The winners of the 2018 Global Martial Arts Awards were announced at the JW Marriott Hotel South Beach in Singapore on November 8, 2018. 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 “Landslide” Folayang, 34, of Baguio City, Philippines took home the Martial Arts Hero of the Year award.
A former ONE Lightweight World Champion. Folayang has long been considered the face of Philippine mixed martial arts. After bagging a pair of victories in 2018 against previously unbeaten Russian adversaries Kharun Atlangeriev and Aziz Pahrudinov, the Baguio City native is scheduled to face Amir Khan, 23, of Singapore in the main event of “ONE: Conquest of Champions” on November 23, 2018 for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship.
Folayang is training out of Team Lakay, which was named the Gym of the Year. Based in Baguio City, Team Lakay was founded by Mark Sangiao, who was named the Coach of the Year.
Team Lakay started off 2018 with zero world champions but now has three in ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon. Pacio won the Submission of the Year award for his modified keylock victory over Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit in July 2018, which is now known as the Passion Lock, a product of Team Lakay’s Baguio Jiu-Jitsu.
ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, 34, of Myanmar was named the Male Athlete of the Year. He has a massive following unlike any other in his home country of Myanmar.
Aung scored three exhilarating knockouts in 2018, including a sensational one-punch finish of Ken Hasegawa last June. The epic clash between him and Ken Hasegawa, 31, of Japan at “ONE: Spirit of a Warrior” on June 29, 2018 was hailed as Bout of the Year as the two 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, Aung and Hasegawa unloaded blistering combinations that pushed each other to the limit. In the final moments of the fifth round, the Burmese MMA superfighter managed to sneak in a thunderous uppercut to shut the lights off on his Japanese opponent.
Reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, 22, of Singapore won Female Athlete of the Year. She has a huge fan following all across the globe.
Lee is one of the youngest MMA world champions in history. She is now married to her fellow ONE Championship athlete Bruno “Puccibull” Pucci of Brazil.
Five-division Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao of Evolve MMA in Singapore took home the Muay Thai Athlete of the Year citation. He joined ONE Championship in early 2018 as a marquee talent for ONE Super Series and he has since posted exciting victories over Fabio Pinca and Mehdi Zatout.
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” in October 2018 to be crowned the new ONE Kickboxing Atomweight World Champion.
“ONE: Kingdom of Heroes,” which took place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on October 6, 2018 and garnered a record over 25 million viewers worldwide, 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.
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.
Lee Ji Na of Andong, South Korea won the Ring Girl of the Year award. A popular model based in 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, which brought her to the attention of ONE Championship.
Other awardees at the 2018 Global Martial Arts Awards were UFC fighter Brian Ortega, Rizin Fighting Championship athletes Andy “CrAsian” Nguyen and Tenshin Nasukawa and MMA Planet journalist Manabu Takashima. Here is the list of all the 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