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3 Major Takeaways From ONE: HEAVY HITTERS

One Championship logo One Championship 17/1/2022 Nathan McCarter
Saygid Izagakhmaev defeated James Nakashima at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS. © ONE Championship Saygid Izagakhmaev defeated James Nakashima at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS.

ONE: HEAVY HITTERS set the tone for 2022 with a phenomenal eight-bout card live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 14 January. 

Fans were treated to six highlight-reel finishes before “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan and Ayaka Miura capped off the evening with a five-round tilt for the ONE Strawweight World Title.

Every athlete who stepped inside the Circle made their mark, but some of those impressions were impossible to ignore. With that in mind, here are three big takeaways from our first event of the year.

#1 Tawanchai’s Emphatic Statement

Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym hit the scene like a fireball in 2021, scoring a stunning head kick knockout in his ONE debut. However, the blaze was doused somewhat after a close split-decision loss in his second appearance.

At ONE: HEAVY HITTERS, Tawanchai stoked the embers and revived the heat. He defeated #1-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender Saemapetch Fairtex with captivating ease, proving that he’s one of the brightest rising stars to watch moving forward.

Following the clash, Tawanchai announced that he’ll be moving up to featherweight, where he already feels ready for a World Title shot.

And after his dazzling first-round knockout of Saemapetch, everyone in the division should be worried, including featherweight Muay Thai king Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy

#2 Izagakhmaev Backs Up The Hype

It’s difficult for any fighter to enter the Circle for the first time, but it’s even harder when surrounded by immense hype that adds pressure to perform at a high level.

However, Saygid Izagakhmaev made it look easy.

The protege of MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted former ONE Welterweight World Title challenger James Nakashima in their lightweight mixed martial arts clash, appearing calm and collected as if he was a veteran of the promotion.

The talented Russian first tested himself in the striking department before taking control of the fight by utilizing his world-class grappling. Ultimately, his dominant control from the top led to a head and arm triangle choke early in the second round.

The debuting phenom was fired up, and he called out a pair of legends in Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez in his post-fight interview.

It’s clear that Izagakhmaev is ambitious – but he’s also the real deal. The lightweight division undoubtedly took notice of a new force within its ranks on Friday night.

#3 We’re Excited For 3 More Rounds Of Supergirl-Vandaryeva

The tightly-contested strawweight Muay Thai battle between Supergirl and Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva left many in front of the screens and behind the scenes calling for a rematch.

And it sounds like that’s exactly what will happen in the near future.

Following Supergirl’s split decision win, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong awarded “Barbie” a US$50,000 performance bonus. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the result and stated that a rematch is in order.

A second meeting will certainly be one to watch.

Teen sensation Supergirl will look to prove that her victory at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS was no fluke, while the veteran Belarusian can examine the factors that prevented her from scoring a finish on Friday – and then come back even stronger.

Read more: ONE: HEAVY HITTERS – Full Results For Every Fight

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