Stamp Fairtex retained her Atomweight World Muay Thai title after being awarded a unanimous decision against Alma Juniku at the ONE Championship Legendary Quest 2019 event in Shanghai on Saturday.
Juniku, 18, appeared to control most of the bout on her tournament debut, but a strong finish from Fairtex ultimately swayed the judges.
The main card also saw Agilan Thani beat legendary Yoshihiro Akiyama on the latter's first appearance at the ONE Championship. Anderson Silva was also in action, but the 32-year-old was humbled by Tarik Khbabez.
Results (Per the tournament's official website)
- Phoe Thaw def. Victorio Senduk via Knockout (MMA, Men's Featherweight)
- Itsuki Hirata def. Angelie Sabanal via Submission (MMA, Women's Atomweight)
- Chen Lei def. Anthony Engelen via Unanimous Decision (MMA, Men's catch weight of 67.5 kilograms)
- Fan Rong def. Sherif Mohamed via TKO (MMA, Men's Middleweight)
- Niu Kang Kang def. Eric Kelly via Unanimous Decision (MMA, Men's Featherweight)
- Yoon Chang Min def. Trestle Tan via TKO (MMA, Men's Lightweight)
- Stamp Fairtex def. Alma Juniku via Unanimous Decision (ONE Women's Atomweight Muay Thai World Title)
- Agilan Thani def. Yoshihiro Akiyama via Unanimous Decision (MMA, Men's Welterweight)
- Zhang Chenglong def. Tyler Hardcastle via Knockout (ONE Super Series kickboxing, Men's Bantamweight)
- Han Zi Hao def. Andrew Miller via Knockout (ONE Super Series Muay Thai, Men's Bantamweight)
- Koyomi Matsushima def. Kwon Won Il via Unanimous Decision (MMA, Men's Featherweight)
- Tarik Khbabez def. Anderson Silva via Unanimous Decision (ONE Super Series kickboxing, Men's Light Heavyweight)
- Reinier de Ridder def. Gilberto Galvao via TKO (MMA, Men's Middleweight)
- Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym def. Liam Harrison via Unanimous Decision (ONE Super Series Muay Thai, Men's Bantamweight)
The day started with a couple of notable results on the preliminary card. Eric Kelly couldn't escape body scissors from Niu Kang Kang, who was able to rain down uncontested shots until the unanimous decision was confirmed.
It continued a lengthy losing run for Kelly:
While Kelly's career appears to be faltering, Itsuki Hirata's is starting to take shape after her submission victory over Angelie Sabanal:
Results came in quick once the main card got underway. Reinier de Ridder earned some props when he forced a verbal tap out from Galvao.
Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym emphatically beat Liam Harrison, while Khbabez was good value for a win by unanimous decision over Silva.
The latter couldn't handle a vicious and sustained onslaught from an opponent unleashing fast hands with flawless coordination:
There was a positive moment for home fans when Han Zi Hao sent an overwhelmed Andrew Miller sprawling to the canvas:
Hao's heroics were repeated by Zhang Chenglong, who rocked Tyler Hardcastle during a swift knockout win:
One of the more notable upsets on the main card saw Koyomi Matsushima beat Kwon Won Il by unanimous decision:
A shock of sorts was also in store for famed Akiyama, who was given a tough time by Thani. Akiyama struggled to stay in the first round and ended it slammed to the canvas after a brutal takedown.
A knee to the chin and a roundhouse kick that found its mark helped Thani maintain control. Akiyama was soon forced on to the ring apron after another sustained attack from Thani, who sensed victory was close.
It was an unforgiving tournament debut for Akiyama, even though he salvaged some pride with a few clean strikes in the penultimate round against an opponent two decades his junior.
A sweeping kick to the midsection gassed Thani, who seemed to be straining more than the older man. However, a formidable left hook in the dying seconds helped a heavily bloodied Thani convince the judges to award him a unanimous decision.
Like Thani, Juniku took control early in the main event. She put Fairtex down twice with late kicks while protecting herself superbly with a tight and disciplined guard.
A long-snapping jab was also helping Juniku keep the champion unsettled. However, Fairtex opened things up in the third, knocking the head of Juniku back with a pair of thunderous rights.
Juniku responded by once again leaning on the jab to reassert herself in the penultimate round. There was more power in her shots as Fairtex was forced into a slugfest with her kicking neutralised.
Yet the champion summoned reserves to land some telling blows in the final seconds. Her strong finish, coupled with Juniku's failure to seize the moment when victory appeared in sight, proved decisive.
There is little shame for Juniku, though, with the teenager sure to get another chance to thrive at this level.