Earlier this year, ONE Championship announced a deal that would see Shooto champions automatically awarded contracts. Shoko Sato was a beneficially of this arrangement and he scored a second round stoppage win over Mark Abelardo on his promotional debut in Bangkok on Friday.
Sato entered ONE: Warriors of Light at the Impact Arena as the reigning Shooto bantamweight champion. His bout with Abelardo had all the makings of a title eliminator and there was little to choose between the two men in the opening five minutes.
Abelardo landed a few leg kicks at the start of the fight while Sato was content to circle out and attack in bursts. He did succeed in sweeping the New Zealander following a clinch against the cage but couldn’t keep him down for more than a few seconds.
The fight changed completely when Sato shot for a double leg takedown early in the second stanza. With Ableardo on his back, the Japanese veteran tried to transition from guard to half guard and when that didn’t work he elected to posture up and throw bombs.
Abelardo was in defensive mode, but didn’t seem badly hurt. The referee decided to dive in and stop Sato throwing any more punches and, while the New Zealander was unhappy with the stoppage, had the fight continued a couple of seconds longer the outcome would almost certainly have been the same.
With the win Sato improves 32-16-3. He has done Shooto proud on the international stage and could be set for an immediate title shot. Meanwhile Abelardo drops to 18-6 after suffering his first defeat in ONE Championship or ONE Super Series action.
Earlier in the evening Pongsiri Mitsatit (10-2) scored the biggest win of his career to date at the expense of Robin Catalan (8-6). The Thai survived an early scare when he had to escape a leg lock but went on to dominate the wushu specialist in the clinch.
Pongsiri landed three hard knees to the midsection, one of which glances the cup and Catalan was given time to recover. But the Muay Thai veteran had found a way to win and attacked relentlessly with knees from the clinch, eventually folding the Filipino in half with the end coming at the 3:05 mark.
The contest between Adrian Pang (23-13-2) and Kazuki Tokudome (19-10-1) came to a premature end at 1:27 of round 2. The Australian had suffered a bad cut earlier in the fight, it worsened after the Japanese fighter took him down and attacked with ground and pound causing the doctor to call off the contest.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) May 10, 2019
ONE: Warriors of Light Results
Friday, May 10, 2019
- Shoko Sato def. Mark Fairtex Abelardo via TKO at 1:58 of round two
- Muay Thai: Rodtang Jitmuangnon def. Sok Thy via KO at 1:36 of round 2
- Pongsiri Mitsatit def. Robin Catalan via KO at 3:05 of round 1
- Kickboxing: Zhang Chenglong def. Panicos Yusuf via Decision (Unanimous)
- Kazuki Tokudome def. Adrian Pang via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 1:27 of Round 2
- Muay Thai: Savvas Michael def. Singtongnoi Por Telakun via Decision (Unanimous)
- Muay Thai: Superlek Kiatmoo9 def. Rui Botelho via Decision (Unanimous)
- Pieter Buist def. Kota Shimoishi via KO at 3:55 of round 2
- Kickboxing: Janet Todd def. Wang Chin Long via TKO at 2:59 of round 2
- Hexigetu def. Ovais Shah via Decision (Unanimous)
ONE: Warriors of Light Preliminary Bout Highlights
(Courtesy of ONE Championship)