Hanoi - Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat, SEA and World Games' Muay Thai gold medalist, survived a first-round scare to secure his second mixed martial arts (MMA) victory at the quarter-finals of Lion Championship 2022, Vietnam's first licensed MMA tournament.
|Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat struggles to stop Le Van Tuan locking in a rear naked choke in the first round of the Lion Championship MMA quarter-finals. Duy Nhat rallied in the second round, winning via knockout. Photo news.zing.vn |
Just 20 seconds into the first-round Nhat, 33, checked a low kick slightly too late and, off balance, was dropped to the mat by the right hand of Le Van Tuan, 28.
Sensing blood and the chance of an upset, Tuan jumped into full mount and unleashed a ground-and-pound flurry of fists and elbows. Nhat, having never found himself in this situation in a professional fight before, tried to struggle to his feet, taking a series of shots to the head for his troubles.
The referee Ngo Viet Phu kept a very close eye on Nhat and almost called the fight there and then, but after 20 seconds, Nhat found his footing. However, in doing so he gave up his back to Tuan, who dragged him back down.
Tuan began working for a rear naked choke, safe in the knowledge there were still more than four minutes left on the clock.
Duy Nhat, who only began training Brazillian Jiu Jitsu last year, worked hard to escape the body triangle that Tuan had him wrapped in.
With three and a half minutes left to go in the round, Tuan had Nhat flattened out on the mat, rear naked choke locked in deep.
Just as the ref looked ready to jump in, Nhat gave him a thumbs up, letting him know he was still conscious and fighting back, despite the strained look on his face.
Nhat managed to gain control of Tuan's right arm again, allowing Tuan's left arm to maintain pressure on his neck in return for not allowing the choke to be complete, giving the ref another thumbs up in the process.
With just over two minutes left on the clock, Nhat began reverse hammerfists to the face of Tuan, his first registered shots of the bout. Although lacking in power, they provided just enough wiggle room for him to trap Tuan's right arm under his elbow.
Realising the choke was lost, Tuan was forced to change tact with 30 seconds left in the round, transitioning back into full mount. Nhat showed great awareness to pin Tuan's right arm and reverse the mount, finishing the round on top of his opponent.
The two fighters exchanged kicks as the second round opened; Nhat going high and landing, Tuan going low and missing.
The first minute was cagey, but as the fighters closed the distance, Tuan whipped in a withering left hook. Nhat slipped to the side and countered with a thunderous cross that landed flush on Tuan's chin, sending him down in a heap.
A couple of viscous hammerfists later and Nhat was wheeling away in victory, having snatched the win from the jaws of defeat.
In the other quarter-final bouts, Pham Ba Hoi secured a second-round knockout of Pham Ngoc Canh in the 56kg class, while Trinh Xuan Anh got a first-round submission win over Do Phuc Hau in the 65kg class.
Xuân Anh's victory rounded off a great weekend for Vietnam Top Team, with victories for Bernard Tiffany (52kg, round two, standing guillotine submission), Pham Van Nam (56kg, decision), Nguyen Cat Tung (70kg, round two, rear naked choke submission), and Kamil Michael Nguyễn Văn (70kg, round one, knock out).
The semi-finals of Lion Championship 2022 return on October 22-23, while the finals will be held on Phu Quoc Island in January 2023.