Filipino-American fighter Brandon “The Truth” Vera turned his pre-fight disappointment into a spectacular 26-second finish of his replacement opponent Paul Cheng of Taiwan, to grab the inaugural heavyweight championship belt of the ONE Championship mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion’s “Spirit of Champions” event last December 11, 2015 at Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City. Vera, who strongly expressed his disgust over the no-show of original opponent Chi Lewis-Parry, unleashed a strong performance come fight night.
The MMA veteran hit Cheng with a solid counter left hook that momentarily dropped his game adversary to his knees, then immediately followed it with a head kick that felled his foe supine on the canvas, and quickly finished the fight with hammer fists that forced the referee stoppage.
Hometown bet Eugene Toquero likewise scored a stoppage in his flyweight match versus Li Wei Bin of China. Toquero battered Li with punches and knees to the head throughout the first and second rounds, forcing the latter’s corner to surrender during the break prior to the third and final round. This concession resulted to a technical knockout victory for the local fighter.
The three other Filipino fighters in the card were not as fortunate, however. Anna “Hurricane” Julaton was edged by Russia’s Irina Mazepa, who showed superior striking and takedown defense in eking out a unanimous decision win after three rounds. Mark “Mugen” Striegl submitted to Australia’s Reece “Lightning” McLaren, who caught him with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their bantamweight contest. And, flyweight Ruel Catalan likewise suffered a submission loss, tapping to a knee bar successfully executed by Brazil’s Alex Silva.