“The Lion City” roared on Wednesday, 14 April, as fans were treated to another memorable display of the world’s greatest martial artists at “ONE on TNT II.”
A ONE World Champion added to his legacy, a ONE Kickboxing World Champion furthered her cause for two-sport glory, and three other matches entertained on the lead card.
As the confetti gets swept away, let’s sit and reflect on all that transpired inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium – and what it means for the future. Here are four key takeaways from another edition of ONE’s historic 2021 campaign.
#1 “The Warrior” Is Ready For A Super-Fight
Since claiming the ONE Lightweight World Championship in 2019, Christian “The Warrior” Lee has been nothing short of spectacular. He showcased his dominance once again with a first-round knockout of #3-ranked contender Timofey Nastyukhin in the main event of “ONE on TNT II.”
The Hawaii-based Singaporean has now defeated four of the current top-five ranked lightweight contenders, so what’s next? In Lee’s own words, a step outside of ONE’s lightweight division could be in order.
In December 2019, the lightweight titleholder hinted at an urge to return to featherweight. And earlier this year, newly crowned ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le expressed interest in meeting the United MMA star.
But these days, it seems “The Warrior” is more likely to go in the other direction and challenge Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov for the ONE Welterweight World Title. He’s mentioned that goal in the past, and he reiterated it once again after beating Nastyukhin.
At just 22 years old, Lee has taken firm control of ONE’s lightweight division. With no clear contender ready to challenge for his gold, this could be the perfect time to pursue a marquee World Champion vs. World Champion showcase as he works toward an indelible legacy.
#2 The World Is Janet Todd’s Oyster
The cerebral Janet “JT” Todd picked up a third-round TKO over #3-ranked atomweight Muay Thai contender Anne “Ninjaline” Line Hogstad to continue her rise as the sharpest atomweight striker on the planet and open the door to a world of possibilities.
The ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion is still in pursuit of two-sport gold and has her eyes on the division’s Muay Thai belt. A meeting with reigning queen Allycia Hellen Rodrigues could be in the cards for later this year, but for now, the Brazilian is sidelined on maternity leave.
Of course, Todd is not short on alternate ideas.
In her post-fight interview at “ONE on TNT II,” she floated the notion of a trilogy match with Stamp Fairtex for a ONE Interim Atomweight Muay Thai World Title and even pitched an eight-woman ONE Super Series tournament to ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
“JT” does not want to leave any doubt when it comes to the best atomweight striker in the world, and after another emphatic victory, she has plenty of potential avenues in which to make her case.
#3 Wang Finds Redemption In Return To ONE
When Wang made his ONE debut in 2015, it was his first professional mixed martial arts bout. And after dropping a unanimous decision, he spent years honing his craft and working his way back to The Home Of Martial Arts.
He certainly made the return fight count.
As Kim attempted to land a left hook on Wednesday night, “Little Whirlwind” found the mark with a crushing elbow that put the South Korean on the mat. After a couple of follow-up punches on the ground, the match was called, and Wang’s triumphant reintroduction was in the books.
With his golden opportunity to rejoin ONE Championship, the Chinese athlete showed the global fan base that he’s an entirely different martial artist and deserves his spot among the world’s best athletes.
#4 Kamikubo Is A Top-Five Bantamweight
It seems Shuya “Stealth” Kamikubo is aptly nicknamed, as the Japanese martial artist has been making a quiet run up the bantamweight ranks. After his latest fight, it’s time he gets his recognition.
The TRY H Studio and Itadaki Jiu-Jitsu-trained athlete entered “ONE on TNT II” with a perfect 4-0 record in The Home Of Martial Arts. He improved on that mark with a second-round rear-naked choke submission over promotional newcomer Mitchell “Mama’s Boy” Chamale.
With that, the next matchup for the Japanese grappler should come against one of the men ranked inside the top five of ONE’s bantamweight ranks.
“Stealth” can no longer sneak up on anyone in this division. His string of strong performances has undoubtedly grabbed the interest of other top contenders, and it’s time for one of them to face the rising star inside the Circle.