5 Dutch Fighters Who Took ONE Championship By Storm
For such a small country, the Netherlands has produced some of the biggest names in combat sports. There’s no denying the European nation’s impact on mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, and especially kickboxing.
No matter the discipline, the Dutch have proven to be a special kind of fighter – the type to battle with both flare and fortitude.
With that in mind, here are five athletes from the Netherlands who immediately impressed inside the ONE Championship Circle.
#1 Reinier De Ridder
Reigning two-division ONE World Champion Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder has scored some royal finishes in the organization, and his special skill set was clear from the very beginning.
In 2019, he debuted against “King Kong Warrior” Fan Rong at ONE: HERO’S ASCENT and needed just over a minute to secure a brabo choke.
The submission showcased De Ridder’s dominant ground game and snapped his Chinese foe’s 13-fight winning streak in the process.
Since then, “The Dutch Knight” has not slowed down. He remains undefeated in mixed martial arts and snatched the ONE Middleweight and ONE Light Heavyweight World Titles from Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang in back-to-back wins.
Most recently, “The Dutch Knight” even faced Andre “Deco” Galvao under submission grappling rules at ONE X, where he battled the BJJ legend to a stalemate.
Up next, De Ridder will put his middleweight gold on the line against dangerous challenger Vitaly Bigdash in the main event of ONE 159 on Friday, 22 July.
It’s a chance to make his second successful ONE World Title defense, although the next Dutchman on this list already has twice that amount.
#2 Regian Eersel
ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Regian “The Immortal” Eersel is a fighter who loves to push the pace.
He displayed that mindset in his ONE debut when he faced Brad “Quake” Riddell at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR in April 2018.
The Amsterdam man picked at “Quake” with his long limbs, making it difficult for the New Zealander to respond with his own attacks. Eersel ultimately defeated Riddell by unanimous decision, which kick-started his lengthy winning streak in the organization.
That run has included two victories over another Dutchman on this list – Nieky “The Natural” Holzken – first for the inaugural ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title and the second time to defend it.
Overall, the dominant divisional king owns an incredible kickboxing record of 58-4 and is riding a 19-fight winning streak that dates back to 2016.
#3 Ilias Ennahachi
Ilias Ennahachi made a grand entrance when he debuted in ONE Championship back in 2019.
The Dutch-Morrocan striker challenged seasoned Muay Thai veteran Petchdam “The Baby Shark” Petchyindee for the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD in Bangkok, Thailand.
It was a difficult task to battle Petchdam in his home country, but at just 23 years old, Ennahachi was unfazed. The Utrecht native wowed spectators by outworking the Thai with punches and kicks for two solid rounds. Then in the third, he finished Petchdam with a left hook.
Ennahachi has since defended his ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title two more times, putting his superb striking on display against KLF Kickboxing Champion “Metal Storm” Wang Wenfeng and #2-ranked contender Superlek “The Kicking Machine” Kiatmoo9.
Those victories have earned him a 37-3 overall record while keeping him atop one of the most exciting kickboxing divisions.
#4 Nieky Holzken
Holzken grew up training in Dutch kickboxing, so it’s no wonder why he’s known as “The Natural.”
Moreover, the Helmond native had an incredible coach in the legendary Ramon Dekkers, which helped him win multiple Kickboxing World Titles and take on the sport’s most accomplished fighters.
One such opponent was seven-time Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Cosmo “Good Boy” Alexandre, whom Holzken battled in his ONE debut at ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM in 2018.
Moments after the bell signaled the start of round one, “The Natural” dropped Alexandre with a head kick. And in round two, the Dutchman finished “Good Boy” with a right uppercut that stands as one of the most impressive knockouts in the history of ONE’s all-striking league.
After his stunning performance against the Brazilian, Holzken scored two more finishes inside the Circle – a first-round KO of four-time Caged Muay Thai Champion Elliot “The Dragon” Compton and a second-round TKO of Muay Thai legend John Wayne “The Gunslinger” Parr.
#5 Mohammed Boutasaa
While he’s the youngest and newest athlete on this list, Mohammed Boutasaa has already shown fans why he’s considered “Too Sharp.”
Prior to signing with ONE, Boutasaa was an Enfusion Champion and well-known throughout Amsterdam’s kickboxing scene. And the 22-year-old backed up the hype when he debuted in the Circle earlier this year.
The Dutch-Moroccon faced veteran striker Davit Kiria at ONE 157 in May and outworked the former ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinalist from bell to bell, winning impressively by unanimous decision.
The victory not only improved his overall fight record to 15-0, but it also sent a message to the rest of the featherweight kickboxing division that a new player has arrived – and he has all the makings of a future superstar.