Since Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes captured the ONE Bantamweight World Championship in 2012, six competitors have tried to take the title off his hands.
All six have failed. In the headlining title bout at ONE: KINGS AND CONQUEROR, a seventh name was added to the tally.
Fernandes stopped Bali MMA’s Andrew Leone via rear-naked choke in the opening stanza of what was to be a five-round affair. For the 27-year-old challenger, getting back into title contention after overcoming career threatening injuries was already a feat.
However, when the bell sounded, the Brazilian lived up to his moniker of “The Flash”, charging Leone with full aggression as the challenger struggled to keep up.
After Fernandes threw his opening strike, champion and challenger – both BJJ black belts – engaged in a battle for cage control. The five-time BJJ world champion and titleholder’s skill shone through, as he emphatically took control with a knee that floored Leone.
From there, it was the beginning of the end. When a series of right hands from dominant position failed to halt the bout, despite the champion’s request that the referee do just that, the BJJ specialist showed why he is one to be feared on the mat.
Fernandes quickly took Leone’s back, and with plenty of time left, locked up a rear-naked choke that force the challenger to tap at 1:47 of the very first round.
Following the match, Fernandes told commentator Mitch Chilson in his post-fight cage interview that it does not matter who challenges him next.
“Whoever they want me to fight, I will accept,” the 37-year-old says. “That’s who I am.”
“The Flash” extends his remarkable record to 21-3, defends his crown for the seventh time, and remains unbeaten since December 2010. As for Leone, he drops to 8-3, and will regroup before making his next move.