Carrillo Knocks Out Saemapetch, Ruotolo’s Aggression Carries Him Over Chen At ONE Fight Night 23

Just hours following ONE Friday Fights 69 in Asia primetime, the world’s largest martial arts organization returned to Bangkok’s Lumpinee Stadium for ONE Fight Night 23: Ok vs. Rasulov in U.S. primetime on Friday, July 5.

The global fan base was treated to 11 captivating MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling matches, topped by a must-see ONE Interim Lightweight MMA World Title showdown.

Before all eyes turn to the main event, take a look at everything that went down on the ONE Fight Night 23 supporting card.

Carrillo Stops Saemapetch, Solidifies Top Contendership

Nico “King of the North” Carrillo strengthened his status as the next World Title challenger after taking out #4-ranked Saemapetch Fairtex in their bantamweight Muay Thai clash.

After a relatively slow start, a late scrap in the first round got the Scottish titan going. Carrillo, the top-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender, fired off a series of knees from the clinch that opened the floodgates. The Thai responded with a solid left hook in an effort to halt “King of the North’s” momentum, but the fire had been lit.

Feeling it now, Carrillo started letting his hands go more freely in the second stanza, and he got rewarded with two quick knockdowns as his left hook found a home on Saemapetch’s jaw. With the victory within reach, the Scot upped the pressure, and a straight right hand gave him his third knockdown of the stanza to put the Thai star away for good at the 2:03 mark of round two.

Carrillo’s TKO victory pushed his record to 27-3, earned him the only US$50,000 performance bonus of the night, and could lead him to a ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title shot. For now, he waits for the match between two-sport king Jonathan Haggerty and flyweight kickboxing ruler Superlek Kiatmoo9 at ONE 168: Denver on September 6.

Ruotolo Stays Undefeated In ONE With Decision Win Over Chen

In an intriguing 186-pound non-title submission grappling affair, reigning ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling World Champion Tye Ruotolo secured a hard-fought decision victory over 19-year-old prodigy Jozef Chen.

The two grapplers locked horns and battled for position on the feet through the contest’s opening few minutes, and eventually, Ruotolo scored a clean double-leg takedown. From there, the Californian relentlessly looked to pass guard, but the South African remained defensively sound while launching counter-attacks of his own.

In typical Ruotolo fashion, the 21-year-old kept his foot on the gas pedal in the match’s final minutes, earning the unanimous decision on the strength of his non-stop aggression.

With the win, the welterweight submission grappling kingpin now owns a career record of 28-9 and remains undefeated in ONE Championship.

Grishenko Outlasts Kang In Heavyweight Firefight

Former ONE World Title challenger Kirill Grishenko got right back on the winning track after a three-round slugfest with “Mighty Warrior” Kang Ji Won, extending his professional MMA record to 6-2.

The two heavyweights traded punches from start to finish, rarely diverging from their seemingly unspoken agreement to keep the fight standing.

Unfortunately for Kang, Grishenko’s attacks dinged and dented the South Korean’s brows and cheeks. Although he wore the damage with pride, “Mighty Warrior” failed to find his range and return the favor against the 6-foot-4 Belarusian juggernaut.

After 15 minutes of action, the 32-year-old Grishenko earned the unanimous decision victory and re-inserted himself into the upper echelon of one of the fastest-growing divisions in the world’s largest martial arts organization.

Kouyate Shocks Lessei In Muay Thai War

French striker Bampara “Bambi Firelek” Kouyate shocked the global fan base on Friday night, as he dispatched #5-ranked featherweight Muay Thai contender Luke “The Chef” Lessei late in their three-round battle.

Kouyate effectively fought from his back foot, tagging the aggressive Lessei with combinations and leg kicks each time the tough American came forward with his attacks. The Frenchman continued his mastery in the second, adding head kicks to his arsenal. Meanwhile, “The Chef” desperately tried to close the distance and turn it into a war from the phone booth.

Lessei got that chance in the final round, and for a moment, it looked like he might complete the comeback. A flurry of elbows and uppercuts got the American the first knockdown of the night, but it turned out to be his last stand.

Just seconds later, Kouyate caught “The Chef” with a sneaky right uppercut to shut off his lights at the 2:08 mark of the third and final stanza. The TKO win improved his record to 35-2.

Wada Overwhelms Xie In Strategic Three-Round Battle

Japanese standout Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada delivered a gritty veteran performance against explosive Chinese sensation “The Hunter” Xie Wei in the pair’s flyweight MMA showdown.

