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Koji Oishi retains featherweight title with 3rd round KO

Koji Oishi (right) knocked out Honorio Banario in the third round
Koji Oishi (right) knocked out Honorio Banario in the third round

MANILA (TR) – Japan’s Koji Oishi retained his mixed martial arts featherweight belt on Friday with a third-round knock out of Honorio Banario in the main event at the ONE FC (Fighting Championship) “Moment of Truth” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“I was given the opportunity, and I took it,” the 36-year-old Oishi said after the fight.

A quick right by Oishi dropped Banario, a native of the Philippines, in that decisive round. The champion then pounced on his opponent to seal the victory at the 1:43 mark.

The pair had previously squared off on May 31 at the same venue. Oishi put the then champion away early in the second round.

The rematch began tentatively, with the fighters hardly touching one another in the opening round. But Oishi swung the momentum in his direction in the second round by landing several significant blows and knocking Banario on his back.

“I just wanted to run through my strategy,” he said, “and look for a good chance to knock him out.”

For Banario, the loss was disappointing. He had said before the fight that he would not be on the receiving end of a knock out. “[I see it now as] a challenge for me to train harder,” the former champion said.

Oishi was pleased to have returned to the Philippines to defend his title.

“The first time, Banario gave me an opportunity to challenge him,” he said. “So likewise I had to do the same.”

Oishi, who made his MMA debut in 2001, raised his record to 25-9-10.