one of my favourite fighters in ONE, and if not for the next bout I’d have given this performance of the night.

Beautiful Performance From Wakamatsu

If you thought Meng Bo’s footwork was good, just take a look at this match between Yuya Wakamatsu and Kim Kyu Sung. I’ve seen only impressive things about Sung, but Wakamatsu just had his number here. Despite a colossal 11cm height difference, Wakamatsu was the one controlling range, dictating engagements, and ultimately managed to fluster Sung so much that he recklessly threw punches when he shouldn’t have done so.

I think that it was ultimately a combination of too much information and increasing frustration at not being able to land effective strikes that undid the Evolve fighter. And even though it was a right cross that finished the fight, the really impressive punch was Yuya’s lead hook, whether leaping in or a as a check punch. Finishing at 1:46, this was seriously impressive.

Game Planning Was Everything In Nastyukhin Vs Buist

The co-main was the only match to go the distance, and was an interesting study in game planning from both fighters. Timoufey Nastyukhin (as an aside, that’s one of the coolest names in ONE) took the decision with power punching and punishing Buist for everything he did. Each kick attempted by Pieter was caught and countered, or used to run him into the fence or the ground. It just didn’t look like Buist showed much urgency, and the lack of activity in the first two rounds left him with too much ground to cover in the final 5 minutes.

The commentators seemed to think that waiting for Timofey to tire, and then to engage in the final round for the finish, was Buist’s strategy, but despite some success it was too little too late. He didn’t come close to a finish, and failed to push the pace enough earlier on to make the fatigue significant enough; in a 5 round bout this might have been different but not the way that Pieter did it, and leaving yourself with too much ground to cover against a superior grappler is the wrong way to approach the match.

It might have been Timofey’s constant counters that made Pieter reluctant to show more activity, but I feel like we should have seen more from the Dutchman. Gameplanning, here, is everything.

Welterweight Belt Retained With A Powerful Comeback

James Nakashima looked to be running away with this one against champ Kiamrian Abbasov, crushing his opponent’s nose in the first, displaying superior grappling and looking to be the fresher of the two by the end. With two rounds confidently in the bag, and the first anyone’s for the taking, it was all going Nakashima’s way until it wasn’t. A bit of sloppy head movement and a beautifully timed knee from Abbasov lead to the downfall of the challenger.

It was one hell of a comeback, and clearly an emotional moment for Kiamrian, and a worthy main event for Inside the Matrix 2. With such a close match I’d love to see them run it back.


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