“The Hunter” came out guns blazing and scored a flash knockdown in the opening moments of the fight, but Wada would roar back in the second and third rounds with an ultra-aggressive clinch attack.

The 35-year-old poured on the offense from inside the clinch, hammering his foe with vicious elbow and knee strikes while mixing in some well-timed takedowns.

In the end, Wada earned a unanimous decision win. “The Sweeper,” who bagged his 26th career victory, now finds himself on a two-fight winning streak.

Black Panther Scorches Saldoev With Second-Round KO

Black Panther earned a degree of redemption against the Fight Club Archangel Michael camp when he handed Ali Saldoev the first loss of his professional career in their 139.25-pound catchweight Muay Thai contest.

The 24-year-old Thai star planted his Russian opponent onto the canvas twice in the opening stanza with nearly invincible left hooks.

But it’s what happened in the second frame that improved Black Panther’s all-striking record to 79-17 and earned him his 21st career knockout win. When Saldoev threw a looping left cross, the Thai pivoted into a high right kick. Black Panther’s shin ricocheted off his foe’s temple, the Russian’s head went sideways, and his body soon followed.

Saldoev was unable to make the count, and the referee waved off the action at the 23-second mark of round two. The Pattaya resident may have fallen to Tagir Khalilov in his promotional debut last year, but he got his revenge against the world-class team on Friday night.

Minowa Edges Out Miado, Snaps Losing Streak

Fourth-ranked strawweight MMA contender Hiroba Minowa survived an early onslaught from Filipino striker Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado to earn a crucial split-decision victory.

As promised, Miado defended the Japanese athlete’s takedown attempts and tagged him with solid combinations. A huge right midway through the first round dropped Minowa and a follow-up knee almost ended the night for him, but the 25-year-old was a tough nut to crack.

Minowa turned the tide in the second frame, as he showed more decisiveness with his takedowns. While Miado displayed a much-improved sprawl, there was nothing he could really do to thwart the Japanese warrior’s chain wrestling. It was apparent in the final stanza, as Minowa repeatedly brought the Filipino down to the mat and kept him there, scoring dominant positions from side control to mount.

After three rounds of action, two of the three ringside judges awarded Minowa with the win. The victory snapped the Japanese star’s three-fight skid and ensured that he’d remain in his spot in the strawweight MMA rankings.

Barboza Wins Three-Round Thriller With Aliff

In a thrilling 125.75-pound catchweight Muay Thai clash, “El Jefe” Ellis Badr Barboza gritted out a hard-fought decision win over Thai-Malaysian star Aliff Sor Dechapan.

The fight started at a blistering pace, with Aliff dominating much of the opening frame with his venomous long-range weapons.

However, in the second round, the Irish dynamo stormed back, pressured his foe into the corner, and dropped him to the canvas with a massive left hook. The Sor Dechapan athlete would fight back with fury in the final stanza, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to overcome Barboza’s pivotal knockdown.

After three high-paced rounds, the ringside judges awarded the split decision to “El Jefe.” With the razor-thin victory, Barboza improved his career record to 18-5 overall.

‘Reug Reug’ Makes Short Work Of Ketchup

“Reug Reug” Oumar Kane predicted he would knock out his Senegalese compatriot Boucher Ketchup in the first round of their heavyweight kickboxing showdown, and he lived up to his words.

From the opening bell, Ketchup was urgently looking for the KO. “Reug Reug,” however, decided to remain patient, and it paid off for him quickly.

Kane connected with a head kick and a right hook, leading to the first knockdown of the contest. Seconds later, he landed a big left hook and a booming right cross that wobbled his countryman, and then a final left hand put Ketchup on the mat for good at the 2:08 mark of the opening stanza.

Now, Kane will turn his attention back to the all-encompassing sport as he challenges three-division king Anatoly Malykhin for the Russian’s ONE Heavyweight MMA World Title at ONE 169: Atlanta on November 8.

Balyko Demolishes Korodi With Big Left Hooks

Russian striker Alexey Balyko started the show in highlight-reel fashion with an electrifying knockout over Ireland’s Stefan Korodi in their 151.5-pound catchweight Muay Thai tilt.

Both fighters were happy to trade leather at close range, but it was Balyko’s thunderous left hook that sent Korodi crashing to the canvas twice. The Russian’s first left hook put his foe down briefly, and moments later, his second hammering hook put the Irish scrapper down and out for the count.

The KO came at 2:42 of the first round, giving Balyko his 23rd career victory. It also marks the first time that Korodi has ever been finished.

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