5 Big Takeaways From ONE Fight Night 21: Eersel Vs. Nicolas

Regian Eersel Alexis Nicolas ONE Fight Night 21 22

On a night of endless combat sports entertainment, a new dawn in the lightweight kickboxing division rose on April 5 at ONE Fight Night 21: Eersel vs. Nicolas on Prime Video.

Ten bouts featured elite martial artists across four different disciplines, and the athletes made the most of the spotlight to make strong impressions on the global viewing audience.

Here are five of the biggest takeaways from another electric event at the historic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Alexis Nicolas Proves Regian Eersel Is ‘Mortal’

Alexis “Barboza” Nicolas was supposed to be just another mark on Regian “The Immortal” Eersel’s resume. But despite his underdog status, the 25-year-old forced the world’s eyes open with a remarkable upset of the longtime ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion.

“The Immortal” attempted his trademark forward pressure that had broken so many previous opponents, but Nicolas fired back to show he would not wilt under the pressure.

In the second round, an overhand right stunned the defending king and briefly put him on the canvas for the lone knockdown of the bout. And once the unanimous decision was read, Nicolas was rewarded with the gold while extending his flawless professional record to 24-0.

It was a result that showed Eersel was human after an eight-year unbeaten run. A sigh of relief was felt from the rest of the division, and an invigorated crop of contenders will now begin to target their shot at the 25-year-old newly crowned World Champion.

Ruotolo Brothers Debut New Submission, Eye Different Futures

The Ruotolos utilized their twin brain for almost identical finishes in their respective submission grappling bouts inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

First up was ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade Ruotolo, competing in a 180-pound catchweight matchup against Francisco Lo. After a scramble saw him take Lo’s back, the 21-year-old unveiled a modified arm-in choke – dubbed the “Ruotolotine” – at the 4:48 mark for the win.

In the co-main event, Tye Ruotolo successfully defended the ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling World Title against Izaak Michell with the same exact finish at nearly the same time. Although Michell had Ruotolo’s back briefly, a swift reversal would soon seal his fate.

In addition to the win, Tye one-upped Kade in their ongoing sibling rivalry by securing the choke five seconds quicker at 4:43 of the 10-minute bout.

As twins, there will always be similarities for the Ruotolos. This was evident in Bangkok with their mirror-esque finishes.

However, as Tye looks to challenge every Herculean grappler on the planet and Kade sets forth to embark on his MMA journey at ONE 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga on Prime Video on June 7, their paths to greatness will soon begin to diverge.

The ‘Vanilla Thunder’ Storm Continues To Grow

The heavyweight MMA division may have another superstar in its midst. Ben “Vanilla Thunder” Tynan backed up his talk with a first-round TKO of Duke Didier to build upon his dominant debut against Kang Ji Won.

Wearing jorts-designed trunks that speak to his self-deprecating humor, the Canadian sensation continued to shine brightly in and out of the ring.

Tynan has the rare combination of elite skills and charisma to connect with audiences around the world. His engaging personality draws fans like moths to a flame, burning brightly on a global platform.

Plus, “Vanilla Thunder” has captured the attention of ONE Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, and Middleweight MMA World Champion Anatoly Malykhin, who told onfec.com afterward:

“I’m happy there are guys who are not only good in the ring but also develop their own style outside of it. They definitely bring something unique.”

Now with a 6-0 MMA record, Tynan continued his part to stardom with another stellar performance in Bangkok.

Puric Takes Giant Step Toward Dream Fight With Rodtang

Denis Puric used skill and savvy to notch a unanimous decision win over Jacob Smith in their flyweight Muay Thai showdown. It is a result that will push him one step closer to his dream match.

Although Smith poured on the aggression, Puric’s slick counter shots dropped his British counterpart twice in their three-round affair to set him apart from the #2-ranked contender.

With his statement victory, “The Bosnian Menace” will unquestionably be elevated into the official ONE athlete rankings. Once he has a number beside his name, he’ll be within striking distance of longtime ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion “The Iron Man” Rodtang Jitmuangnon.

The Team CSK representative has been clamoring for a chance to compete against Rodtang since arriving on the global stage. While it’s still a dream at this stage, it’s closer than ever to becoming a reality.

Tetsuka Is A True Threat To The Welterweight MMA Throne

Following his victory at ONE Fight Night 19, Hiroyuki Tetsuka emerged as a legitimate threat for the ONE Welterweight MMA World Championship.

After ONE Fight Night 21, there is no doubt that he belongs in the conversation.

In the chase to challenge reigning king Christian Lee, athletes know they must come to impress. “Japanese Beast” not only secured his fifth straight win on Friday – but also his fifth straight finish with a second-round submission of Valmir Da Silva.

It’s a streak no other welterweight in the division can match right now. The 34-year-old’s position as a World Title hopeful is no longer cloudy, as he is an undeniable top contender for the gold.

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