ONE Championship

Zamboanga, Buntan pick up decision wins; Folayang falls short anew

Leigh Nald Cabildo
Zamboanga, Buntan pick up decision wins; Folayang falls short anew

BLOW. Filipina fighter Denice Zamboanga lands a solid hit on Chinese foe Heqin Lin.


Denice Zamboanga and Jackie Buntan pull off decision victories, while Eduard Folayang absorbs a controversial TKO loss in ONE Fight Night 5

MANILA, Philippines – After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, the Filipino fighters finally returned to action in the Philippines – but with mixed results – in ONE Fight Night 5 on Saturday, December 3 at Mall of Asia Arena.

Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga (9-2) kicked off the lead card with a split-decision victory against Chinese fighter Heqin Lin (15-5-1).

The No. 3 atomweight fighter came out swinging and landed a solid right hand that stunned Lin in the opening round. 

Zamboanga’s sharp striking continued until the final round, where she exchanged blows against her taller Chinese foe.

Lin had her own moments and even rocked the Filipina with a left hand in the first round. But Zamboanga’s right hand kept Lin in check all throughout the fight. 

Zamboanga, who came from back-to-back decision losses against the veteran Seo Hee Ham, now eyes a duel against her former stablemate and the No. 1 atomweight fighter, Stamp Fairtex.

Meanwhile, the slump continues for Team Lakay’s Eduard “Landslide” Folayang (22-13) as he absorbed a controversial second-round TKO loss against Edson “Panico” Marques (11-2).

The referee jumped the gun when Marques landed a right straight that knocked down Folayang, who immediately stood up and looked ready to fight back.

Prior to the stoppage, the former lightweight champion was active with his combinations and his patented spinning attacks. Folayang’s sudden burst of offense caught Marques off-guard in the opening round.

But Marques’ reach and height advantage were on full display in the second round. The Brazilian threw a couple of clean straights before eventually connecting with the finishing blow midway through the round.

Folayang has yet to win an MMA bout sine 2019. His last victory was a special muay thai bout against the veteran striker John Wayne Parr last March.

In a muay thai bout, Fil-Am fighter Jackie Buntan displayed an impressive performance as she snatched a unanimous decision victory over Amber Kitchen.

The crowd-favorite Buntan showcased her speed and power in all three rounds of the fight. Buntan, who lost against Kitchen back in 2017, put an exclamation point in the final round after scoring a knockdown against the English fighter.

The Fil-Am striker recently fought for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai title but fell short against Smilla Sundel.

In the main event, Anatoly Malykhin (11-0) annihilated reigning champion Reinier De Ridder (16-1) to snatch the ONE light heavyweight gold. 

Malykhin, who also holds the ONE interim heavyweight title, humbled De Ridder in a brutal beatdown in the very first round. Aside from dropping bombs, the Russian fighter also displayed an amazing takedown defense that basically made De Ridder clueless in the cage.

De Ridder, who still holds the middleweight crown, was stretchered out of the ring. 

In the co-main event, Kade Ruotolo retained his ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling title as he pulled off a decision win against Matheus Gabriel.

Ruotolo put up the pressure in the entire 10 minutes of the fight, but Gabriel managed to slip from the champion’s multiple submission attempts. 

On the other hand, an unintentional blow spoils Roberto “Robocop” Soldic’s much-anticipated ONE Championship debut as his bout against Murad Ramazanov was declared no contest.

Soldic absorbed a hit below the belt that forced him to retire from the fight. The Croatian fighter was a juggernaut in his previous fighting promotion KSW, where he won 6 of his last 7 fights via knockout.  –

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