ONE: Big Bang 2 is the second iteration of the Big Bang series. It was a good night for ONE Super Series and the Featherweight division, but not so much for ONE Warrior Series.
These are our three takeaways from ONE: Big Bang 2.
Ali’s KO Loss Gives OWS 0-3
The last few months have not been kind to the graduates of the ONE Warrior Series (OWS) program. First, OWS 4 contract winner Mark Fairtex Abelardo fell with back to back losses against Troy Worthen and Fabricio Andrade in ONE: King of the Jungle and No Surrender respectively.
At ONE: Inside the Matrix III, Lito Adiwang lost a hard-fought split decision against Hiroba Minowa.
Finally, what was supposed to be a welcoming debut to the main stage turned into a rude awakening for the Iranian OWS 9 alumni Ali Motamed as he got knocked out in the first round of ONE: Big Bang 2.
This does not bode well for the perception of the program, especially after the blistering success earned by the other contract winners. The next one up will be the very first OWS contract winner Dae Sung Park.
He was supposed to face a returning to form Amir Khan at ONE: Collision Course before it got pulled. Presumably it will be re-scheduled soon, and show whether we are seeing a pattern emerge for the OWS program.
Title Challengers Are Back on The Hunt
There may not have been any belts on the line, but ONE: Big Bang 2 features three hungry fighters on the hunt for another shot at their division titles.
First, Tyler McGuire was an undefeated elite level grappler who made an impressive debut against former title challenger Luis “Sapo” Santos at ONE: Pursuit of Power.
He faced and lost against Zebastian Kadestam in the main event of ONE: Warrior’s Dream for the vacant Welterweight title after Ben Askren’s first retirement.
The match was a back-and-forth affair that ended with surprise knockout with less than 30 seconds left in the fifth. His win over Agilan Thani, another former title challenger, is a sign that he’s ready to rematch the Swedish bandit or challenge Abbasov for the title.
Second, Nieky Holzken needs little introduction as a legend in the Kickboxing world. But, back-to-back defeats against reigning Kickboxing Champion Regian Eersel does block his path to another shot at the gold.
The Natural will need to eliminate every other contender in the division to force ONE’s hand in giving him a rematch. He began that work with a quick knockout win over Elliot Compton. How much more work needs to be done remains to be seen.
Finally, former Muay Thai Champion Jonathan Haggerty showed everyone he’s still an elite fighter with his performance over Taiki Naito. It may not be enough to make a case for Rodtang yet, but anyone who does have plans for gold must go through The General first.
Featherweight is Officially The Most Dangerous Division in ONE
In another rankings upset, Kim Jae Woong knocked out #4 ranked Tetsuya Yamada. This is the third time in the last few months that an underseeded fighter defeated a higher ranked opponent.
Thanh Le defeated Martin Nguyen, Garry Tonon dominated Koyomi Matsushima, and now Jae Woong over Yamada. The Fighting God even made it more interesting by calling out the former Champion, gearing for possibly another big upset.
These recent fights proves how little difference in actual ability the rankings provide. Any one of them can easily get the top spot if given the opportunity.
With this much potential for turnover, no one is safe. We can expect the reign on Thanh Le to be a turbulent one in the next few months – a prospect that most fans will welcome with open arms.
Looking back at these takeaways from ONE: Big Bang 2, the card will not stand out much in Asian MMA history. But it is a good one for the fighters that are working to get back up the ladder.
If you missed the event, you can replay ONE: Big Bang 2 on Youtube. Or we have the results for the event, click the link!
Images Credits to ONE Championship
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