MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Filipino-American fighter Brandon Vera made history as the first mixed martial arts competitor to win the ONE Championship heavyweight title by knocking out Paul Cheng in the main event of the “Spirit of Champions” card on Friday, December 11 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The 38-year-old veteran got the job done in just 26 seconds, delivering a head kick to crown himself champ.
Vera did not let Cheng to land a single strike by immediately clobbering a body kick before pouncing a quick high kick to the head.
As Cheng came forward furiously, he was met with a counter left straight from Vera, who saw a good opening to smack a thunderous head kick that landed flush to the chin and turned the lights off on the Taiwanese-Canadian combatant.
With the impressive victory over Cheng, Vera improves his professional record to 14-7 and achieves the feat as the second Filipino to win a world title in Asia’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.
“There's nothing to compare the feeling I have right now,” Vera said in the post-fight interview. “Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas)!”
Vera, who rose to stardom in the Ultimate Fighting Championship before parting ways with the organization, dedicated his championship-winning performance to the Philippines.
“Itong panalong ito hindi lang para sa akin, para ito sa inyong lahat (This victory is not only for me, but it also for all of you.), he stated.
On the other hand, Cheng downgrades his win-loss standing to 5-3 after accepting the bout on a 72-hour notice.
Cheng replaced Vera’s original opponent Chi Lewis Parry, who was removed from the five-round championship clash after reportedly failing to submit his medical record and deciding not to board his scheduled flight on Tuesday, December 8. – Rappler.com