ONE Championship’s “ONE on TNT” event series on American prime time has been entertaining to watch. And with three exciting shows in the rear-view mirror, it’s clear the promotion is intent on offering a unique experience to martial arts fans in the United States.
Next, “ONE on TNT IV” is set to deliver another incredible night of action. The series finale, which will broadcast live this Wednesday, April 28, is stacked from top to bottom with compelling matchups.
If you call yourself a true martial arts fan, you won’t want to miss the action. Here are five reasons why you should definitely check out “ONE on TNT IV.”
1) ONE’s Underrated Roster
It’s become abundantly clear that ONE Championship’s elite roster has been wildly underestimated. The promotion’s list of more than 500 fighters, including World Champions from various disciplines, is truly full of killers.
That fact became even more clear in the main event of “ONE on TNT I,” where Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson – arguably the greatest mixed martial artist in history – got finished for the first time in his career. And a handful of other former UFC fighters have had a tough time in the Singapore-based promotion.
In fact, four of six athletes who’ve joined ONE from the UFC since 2018 have struggled. More than 63 percent of former UFC fighters have lost by stoppage, and 75 percent of them have lost at least once overall.
This includes Timofey Nastyukhin’s first-round destruction of Eddie Alvarez in 2019, Cosmo Alexandre’s one-hitter-quitter against Sage Northcutt in the same year, and setbacks for both Yushin “Thunder” Okami and Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama.
2) Aung La N Sang’s Shot At Redemption
One of the biggest storylines of “ONE on TNT IV” is centered around the main event. Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang will put his ONE Light Heavyweight World Title on the line, but his defense will come against a new opponent after original foe Vitaly Bigdash was forced off the card due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
The new foe is none other than reigning ONE Middleweight World Champion “The Dutch Knight” Reinier De Ridder, who took the belt from Aung La in October. Heading into that fight, De Ridder vowed to choke out “The Burmese Python” – and that’s exactly what he did in the Circle.
Not much is on the line for De Ridder in this one. He’s coming into this fight with nothing to lose and everything to gain, which speaks volumes about Aung La. It’s certainly risky to put your only remaining World Title on the line against a guy who just beat you.
At the same time, the Myanmar icon will be looking to redeem himself, retain his belt, and potentially earn a World Championship rematch at middleweight. Expect high drama and great action when these two throw down.
3) Eddie Alvarez Will Be Unleashed
After a disappointing night in Alvarez’s “ONE on TNT I” appearance, he’s jumping right back into the Circle. This time, the American superstar will take on long and rangy South Korean Ok Rae Yoon, who became the #5-ranked lightweight contender with a victory over former ONE World Champion Marat Gafurov.
In his last fight, Alvarez was disqualified against #2-ranked lightweight contender Iuri Lapicus for landing illegal shots to the back of the head. While that decision was later overturned to a no contest, it still cost the American his chance to earn a World Title shot.
However, a victory over Ok would thrust “The Underground King” back into contention. And if he wins impressively enough, he might just get the title opportunity next.
4) Hydrated Fighters
ONE Championship doesn’t allow their fighters to cut weight by dehydration in order to meet the stipulated limit. Instead, athletes compete closer to their “walk around” weight and eliminate all elements of dehydration for their weigh-ins.
This means the use of nylon suits, saunas, and other methods of cutting water weight are not allowed. Not only do fighters have to weigh in under the limit, but they also have to pass hydration tests to ensure this policy is well-enforced.
This policy has allowed fighters to be at full strength rather than weight-drained by the time they enter the Circle. The result is more exciting fights that often produce more exciting finishes.
It’s a wonder why no other mixed martial arts promotion has adopted this system.
5) Pure Entertainment
Above all, the “ONE on TNT” series has proven that there is more to martial arts than just MMA. Fans have witnessed some incredible Muay Thai and kickboxing bouts unfold in the Circle.
Whether it was Rodtang’s fiery American prime-time debut, striking legends John Wayne Parr and Nieky Holzken trading blows in 4-ounce MMA gloves, or Janet Todd scoring a brilliant body shot knockout in Muay Thai, it’s been amazing to witness the diversity of martial arts disciplines on display in ONE.
And there’s more to come.
At “ONE on TNT IV,” rising star Jackie Buntan will see action against Muay Thai’s “Barbie,” former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang will showcase his wushu skills against arguably the best pure grappler in MMA, Shinya Aoki, and heavyweight sensation Oumar “Reug Reug” Kane will put his Senegalese wrestling power on display.
Needless to say, “ONE on TNT IV” offers an exciting mix of martial arts – and it’s not to be missed.