Fight 1: Takuma Wakabayashi (Japan) vs. Choi Yeong Gwang (South Korea)
Wakabayashi’s game plan was to repeat the strategy that proved so successful for him at Legend 1 and 2: take his opponent to the ground and seek a submission. However, it soon became clear that Choi’s takedown defense was a level above anything Wakabayashi had previously faced. The Korean successfully stuffed almost every takedown, punishing the Japanese grappler with powerful knees and elbows, and coming close to finishing the fight several times using his ruthless ground-and-pound. But Wakabayashi proved resilient, taking the fight the distance, and forcing Choi to earn his victory by judges’ decision.
Fight 2: Yohan Mulia Legowo (Indonesia) vs. Hardeep Singh (India)
What looked on paper to be one of the most exciting fights of the evening did not disappoint, as the more technical Legowo took on Singh’s aggressive, brawling style. As expected, Singh came out swinging, but Legowo showed that he wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the Indian, trading hard punches during the first few minutes, with both men connecting with numerous solid shots. However, once the fight went to the ground, Legowo showcased his Brazilian Jiujitsu skills, sinking in a tight triangle choke while pressed up against the turnbuckle, and earning Submission Of The Night Honors for his efforts.
Fight 3: Li Jingliang (China) vs. Andrei Liu (Chinese Taipei)
The two fighters’ ring entrances could not have been more different, with Li the flamboyant showman, and Liu the stoic warrior. However, once the opening bell sounded, it was clear that both men were there for a fight. After finding their range and landing some effective leg kicks, the men took the fight to the ground, where Liu’s Brazilian Jiujitsu pedigree seemed to be giving him a slight edge. The Taiwan native had locked in a tight triangle choke against Li, who attempted to dislodge his opponent by lifting him and slamming him to the canvas. The first two slams simply drove him deeper into Liu’s chokehold. However, the third slam clearly hurt Liu and dislodged Li from his grip, and the Chinese fighter followed up by raining a series of hammer-fists on the fallen Liu, forcing the referee to step in to stop the fight at 3:43 of the first round.
Fight 4: Yang Zhuo (China) vs. Kenny Yeung (Hong Kong)
After his disappointing loss at Legend 2, Hong Kong native Yeung was clearly on a mission to make a statement in his fight against China’s Yang. Yeung used his Wrestling skills to repeatedly take down his opponent, landing some heavy shots from inside Yang’s guard. However, Yang remained constantly active on his back, peppering Yeung with consistent short, sharp punches and elbows from the bottom. Those repeated blows ultimately paid dividends, opening up cuts on Yeung’s lip and brow. The fight appeared to be headed for a judges’ decision, when Yeung tried to pull guard and submit Yang with an arm-in guillotine in the third round. With both fighters sweaty and bloody from three rounds of action, Yang was able to slip out and take Yeung’s back, submitting him with a rear naked choke with less than a minute remaining in the final round.
Fight 5: Bayindalai (China) vs. Kevin Belingon (Philippines)
Prior to the bout, Chinese fighter Bayindalai expressed his intention to stamp the first loss onto Belingon’s undefeated record. However, the Filipino clearly had other ideas. After exchanging several heavy leg kicks in the opening minutes, Belingon took his Chinese opponent to the mat and began showcasing more of the brutal ground-and-pound that earned him Fight Of The Night honors at Legend 2. The Filipino used a beautifully executed spinning back-fist to pass into side control from a standing position. From there, he made quick work of taking his opponent’s back and tapping him out using a textbook rear naked choke with 34 seconds remaining in round 1.
Fight 6: Ning Guangyou (China) vs. Kwon A Sol (South Korea)
With a potential title shot riding on the outcome of this fight, Kwon chose to engage in a verbal war with his opponent before even arriving in Hong Kong, baiting Ning with derogatory comments about his training and his skills. Ning took all of Kwon’s insults in stride, waiting until he stepped into the ring to prove just what a mistake it would be to underestimate him. After spending the first few minutes finding their range, the fighters engaged in three full rounds of a stand-up war. Both fighters landed heavy shots, with Ning’s overhand left and Kwon’s right knee being their most devastating weapons. Kwon’s longer range and more disciplined, accurate striking proved to be the difference in this fight, but in spite of Kwon scoring two knockdowns, Ning’s iron jaw and excellent conditioning allowed him to recover quickly both times. Although Kwon ultimately took a unanimous decision victory, the contest earned Fight Of The Night honors for both men, with Kwon and Ning showing one another tremendous respect and camaraderie once the closing bell had sounded.
Murray and Kim both predicted an exciting contest, and their bout produced one of the most exciting fights of the evening. Only a few seconds into the fight, the Korean launched a flying knee attack, catching Murray by surprise and sending him crashing to the floor of the ring. Kim followed his opponent to the canvas with a series of powerful punches, forcing the referee to step in and call a stop to the bout only 22 seconds into the first round, with Kim walking away with both the TKO victory and Knockout Of The Night honors.
Kayoom and Bae are two of the best grapplers in the Asia-Pacific, and their match-up proved to be the most technical fight of the night. The Korean chose to stand with Kayoom at first, but the powerful kicks and elbows landed by the Malaysian quickly gave Bae reason to reconsider his strategy. After scoring a huge takedown, Bae went to work with some ground-and-pound, although Kayoom was able to evade the more powerful strikes and countered with several arm-bar and triangle choke attempts. The rest of the fight played out similarly: Bae used his double-leg takedowns to repeatedly take the fight to the mat and wore down Kayoom with punches and knees, while even on his back Kayoom was clearly dangerous, throwing hard elbows and repeatedly threatening to end the fight with a variety of submissions. In the end, with Bae on top and controlling the action for most of the fight, he edged out Kayoom with a judges’ decision.
Fight 9: Kelvin Fitial (Northern Marianas Islands) vs. Yang Hae Jun (South Korea)
The final fight of the evening proved to be the heavyweight slugfest that everyone expected it to be. From the opening bell, Fitial and Yang engaged in a stand-up war, throwing huge haymakers, most of which found their mark. Yang appeared to have the early advantage, rocking his opponent with a devastating flurry, but Fitial was able to recover and catch Yang with a few well-placed strikes of his own. The tide turned three minutes into the first round, when Fitial delivered a series of huge punches to Yang, and when the Korean grabbed the ropes and began staring off into the crowd mid-attack, referee Thomas Fan was forced to step in and end the fight at 3:16 of round 1.