Brandon Vera was back in action at ONE Championship: Conquest of Champions. But how would he look after two years away?
Brandon Vera returned at ONE Championship: Conquest of Champions on Friday, defending the heavyweight title for the first time since December 2016. After two years off, he was set to face Mauro Cerilli. But that heavyweight clash wasn’t the only title fight on the Conquest of Champions card. Eduard Folayang and Amir Khan were set to battle for the title vacated by Martin Nguyen earlier this year.
With a pair of title fights topping the card, ONE was bringing plenty of action to Manila, Philippines on Friday. But before those two fights, former featherweight champ Honorio Banario was also in action, taking on short-notice opponent Rahul Raju.
In preliminary action, Jeremy Miado stole the show early. The Filapino strawweight was taking on China’s Peng Xue Wen. A spirited first round set the stage for Miado to score a big finish in the second. Rocking Wen with an uppercut, he swarmed on his fallen opponent as the Chinese fighter went down. Just a couple of follow up strikes, and the ref waved off the action. Miado had the stoppage just thirty-five seconds into the second round.
In heavyweight action, Japan’s Hideki Sekine found early success against Alexandre Machado. Getting the fight to the ground early, he secured a body lock and controlled from the back. Early in round two, however, Machado had turned the tables, got in top position, and dropped some heavy ground n’ pound to earn the stoppage victory.
Opening the main card, Japan’s Hiroaki Suzuki earned a unanimous decision win in ONE Super Series kickboxing, getting the better of Deivdas Danyla. That was followed by MMA action between two undefeated welterweights — James Nakashima and Raimond Magomedaliev. Nakashima was able to impose his will early, and by the second round, and Magomedaliev down and was softening him up with elbows. The Russian fighter would survive, with the pair heading to the third, where Nakashima would again control from the top. Going the distance, Nakashima cruised to a unanimous decision win.
Honorio Banario would also battle to a unanimous decision, in a back-and-forth affair opposite Rahul Raju. Raju would put the former champ in trouble in the second, unleashing a knee while Banario covered up. Conversely, Banario came close with a late (last second, really) choke attempt, but the bell would sound, and they’d go to the scorecards.
Eduard Folayang vs. Amir Khan
The Philippine’s own Eduard Folayang was looking to claim the vacant lightweight championship at Conquest of Champions. Opposite him, Amir Khan, who had title aspirations of his own. The pair started out conservatively, trying to feel one another out. Folayang went with a spinning attack just over a minute in, however, but failed to land it. He walked Khan down, attacking the Singapore native’ lead leg. Khan answered back with a round house kick high that missed. Another, solid kick to the body briefly dropped Folayang, but he was back up in a flash, and briefly took Khan down. Back on the feet, Khan pressed Folayang into the fence as the pair exchanged knees. They’d battle it out to the end of the round and head to the second.
Round two saw a Folayang spinning back kick early. He continued to work in low kicks against Khan. He spun again, but didn’t attack. He’d end up driving Khan into the fence, but the pair were quickly back to the middle. Khan was working his jab, while Folayang fired off an oblique kick. The pair began trading at a frantic pace as time wore down; with a minute to go, Khan launched a flying knee but was caught and slammed on his back! Khan would make it back up, but Folayang landed a spinning back fist, not clean however. They’d head to a third.
Round three had the pair take the foot off the gas a little early, after the brawl to end the second. Plenty of back-and-forth action, but Khan was throwing wild, and while charging in throwing an overhand found himself taken down. He’d spring back up, and they’d continue scrapping til the bell, with Folayang just missing with a spinning back fist attempt. Off to the championship rounds they went.
Khan tied things up early in round four, pressing Folayang against the fence. After some knees, Folayang reversed. He’d fire off a spinning back elbow, then launch yet another kick at Khan’s leg. This time it was Folayang driving Khan into the fence, and softening him up with punches and elbows — including a nasty spinning back elbow. Khan had one overhook in, and was able to fight off the takedown, but was still taking damage. He’d finally escape, and fire off a combination that came up short. With just over a minute to go in the round Folayang launched a spinning back kick that grazed Khan’s face!
With the title on the line, round five started off with plenty of action. Folayang would look to impose his will, driving Khan into the cage. Folayang was proving effective, but Khan would not go quietly. In the final ninety seconds the Filapino fighter would shoot for a takedown, but Khan was able to stuff it. They broke after a clinch, with Folayang looking for the takedown gain briefly then pushing Khan against the cage once more. They’d start to trade with just over half a minute remaining. Heading to the scorecards, Folayang would claim the win — and the championship!
Brandon Vera vs. Mauro Cerilli
After two years away from MMA, Brandon ‘The Truth’ Vera did not take long to finish the job at Conquest of Champions. Vera opened the action with a kick; the pair would clinch shortly after. Cerilli was on the attack, but struggled to close the distance on the champ. With Mauro Cerilli charging forward throwing some wild punches, Vera was retreating, but threw a left hook as he faded back that connected! Right on the button! Cerilli went down, and he was out! Vera retained his title, with a big knockout win.
Check back come fight time for full results and a recap of the action at ONE Championship: Conquest of Champions. The official full-card Conquest of Champions live stream is also available below.
ONE Championship: Conquest of Champions Results:
Brandon Vera def. Mauro Cerilli by knockout, Round 1, 1:04 – for the ONE heavyweight world championship
Eduard Folayang def. Amir Khan by unanimous decision – for the ONE lightweight world championship
Honorio Banario def. Rahul Raju by unanimous decision
Saemapetch Fairtex def. Alaverdi Ramazanov by unanimous decision – ONE Super Series Muay Thai
James Nakashima def. Raimond Magomedaliev by unanimous decision
Hiroaki Suzuki def. Deivdas Danyla by unanimous decision – ONE Super Series Kickboxing
Samy Sana def. Armen Petrosyan by unanimous decision – ONE Super Series Kickboxing
Alexandre Machado def. Hideki Sekine by TKO, Round 2, 1:44
Han Zi Hao def. Azwan Che Wil by TKO, Round 1, 2:52 – ONE Super Series Muay Thai
Jeremy Miado def. Peng Xue Wen by TKO, Round 2, 0:35
Akihiro Fujisawa def. Rockie Bactol by KO/TKO, Round 3, 4:40
Rudy Agustian def. Araful Islam by unanimous decision