Asia MMA Awards winners, results: One Championship’s Martin Nguyen, Road FC’s Ham Seo-hee crowned Fighters of the Year
One Championship and Road FC stars crowned best male and female fighters, while Hong Kong’s Alain ‘The Panther’ Ngalani wins best knockout
One Championship’s Martin Nguyen and Road Fighting Championship’s Ham Seo-hee have been crowned Male and Female Fighter of the Year respectively at the Asian MMA Awards in Hong Kong.
The duo picked up their gongs at Qube at PMQ in Soho on Friday night, during a ceremony organised by local MMA website The Fight Nation.
The 17 categories of awards covered MMA events across Asia – including One, Road FC and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) – from May 2017 to May 2018.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” lightweight and featherweight champion Nguyen said. “I’m so honoured to be here and to accept this award.
“At the start of 2017, when I signed a new contract with One Championship, I said to myself this is the year that I’ll be champion. I knew then it was now or never – and here I am.”
Nguyen scored a memorable win in his featherweight title rematch against Russia’s long-reigning champion Marat Gafurov via second-round KO with a brutal overhand right in August 2017.
The 29-year-old Vietnamese Australian from Sydney then stepped up a weight class to secure another stunning overhand right KO of featherweight titlist Eduard Folayang, of the Philippines, last November at One: Legends of the World in Manila. Nguyen made history by becoming the first two-division world champion in One Championship.
A tough split decision loss to Bibiano Fernandes in March snapped a six-fight win streak, but Nguyen avenged the defeat with a split decision win against Christian Lee in May.
Nguyen then fell just short in his bid to claim a third title, losing a decision to Kevin Belingon in July for the interim bantamweight championship.
“I’d like to thank One for being behind me and giving me the opportunities, and I’d like to thank my wife Brooke for always having my back,” said Nguyen, who trains out of Liverpool, New South Wales.
“My team are always pushing me in the right direction and when you have a great team around you, you can do anything.”
After four fights and three losses in the UFC women’s strawweight division, Female Fighter of the Year Ham returned to her home country of South Korea and her more natural weight class to win the inaugural Road FC atomweight title against Mina Kurobe last June.
Known as “Hamderlei Silva”, the 31-year-old cemented her status as one of Korea’s best with a vicious first-round knockout of Jinh Yu Frey last December.
“It has been a great 12 months for me and I am proud to be here among all these fighters,” Ham said. “I have a lot more to show the world and am ready to defend my title against anyone.”
Fight of the Year honours went to Moon Jae-hoon and Asakura Kai. Moon defeated Kai by KO at 4:23 of round three in a flyweight classic at Road FC 39 in Seoul in June 2017.
Knockout of the Year went to Hong Kong’s own Alain Ngalani, for his brutal 11-second KO of Hideki Sekine at One: Total Victory in September 2017.
Submission of the Year honours went to Kang Kyung-ho for his triangle submission over Guido Cannetti at UFC Fight Night 127.
Best Walkout: Kevin Belingon, One Championship
Photographer of the Year: David Ash
Best Technical Equipment: Venum
Amateur Fighter of the Year: Theebaan Govindasamy, MIMMA
Best Destination Gym: Tiger Muay Thai & MMA
Ring Girl of The Year: Red Dela Cruz, UFC
Event of the Year: UFC Shanghai – Bisping vs Gastelum
Most Functional Clothing Brand: Reebok
Rookie of the Year: Hwang In-su, Road FC
Gym of the Year: Team Lakay
Submission of the Year: Kang Kyung-Ho submits Guido Cannetti (triangle) – UFC Fight Night 127
Head Coach of The Year: George Hickman, Tiger Muay Thai & MMA
Knockout of the Year: Alain Ngalani KOs Hideki Sekine – One: Total Victory
The Fight Nation Readers’ Choice Award: Max Leali
Fight of the Year: Moon Jea-hoon vs Asakura Kai, Road FC
Male Fighter of the Year: Martin Nguyen, One Championship
Female Fighter of the Year: Ham Seo-hee, Road FC