Ernesto Montilla Jr.
Ernesto Montilla Jr. fell short in his much-awaited debut under the ONE Championship banner. ONE Championship


  • Ernesto Montilla lost his ONE Championship debut in Bangkok
  • Montilla succumbed to a first-round submission defeat to Tatsumitsu Wada
  • Regian Eersel prevailed in the main event of ONE Friday Fights 9

Despite suffering a painful setback at the hands of Tatsumitsu Wada, Ernesto Montilla Jr. is still gazing at the bright side of his current situation.

The 31-year-old standout from Surigao Del Norte, Philippines fell short in his maiden appearance on the global stage, yielding to the seasoned Japanese veteran by way of first-round submission at ONE Friday Fights 9 in Bangkok, Thailand last March 17.

Wada put Montilla on the canvas early with a solid right straight, which gave him the opening to swarm on the Filipino with ground strikes before he secured the turning point of the bout by taking the back.

The former URCC flyweight champion did everything he could to stave off the advances made by Wada, but as soon as "The Sweeper" latched on the rear-naked choke, he had no choice but to wave the white flag.

The end came at the 1:52 mark of the opening stanza.

"I didn't know what hit me when he had these exchanges in the pocket. All I remembered was that he's already on my back, and then all of a sudden, I was tapping," Montilla said of the final sequence.

Ernesto Montilla Jr.
Ernesto Montilla Jr. went through the wringer with Tatsumitsu Wada at ONE Friday Fights 9. ONE Championship

Montilla tasted his first loss since 2015 and fell to a 10-5 record, while Wada improved to a 25-12-2 slate with one no-contest.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for Montilla, who had to go through a long, hard, doubt-filled road to get his first international exposure as a mixed martial artist.

However, "Iron" still sees some sort of silver lining.

"When I felt the bright lights, the pressure was heavy. But I cannot deny that I enjoyed the process. Despite the result, I'll be back stronger," he stated.

"What's good is that I faced a high-level fighter. Now, I know that I have to level up for me to keep up with the gold standard."

The ONE Warriors Series Philippines alumnus stressed that he has no plans to take some time off to reassess his future because he wants to go back to training as soon as possible.

"I have a lot of adjustments to work on, like my jiu-jitsu, my patience, and of course, being explosive," he shared. "Facing Wada in my debut is tough, but I'm proud of myself for not backing out."

"I'll make my grappling and wrestling better and become more locked in towards being the best."

Montilla assures his fans that they haven't seen the last of him in ONE Championship.

"I'll be back stronger and make sure to put my name out there and leave a mark on the global stage of mixed martial arts," he declared.

In the main event of ONE Friday Fights 9, reigning two-sport ONE world champion Regian Eersel dropped challenger Sinsamut Klinmee with a crushing body shot in the fourth round of their highly anticipated rematch to retain his ONE lightweight Muay Thai title.

Regian Eersel
Regian Eersel successfully defended his ONE lightweight Muay Thai title in Bangkok. ONE Championship

Sinsamut was strong and powerful, pushing the pace early with thudding combinations in the first two rounds against the defending champion.

Meanwhile, Eersel picked his spots, opting to dissect his Thai counterpart with clean striking.

As the fight progressed, "The Immortal" utilized his trademark length and athleticism as he attacked with jumping switch kicks and flying knees to keep Sinsamut on the defensive.

The Surinamese continued to find his groove in the fourth and picked the Thai apart. Ultimately, a destructive left hook to the solar plexus dropped Sinsamut to the canvas, leaving him in tremendous pain.

Referee Justin Brown completed the 10-count, and Eersel was awarded the knockout, as well as a $50,000 performance bonus.

Here are the complete results of the fight card:

  • Muay Thai - Lightweight: Regian Eersel def. Sinsamut Klinmee via KO at 1:17 of R4
  • Muay Thai - Bantamweight: Muangthai PK Saenchai def. Kulabdam Sor Jor Piek Uthai via KO at 1:37 of R3
  • Muay Thai - Strawweight: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao def. Ryan Sheehan via KO at 2:52 of R2
  • Muay Thai - Catchweight (121 lbs): Petjeeja Lukjaoporongtom def. Fani Peloumpi via TKO at 1:38 of R2
  • Muay Thai - Catchweight (134 lbs): Sulaiman Looksuan def. Chaongoh Jitmuangnon via KO at 1:30 of R2
  • Muay Thai - Catchweight (140 lbs): Seksan Or Kwanmuang def. Silviu Vitez via Unanimous Decision
  • Muay Thai - Catchweight (140 lbs): Yodlekpet Or Atchariya def. Saman Ashouri via KO at 0:27 of R2
  • Muay Thai - Flyweight: Tagir Khalilov def. Black Panther via KO at 2:04 of R1
  • MMA - Flyweight: Tatsumitsu Wada def. Ernesto Montilla via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:52 of R1
  • MMA - Catchweight (159 lbs): Yoon Chang Min def. Kirill Gorobets via Split Decision
  • Muay Thai - Flyweight: Nakrob Fairtex def. Chen Jiayi via TKO at 2:45 of R2
Regian Eersel
Regian Eersel left no doubt that he is the undisputed kingpin of the lightweight Muay Thai division. ONE Championship