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Japan’s Yoshitaka Naito takes strawweight championship at ‘Grit and Glory’ in Jakarta

Yoshitaka Naito
Japan’s Yoshitaka Naito (right) lands a punch to the head of Alex Silva of Brazil during the One Championship “Grit and Glory” headline bout in Jakarta on May 12

INDONESIA (TR) – Japan’s Yoshitaka Naito narrowly topped Alex Silva of Brazil to capture the One Championship mixed martial arts Strawweight World Championship in Jakarta on May 12.

In a razor-thin split decision, Naito took the title as a capacity crowd looked on at the Jakarta Convention Center. For the Japanese fighter, it is his second time as strawweight champ.

During the fight, Naito showcased his overwhelming wrestling skills to consistently bring Silva down to the ground, controlling the action on the canvas. Both men flaunted their delicate expertise on the mat in what was a technical grappling display as both fighters battled for leverage.

Silva defended well against Naito’s attacks by resorting to his world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu pedigree, but it was not enough to earn him the win as his Japanese foe’s grappling proved too much to overcome.

With the drive to recapture the title that he lost to Silva in December of last year, Naito punctuated the final round in dominant position to emerge the victor on two of the three judges’ scorecards, earning him the split decision win.

Next up Singapore

Similar fireworks are expected in Singapore on May 18 when another Japanese fighter, Mei Yamaguchi, will battle for the Women’s Atomweight World Championship title against Angela Lee at One Championship’s “Unstoppable Dreams” at Singapore Indoor Stadium. The fight is a chance for redemption for Yamaguchi, who lost to Lee in May of 2016.

“Two years ago, Angela and myself put on a tremendous show for fans in Singapore, and we’re ready to do it again,” said Yamaguchi during a press conference on Monday. “I respect Angela as an athlete and as a person, but I’m ready to give this bout my all. I am not the same martial artist as I was two years ago. I’ve made some key improvements to my game and I am excited to show everyone what I have worked so hard for.”