Seven Takeaways From ONE: King of the Jungle

Janet Todd interviewed by Miesha Tate via ONE Championship.

If you missed the ONE: King of the Jungle, don’t worry, we have you covered. Here are the seven main takeaways from the card.

One Shin’s One Trick Isn’t Enough Anymore

Honorio Banario kicks Shannon Wiratchai at ONE: King of the Jungle
Honorio Banario kicks Shannon Wiratchai via GMA Network.

In our Read the Lead article for ONE: King of the Jungle, we said that whoever the loser will be will need to ask themselves some serious questions.

The card has come and gone and the question for fan-favorite Shannon Wiratchai is “Why doesn’t he develop a ground game?”

From the first bell, Honorio Banario’s game plan was unashamedly obvious.

  • Bait Wiratchai into a head kick
  • Catch the leg
  • Take him down
  • Ground and Pound until TKO or end of round

Team Lakay wisely bet that Wiratchai has near zero play on the ground and Banario cruised to an easy victory. The fact that one of the judges ever saw the fight go to the Thai fighter is puzzling.

The fact that Wiratchai could still fall prey to such a simple plan is an even bigger puzzle.

When even the most stereotypical strikers are improving by leaps and bounds in their all-around game, it’s hard to think of a reason why Thailand’s MMA pioneer is stagnating.

Worthen Worthy of Bigger Names

Troy Worthen kicks Mark Abelardo
Troy Worthen kicks Mark Abelardo via ONE Championship.

Troy Worthen justified the hype surrounding his undefeated name by handily taking care of ONE Warrior Series alumni Mark Abelardo.

It was an all-around performance for the American. His striking against a Fairtex fighter was on point and his ground game was impressive.

He extends his undefeated record to seven. It’s high time Worthen puts that streak to the test and see a step-up in competition going for the big boys in the Bantamweight division.

When Mei Met the Menace

Denice Zamboanga on top of Mei Yamaguchi
Denice Zamboanga on top of Mei Yamaguchi via ONE Championship.

Not many people gave Denice Zamboanga much of a chance against Mei Yamaguchi. Approximately 75% of respondents on the ONE App saw the fight going the Japanese fighter’s way.

The quarter of the audience that bet on the Filipina saw with their prospect hugely impress with each passing round.

Zamboanga lit up Yamaguchi on the feet, leaving several visible welts on the latter’s face. But her takedown defense was what left most people picking up their jaws from the floor.

This is a high-level Jiu-Jitsu fighter and Zamboanga was stuffing and even reversing everything that was thrown her way. There was no point in the fight where she looked uncomfortable and professionally answered every challenge Yamaguchi had for her.

The rumor mill is whirring about Zamboanga getting a title shot against Angela Lee. Only time will tell what shakes out in future cards.

No Chill is Wasting No Time

Tiffany Teo punching Ayaka Miura
Tiffany Teo punching Ayaka Miura via Art of MMA.

The only blemish on Tiffany Teo’s record is against ONE Strawweight Champion Xiong Jingnan. Now she’s on the warpath to get back to a title shot.

It was an open secret that the Japanese fighter was going to bank on her experience on the ground. But that didn’t do much to deter Teo, as she willingly traded with Miura wherever the fight went.

With her victory over Ayaka Miura in ONE: King of the Jungle, Teo has ended the winning streaks of two of the most exciting rising stars in the division. The first being Michelle Nicolini, who is only the second woman to beat Angela Lee.

To put this into perspective, Miura is ranked third in Japan’s women’s pound-for-pound list. Mei Yamaguchi is ranked fifth and Itsuki Hirata is twenty-second.

Future fights could include Samara Santos or even Laura Balin if she chooses to return to Strawweight just to cement her case for the crown. The ONE brass might even see those fights as unnecessary and just give her the rematch outright.

Either way, Teo will be aiming to change her moniker from No Chill to Champion within 2020.

Akiyama Bringing Sexy Back

Yoshihiro Akiyama knocking out Sherif Mohamed
Yoshihiro Akiyama knocking out Sherif Mohamed via BJPenn.com

Once in a generation there comes a fighter that builds a lifelong legacy and comes back to show the youngsters how it’s done.

Yoshihiro Akiyama is a rare breed that seems just to born to be a fighter.

At 44 years young, he looks fitter than most men literally half his age and only needed 60 seconds to put Sherif Mohamed away.

We’re not saying Sexyama deserves a title shot anytime soon since his opponent has yet to get a single win in ONE. But his story is truly inspiring and a real example of the barriers that martial arts can overcome.

Sam-A Cements His Legacy

Sam-A Gaiyanghadao kicks Rocky Ogden in ONE: King of the Jungle
Sam-A Gaiyanghadao kicks Rocky Ogden via Fox Sports.

Whenever Sam-A Gaiyanghadao steps into the ring, his record and history will always see him as a favorite against anyone in the world. Since the Jonathan Haggerty upset, however, there were some questions regarding this fight.

Would history repeat itself and see Sam-A fall to a young and hungry foreigner?

This time around, Sam-A didn’t take any chances with his opponent and showcased his evasive savvy, waiting for the right time to unleash his offense.

Rocky Ogden definitely came looking to bring the fight to Sam-A but had real trouble landing any significant shots. All his missed chances opened him up to hard counters and combinations.

With the win, Sam-A finds himself the promotion’s lone two-sport champion.

Janet Todd Stamps Her Dominion in Kickboxing

Janet Todd punches Stamp Fairtex in ONE: King of the Jungle
Janet Todd punches Stamp Fairtex via ONE Championship.

It’s safe to say that Janet Todd went into ONE: King of the Jungle with a white-hot fire in her belly. She came out fast and aggressive in opening rounds, launching combinations that left visible marks on the champion’s face.

In true Thai fashion, Stamp Fairtex came alive in the later rounds where she was almost a different person. She pushed the action in the fourth round her characteristic smile completely gone.

Stamp’s flurries were savage and fewer of Todd’s strikes were finding their mark. It was too little too late, as Todd stuck to her gameplan, refusing to engage Stamp in a brawl which eventually gave her the majority nod.

This victory just reinforces how hard it is to cross-over into other sports, no matter how similar they may seem. Stamp got two warnings for holding Todd’s leg as her Muay Thai instincts took over. Props to Elias Dolaptsis for catching that whenever he could.

Without elbows and the clinch, Stamp had limited options in this fight and Todd took full advantage.

ONE: King of the Jungle may prove to be a pivotal card with some of the matches looking like the basis of future title shots for Zamboanga and Teo, and maybe even a rematch for Stamp. Let’s see if all three of these women manage to make the most of the future opportunities that will be given to them.

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