ONE 156 results: After surviving early knockdown, Regian Eersel defends his ONE Championship kickboxing title

ONE Championship lightweight kickboxing champion Regian Eersel defended his belt at ONE 156. (Images courtesy of ONE Championship)
ONE Championship lightweight kickboxing champion Regian Eersel defended his belt at ONE 156. (Images courtesy of ONE Championship)

ONE Championship's most recent event, ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic just concluded and it was fireworks from start to finish. The main card saw action across Muay Thai, kickboxing, and MMA.

In the main event, dominant ONE Championship lightweight kickboxing champion Regian 'The Immortal' Eersel looked to defend his belt for a fourth straight time. Riding an 18-fight winning streak, the champion looked to defend his throne against the powerful Arian 'Game Over' Sadikovic.

In a ferociously contested kickboxing fight, Eersel had to survive an early scare and dig deep to take the fight and win via unanimous decision. Early on, Eersel used his length and managed distance with straight punches. Sadikovic was true to his promise, however, and kept moving forward. Despite this, Eersel was good at circling away and then going back to the center of the cage.

In the second round, just as Eersel was establishing some kind of momentum, Sadikovic landed a flying knee that put the champion down for an eight-count. 'Game Over' swung for the fences to put Eersel away but the champion recovered and started swinging back to end the round.

From the third round onwards, Eersel showed his championship mettle and recovered to go back to his methodical ways. Despite Sadikovic constantly hunting for the finish, the champion remained calm. 'The Immortal' systematically used combinations in and out of range to slightly edge the challenger every round.

Near the end, Sadikovic didn't have the same pop as he did early in the fight, and Eersel pulled away to successfully defend his belt. The proud new father expressed thoughts on the close win:

"I tell you honestly, I was not confident at all. Because that was a really, really close fight. But I still got a win! Wooh! I was badly [hurt]. Badly, badly. I lost a few seconds in my left eye. But it came back and I'm happy about that... I had to dig deep. My respect goes to Arian, my opponent, he's a warrior. A warrior like me. I think he will be one day champion. Believe me. Thank you, Arian, for the opportunity. I have a lot to work on. So, ready for the next one."

The performance didn't just earn Eersel his fourth title defense but also a sweet ONE Championship $50,000 performance bonus.

In the co-main event, history was made as 17-year-old Swedish phenom Smilla Sundell bulldozed her way to a decision win over Jackie Buntan. 'The Hurricane' became the first ONE women's strawweight Muay Thai champion and also the youngest ONE world champion ever.

After a razor-close first two rounds, Sundell upped her trademark pressuring aggression like a frenzied shark. She never took her foot off the pedal despite Buntan firing back every time she closed the distance. In the end, the young Swede did enough to pull away in the cards and win her first world title. Not only did she get a brand-new belt, Sundell also bagged a $50,000 ONE Championship performance bonus.

ONE Championship 156 main card results

Elsewhere on the main card was the pivotal title eliminator between Jarred 'The Monkey God' Brooks and Bokang 'Little Giant' Masunyane. The former Bellator and UFC fighter immediately went for a clinch battle, eager to test the wrestling of his South African foe.

From the clinch, Brooks marvelously transitioned to standing back control. Showing that he is not just a one-dimensional wrestler, Brooks used his jiu-jitsu to act as a human backpack while hunting for the choke. After much resistance from Masunyane, Brooks locked in a rear-naked choke and put 'Little Giant' to sleep in the first round. 'The Monkey God' is now the new challenger to Joshua Pacio's strawweight belt.

In perhaps the most exciting 90 seconds in the ONE Championship Super Series, Liam 'The Hitman' Harrison and Muangthai PK.Saenchai put on the best fight of the night. Harrison survived two scary knockdowns to come back and knock Muangthai down three straight times, immediately handing him the TKO win.

The win was so amazing that ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong decided to give 'The Hitman' double ONE Championship bonuses, amounting to $100,000, and a title shot at champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao.

Also on the main card was a back-and-forth battle between Song Ming Jong and Chen Rui that ended with the Korean winning via rear-naked choke in the second round. In the opening bout of the main card, former Muay Thai fighter Danial 'Mini T' Williams won his fourth straight MMA fight by beating Namiki Kawahara via dominant unanimous decision.

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Edited by Aziel Karthak