Fight Sport Asia’s 2014 MMA Awards: Breakout Fighter of the Year

2014 Breakout Fighter of the Year

 

Winner: Adriano Moraes (12-1)

With an upset win to begin the year, Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes proved he was one of the best flyweights in Asia.  Mikinho snatched the neck of the unsuspecting Yasuhiro Urushitani, eliciting the tap from the UFC veteran in the second round of their bout at ONE FC 14.  Moraes would face 2010 Shooto Rookie Champ Kosuke “Rambo” Suzuki at ONE FC 17 in Singapore.  The 25-year-old Brazilian would go on to finish Suzuki, locking on an arm triangle choke in the third round after a back and forth affair.  Moraes would cap off his 2014 with a submission win over Team Lakay’s Geje Eustaquio.  Adriano would jump on a guillotine choke against the cage.  Geje fought tough to try and escape the choke, but Moraes wouldn’t relent, putting everything he had into the submission attempt.  The tapout signaled the crowning of the inaugural ONE FC Flyweight Champion, Adriano Moraes.

 

 

Runner-up: Yoon Jun Lee (8-2)

26-year-old South Korean, Yoon Jun Lee, didn’t exactly break out in 2014, he began his current six fight win streak in 2013.  After a failed attempt to win the ROAD FC 11 Bantamweight GP, many did not expect Yoon Jun Lee to beat DEEP’s two division champion (bantamweight and featherweight), Takafumi Otsuka.  A win over an Japanese MMA veteran, Makoto Kamaya, to finish out 2013 would just be the beginning for Yoon Jun Lee.  A brutal knockout to start off 2014 at ROAD FC Korea 001 would be followed by another decision win over a Japanese MMA veteran, Kosuke “CORO” Terashima.  Yoon Jun Lee would extend his winning streak to five with a brutal left body kick that put an end to Thiago Silva’s night.  The South Korean fought Gil Woo Lee for the ROAD FC Bantamweight title just over a month ago.  A varied striking assault led to the first round knockout and title win for Yoon Jun Lee.  A series of hard knees from inside the clinch and a right head kick did the damage, finishing the fight just under four minutes in.  Yoon Jun Lee will be a fighter to keep an eye on in 2015.

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Courtesy of Pancrase; Kento Kambe wins at Pancrase 261

 

Kento Kambe (7-0)

One of Japan’s rising prospects, Kambe was named Pancrase’s 2014 Neo Blood MVP at just 17-years-old, the youngest fighter to earn that award in it’s 20 year history.  Former winner’s of the Neo Blood tournaments are Yuki Kondo, Ikuhisa Minowa and Evan Tanner.  Kento Kambe went 3-0 in 2014, winning two of the three fights by first round submission.  Kambe is scheduled to face Shooto veteran Yusei Shimokawa at Pancrase 264 on January 31st.  At just 18-years-old and with an aggressive finishing style, Kambe will be a fighter to watch for years to come.

Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (4-0)

Dejdamrong made his MMA debut just as 2014 was reaching the half way point, a debut following a muay thai career that featured over 300 fights.  The 36-year-old is making a late start in the sport, but he didn’t wait long to make an impression, blasting Jomanz Omanz with relentless ground and pound featuring knees to the head and soccer kicks.  Dejdamrong vowed to show his newly found submission game from Evolve MMA, he did just that at ONE FC 19 and ONE FC 21, finishing Ali Yaakub with a rear naked choke and Saiful Merican with a straight armbar.  Three wins to begin his MMA career wasn’t enough, a fight at ONE FC 23 ended badly for another opponent.  Dejdamrong would land a crippling left knee to the body that put Rene Catalan clenching his chest on the floor of the cage.  This fast rising star is not your typical prospect, looking for a step up in competition at the end of another entire sporting career.  Dejdamrong’s aggressive style makes for exciting fights to watch and one more thing we can look forward to in 2015.

Alex Volkanovski (9-1)

One of Australia’s hottest prospects, Alex “The Hulk” Volkanovski, went undefeated in 2014, winning four of his five fights before the final bell.  Volkanovski put together an impressive resume of wins, defeating Greg Atzori for the Roshambo MMA Lightweight Title, submitting Jai Bradney and out grappling Kyle Reyes at PXC 45.  Vokanovski’s best win of the year however, a knockout win over DREAM veteran Rodolfo Marques Diniz.  Volkanovski will look to continue his six fight winning streak and prove he is one of the best fighters under 170lbs in Australia.

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Categories: Asian MMA, Featured, Japan, MMA, ONE FC

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