KEY POINTS

  • Ekaterina Vandaryeva surprisingly lost via split decision after battering Supergirl for the better part of three rounds
  • Tawanchai P.K. Saenchaimuaythaigym showcased his potential after knocking out Saemapetch Fairtex with ease
  • Saygid Izagakhmaev has his eyes on Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez for his next fight

A night full of finishes and spectacular performances dotted ONE: Heavy Hitters last Friday, January 14, and here are some takeaways from the promotion’s first event of the year.

Ekaterina Vandaryeva deserves an immediate rematch

Ekaterina Vandaryeva had one of the best showings of the night as she battered Thai prospect Supergirl Jaroonsak for the better part of three rounds in a Muay Thai bout.

Vandaryeva looked to have secured the victory after pulling off a massive flurry of punches in the second round that greatly affected Supergirl’s performance in the third round, but judges saw it in a different light and gave the victory to Supergirl by split decision.

In the post-event interview, ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong even agreed that the judges’ decision was wrong.

“I thought Ekaterina won easily and she staggered Supergirl and the judges got it wrong. We are going to have to work with other judges. It’s just they made errors, especially in the striking stuff. I would want an immediate rematch between Ekaterina and Supergirl," he said.

"As being someone who does Muay Thai for 35 plus years, I can tell you, Ekaterina won that fight easily. It was not even close."

Despite the loss, Vandaryeva was awarded one of three $50,000 performance bonuses for her gallant effort.

Ekaterina Vandaryeva Ekaterina Vandaryeva (right) lands a right cross on Supergirl Jaroonsak (left) in their Women's Starwweight Muay Thai fight at ONE: Heavy Hitters on January 14, 2022. Photo: ONE Championship

Tawanchai has serious superstar potential

In one of the biggest surprises of the night, Tawanchai P.K. Saenchaimuaythaigym only needed one round to knock out close friend and No. 1-ranked Muay Thai bantamweight fighter Saemapetch Fairtex.

The 22-year-old proved that his combination of speed and knockout power was nothing to laugh at as he repeatedly caught Saemapetch with all manners of strikes, knocking him down once and then putting away his compatriot with a left straight down the middle.

Tawanchai declared after the fight that he would be moving up a weight class due to him having trouble maintaining his weight at bantamweight.

“For this weight division [bantamweight], I think I am not quite ready, but I am really ready to challenge for the world title [held by Superbon Banchamek] at featherweight,” Tawanchai told ONE commentator Mitch Chilson in his post-bout interview.

Tawanchai Tawanchai P.K. Saenchaimuaythaigym (right) loads up the knockout shot in his left hand against Saemapetch Fairtex (left) in the first round of their catchweight Muay Thai bout at ONE: Heavy Hitters on January 14, 2022. Photo: ONE Championship

Saygid Izagakhmaev is for real

Though MMA icon Khabib Nurmagomedov was not in his long-time friend’s corner due to COVID-19, Saygid Izagakhmaev showed that he belongs with ONE Championship after forcing James Nakashima to tap in the second round with a Brabo choke.

The two wrestlers were cautious in throwing punches as a mistimed strike could see the other putting them down on the mat, but Izagakhmaev made quick work of Nakashima in his promotional debut.

Nakashima had no answers for Izagakhmaev’s wrestling and was simply outclassed despite his own grappling pedigree.

Izagakhmaev was the second fighter to receive a $50,000 performance bonus (Senzo Ikeda was the third to receive a bonus for his comeback knockout of Elipitua Siregar) and was very succinct in who he has his eyes on next.

“Hey Eddie [Alvarez], [Shinya] Aoki, I'll kill you [in this cage]. I'll kill Aoki. Hey [ONE Championship chairman and CEO] Chatri [Sityodtong], give me my $50,000,” an excited Izagakhmaev declared in his post-fight interview.

Saygid Izagakhmaev Saygid Izagakhmaev (kneeling) works his way into the submission finish of James Nakashima (sitting) in the second round of their lightweight MMA bout at ONE: Heavy Hitters on January 14, 2022. Photo: ONE Championship