High Fives: Kingly Maneuvers, Return of a Legend and a Fight for the Ages


UFC on Fox 30 was not the only noteworthy mixed martial arts event to occupy the weekend of July 27-29. One Championship “Reign of Kings” played host to some exciting battles on Friday in Manila, Philippines, and there was a dramatic finish at Rizin Fighting Federation 11 on Sunday in Saitama, Japan. Meanwhile, Legacy Fighting Alliance 46 on Friday in Newport News, Virginia, witnessed what was arguably the most exciting fight of the year to date.

THRILLER IN MANILA … The One Championship “Reign of Kings” main event saw hometown favorite Kevin Belingon square off with Australia's Martin Nguyen for the interim bantamweight title. Their enthralling encounter was contested on the feet. Belingon utilized a variety of techniques, including high kicks, low kicks, a spinning kick and a jumping roundhouse kick. Nguyen attempted numerous takedowns, only to be stifled on every occasion. In claiming the interim bantamweight crown by unanimous decision, Belingon improved to 19-5. Nguyen slipped to 11-3.

Kevin Belingon & Martin Nguyen put on a thrilla in Manila! #WeAreONE #ReignOfKings #Manila #MartialArts pic.twitter.com/sAiIu9PQOR – ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) July 29, 2018

GRAPPLING GENIUS … In supporting One Championship lightweight action, Japanese MMA stalwart Shinya Aoki faced Thailand's Shannon Wiratchai. Early in the first frame, Aoki delivered a takedown from the clinch against the cage. Having transitioned to mount, he rained brutal punches and elbows until the referee stepped in, calling off the bout at the 2:16 mark. With the win, “Tobikan Juban” moved to 41-8. It was the first career stoppage loss for Wiratchai, who fell to 9-3.

Shinya Aoki hellbowed Shannon Wiratchai in 1R – HL pic.twitter.com/WpewWz3HQH – Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) July 27, 2018

RETURN OF A LEGEND … Brazilian MMA pioneer Renzo Gracie, 51, challenged 43-year-old Japanese veteran Yuki Kondo in a One Championship welterweight clash. Shortly after the commencement of the second stanza, Gracie forced the action to the mat. After taking his opponent's back, he adeptly applied the fight-ending rear-naked choke and forced Kondo to tap 1:40 into Round 2. In his first appearance in eight years, the Brazilian legend upped his record to 14-7-1. Kondo dropped to 60-35-9.

Renzo Gracie TAPs Yuki Kondo in 2R. What a moment for him ! – HL pic.twitter.com/n8l65ORPM8 – Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) July 27, 2018

FIREBALL FRENZY … Rizin Fighting Federation 11 featured a lightweight contest between former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Takanori Gomi and fellow Ultimate Fighting Championship alum Melvin Guillard. Gomi's heavily bandaged right leg buckled early on. When Guillard targeted the injured limb soon after with a heavy right kick, Gomi fell to one knee. However, “The Fireball Kid” recovered and finished the duel with a four-hook combinati…

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