November 8, 2018 – Singapore: ONE Championship won big at the 2018 Global Martial Arts Awards held on Thursday, 8 November at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach. The Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony saw the most prolific martial arts personalities all come together under one roof. A handful of ONE Championship athletes were bestowed prestigious recognition among many deserving awardees in the global martial arts industry.
Filipino superstar Eduard Folayang took home the Martial Arts Hero of the Year award. Folayang is the former ONE Lightweight World Champion and has long been considered the face of Philippine mixed martial arts. He bagged a pair of victories in 2018 against previously unbeaten Russian adversaries Kharun Atlangeriev and Aziz Pahrudinov. The 34-year-old native of Baguio City, Philippines is scheduled to face Singaporean sensation Amir Khan in the main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS on 23 November for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship.
ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang copped Male Athlete of the Year honors. Aung La N Sang is a superstar in Myanmar, and has a massive following unlike any other in his home country of Myanmar. Aung La N Sang scored three exhilarating knockouts in 2018, including a sensational one-punch finish of Ken Hasegawa last June.
Reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee won Female Athlete of the Year. The 22-year-old is one of the youngest mixed martial arts world champions in history, and has a huge fan following all across the globe. Her lone outing in 2018 is a successful defense of her atomweight title against Mei Yamaguchi this past May.
Five-division Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao of Evolve MMA in Singapore took home the Muay Thai Athlete of the Year citation. Nong-O joined ONE Championship in early 2018 as a marquee talent for ONE Super Series. The Muay Thai legend has since posted exciting victories over Fabio Pinca and Mehdi Zatout.
The epic clash between Aung La N Sang and Ken Hasegawa at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR last June was hailed as Bout of the Year. Both men figured in one of the most exciting bouts in ONE Championship history, and an extremely close championship encounter. Drawing loud cheers from the raucous crowd, the two warriors unloaded blistering combinations that pushed each other to the limit. In the final moments of the fifth round, Aung La N Sang managed to sneak in a thunderous uppercut to shut the lights off on Hasegawa.
Reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio bagged Submission of the Year honors with his modified keylock victory over Pongsiri Mitsatit in July. Pacio then fondly dubbed his submission maneuver “The Passion Lock”, a product of Team Lakay’s Baguio Jiu-Jitsu.
Lee Ji Na of Andong, South Korea won the Ring Girl of the Year award. Lee is a popular model based in the capital city of Seoul. She began her modeling career in spectacular fashion, famously winning a Maxim bikini contest and landing a spread in the world-renowned men’s magazine. This exposure brought her to the attention of ONE Championship, where today she is one of the promotion’s most recognizable ring girls.
ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES, which took place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on 6 October was named Event of the Year. The stacked card featured world-class boxing in ONE Championship for the very first time, as WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai successfully defended his title against Iran Diaz of Mexico. The event garnered a record over 25 million viewers worldwide.
Gym of the Year award was bestowed to the Baguio City, Philippines-based Team Lakay. Team Lakay started off 2018 with zero world champions, but now has three in ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio, ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio, and ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon.
ONE Championship veteran referee Olivier Coste was honored with the Referee of the Year award. Coste has been with the promotion from the very beginning, and has since led the officiating for ONE Championship.
Breakthrough Athlete of the Year honors went to Thailand’s Stamp Fairtex, a talent who emerged from Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series and recently joined ONE Super Series. Stamp defeated “Killer Bee” Kai Ting Chuang at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES this past October to be crowned the new ONE Kickboxing Atomweight World Champion.
2018 Global Martial Arts Awards Official Winners:
Martial Arts Hero of the Year: Eduard Folayang
Male Athlete of the Year: Aung La N Sang
Female Athlete of the Year: Angela Lee
Muay Thai Athlete of the Year: Nong-O Gaiyanghadao
Kickboxing Athlete of the Year: Tenshin Nasukawa
Bout of the Year: Aung La N Sang vs Ken Hasegawa
Knockout of the Year: Brian Ortega (KO of Frankie Edgar)
Submission of the Year: Joshua Pacio via “The Passion Lock”
Martial Arts Journalist of the Year: Manabu Takashima of MMA Planet
Ring Girl of the Year: Lee Ji Na
Event of the Year: ONE: Kingdom of Heroes
Walkout of the Year: Andy Nguyen
Gym of the Year: Team Lakay
Referee of the Year: Olivier Coste
Coach of the Year: Mark Sangiao
Breakthrough Athlete of the Year: Stamp Fairtex