ONE Championship’s booking on TNT has been nothing short of stellar so far, minus a few hiccups. Both the first and the second events saw massive ratings, and the rest of the four-fight series should be no different.
For those of you not familiar with ONE Championship, it is one of the premier MMA organizations, based out of Singapore. They feature mixed martial arts events, as well as kickboxing and Muay Thai, making them the perfect one stop shop for combat sports fans. In addition to this, ONE does not permit cutting weight, boosting weight divisions by ~10 pounds and testing athletes for water content in their bodies.
Our main event this week pits new ONE arrival John Lineker against the rising Troy Aikman in a Bantamweight clash that may very well determine a title challenger for Bibiano Fernandes.
John Lineker vs. Troy Worthen (145 lb. MMA)
Reece McLaren vs. Yuya Wakamatsu (135 lb. MMA)
Nieky Holzken vs. John Wayne Parr (178 lb. Muay Thai)
Marat Gafurov vs. Ok Rae Yoon (170 lb. MMA)
Ryuto Sawada vs. Miao Li Tao (125 lb. MMA)
John Lineker vs. Troy Worthen (BW)
John Lineker (33-9, 2-0 ONE) came over to ONE Championship after being cut by the UFC due to multiple weight misses. When in the Octagon, Lineker was always a top competitor, only dropping close decisions to Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw in his Bantamweight tenure. He has had similar success in ONE, earning two victories including a knockout over Kevin Belingon.
“Hands of Stone” gets his name from his brutal power and elite boxing, using volume, cardio, and those killer hands to pound his opponent to victory. While Lineker is by no means lost on the ground, he does have the most skill in his striking and he would do best to keep it there again in this match.
The 5’3 frame of Lineker is worrying at first glance, but closer examination shows that Lineker has a proven skill in closing the pocket and opening up with his boxing, scoring fifteen knockouts in his career.
A decision defeat in his last outing put a dampener on Troy Worthen’s (7-1, 4-1 ONE) road to the championship, but he will look to regain the dominant footing that saw him in the title picture to begin with. Prior to that defeat, he won four straight in the promotion, including two knockout finishes.
Worthen holds four stoppages to his name, with three of those coming in by way of knockout.
He does most of his work through his high-level wrestling. Worthen was an NCWA All-American and is currently a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, presenting a serious threat whenever on the mat. Though he will threaten submissions, he certainly favors position and seeks to rack up control time and do damage with his ground and pound.
The result of this fight primarily comes down to how often Worthen can drag Lineker to the mat and keep him there. While Worthen is certainly well-rounded and has his own standup skills, he is woefully out done by both the power and work rate of Lineker. Lineker does not have the most impenetrable takedown defense and Worthen should be able to make his grappling a threat, but if he cannot hold Lineker down he is in for a wild ride on the feet. That is one of Lineker’s best skills however, as he is often able to quickly regain his footing. I see Lineker putting on an onslaught of violence on the feet for a late knockout.
My Pick: John Lineker via Knockout
Reece McLaren vs. Yuya Wakamatsu (FLW)
After a 7-3 record on the Australian regional scene, Reece McLaren (14-7, 7-4 ONE) made his way to ONE Championship. He has made a name for himself with his blood and guts performances and dangerous finishing ability. He earned a title shot opposite Bibiano Fernandes, and gave the Pound-for-Pound great all he could handle en route to a split decision loss.
“Lightning” has eleven wins before the final bell, including eight by submission. His last bout in ONE opposite Aleksi Toivonen saw him score a first round knockout with a brutal knee to the body.
McLaren is a true mixed martial artist and is a threat in all avenues the fight may go. He has crisp Muay Thai with violent kicks and knees, though his boxing defense can be a little lackluster. On the mat, he is a killer with a penchant for D’arce chokes and arm triangles, threatening from his back and top position.
Yuya Makamatsu (13-4, 3-2 ONE) spend the majority of his early career in Pancrase, netting nine knockout wins en route to Singapore and ONE Championship. Though he dropped his first two bouts, including a submission loss to Demetrious Johnson, he has since gone on a three fight tear with two first round KOs.
“Little Piranha” does his best work with his boxing, using quick hand speed and a furious pacing that sees most of his fights end within the first round. He has won all but two of his MMA bouts by knockout with seven inside the first five minutes.
Though he is not much of an offensive grappler, he has remarkable takedown defense and quick transitions, mainly using these to keep the match on the feet. He has takedown skills in his back pocket, but with the majority of his losses by submission, he is better suited to a firefight on the feet.
These competitors are perfectly matched for an all-out scrap. Both fighters bring a heavy pace and serious finishing threat in all their bouts. Makamatsu has a clear edge in the standup, with the precise boxing to take advantage of the defensive holes in McLaren’s game. That said, Makamatsu is weakest on the floor, and McLaren figures to hold a clear advantage if able to ground his Japanese opponent. In short, I think the first-round onslaught of Makamatsu will be too much to handle and put McLaren out early, as he has been stopped by knockout before.
My Pick: Yuya Makamatsu via Knockout
The lead card is absolutely stacked and I want to highlight two of those bouts before I let you go. Firstly, the Lightweight bout between Marat Gafurov and Ok Rae Yoon is sure to be a barn burner, but it holds title implications in the balance. The winner has been slated to fight Eddie Alvarez at next week’s ONE on TNT 4 card, which will likely determine the next title challenger to Christian Lee’s title.
Furthermore, the featured prelim is a Muay Thai bout between two legends of kickboxing and Muay Thai. John Wayne Parr is hailed by many as the great Muay Thai practitioner of all time and he will make his first appearance in the ONE cage here. he will take on Nieky Holzken, a furious striker with knockout power and a never-say-die style. It is sure to be a striker’s delight!
This card is sure to be a fun one, so make sure not to miss out! The main card broadcast begins at 10 PM Eastern time and you DO NOT want to miss the Bantamweight scrap fest in the main event!
Categories: ONE Championship
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