Danielle Kelly entered her matchup against multiple-time world sambo champion and Russian national champion Mariia Molchanova with a prediction that she’d tap Molchanova in two minutes with “an extra minute, to be nice” – and sure enough, barely more than two minutes into their scrap at ONE on Prime Video 4, Kelly finished the four-time world sambo champion by rear-naked choke.
The Silver Fox jiu-jitsu ace took home $50,000 from CEO Chatri Sityodtong for that submission finish – the second performance bonus of her ONE career. It’s quite the feather in Kelly’s cap, especially after the clinic she put on a woman who’s previously won eight Russian national titles in sambo, and four world titles.
Kelly opened the action by pulling guard immediately on Molchanova, negating any takedown attempts from the sambo specialist. Despite attempts from Molchanova to break Kelly’s closed guard with a can opener, Kelly remained unfazed, climbing her way to the Russian’s back and sinking in a rear-naked choke. Molchanova attempted to defend by capturing Kelly’s wrist, prompting Kelly to crank on Molchanova’s face.
Even after Molchanova stood and slammed Kelly backwards against the cage, the sambo star was unable to shake the jiu-jitsu black belt off her back – and in fact, gave Kelly the space the American needed to bridge, squeeze her elbows together, and finish the choke.
“You know, I used to do sambo, so I had an idea that she’d do a can opener, or some really good leglock exchanges,” Kelly explained in her post-fight interview on the canvas. She tipped her cap to Molchanova, describing the Russian as “super strong.”
“I really wanted a submission when people doubted me,” said Kelly, referencing her ONE debut, when she failed to tap out MMA veteran Mei Yamaguchi despite a dominant win. As Kelly explained, she’s proud to show the world that she has the power to finish matches by submission – and to do so in spectacular fashion.
In the main event, lightweight king Christian Lee went to war against former welterweight champ Kiamrian Abbasov, who had previously lost his belt on the scale due to missing weight.
Despite getting wobbled hard near the end of the first round, Lee recovered in time to take Abbasov down, and finish the round in mount. For the next three rounds, the lightweight champ unleashed a flurry of big takedowns amidst striking exchanges that clearly exhausted Abbasov. After four grueling rounds, an almost equally exhausted Lee took the bigger man down one final time, passed guard into mount, and landed heavy ground-and-pound blows to claim a victory by technical knockout.
Lee’s dominant performance has earned him champ-champ status in the ONE Circle – along with a $50,000 bonus – as he officially begins his reign over two ONE Championship weight classes.
Main Card Results
Christian Lee def. Kiamrian Abbasov (TKO, round 4)
Rodtang Jitmuangnon def. Joseph Lasiri (unanimous decision)
Stephen Loman def. Bibiano Fernandes (unanimous decision)
Cosmo Alexandre def. Juan Cervantes (KO, round 2)
Kim Jae Woong def. Kevin Belingon (TKO, round 1)
Lead Card Results
Jonathan Haggerty def. Vladimir Kuzmin (majority decision)
Ruslan Emilbek Uulu def. Isi Fitikefu (split decision)
Danielle Kelly def. Mariia Molchanova (submission by RNC, 2:15)
Liam Nolan def. Eddie Abasolo (unanimous decision)