5 Key Takeaways From ‘ONE on TNT III’

“ONE on TNT III” was a platform for contenders across The Home of Martial Arts to make moves in their respective divisions.

Top-ranked bantamweight John “Hands of Stone” Lineker used his main event clash to grab a first-round knockout and call for his shot against reigning king Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.

But he wasn’t the only contender to shine in Singapore.

Here are five takeaways from the exciting night of fights that aired on Wednesday, 21 April.

#1 Lineker Deserves A World Title Shot

Lineker entered “ONE on TNT III” with a mission to prove he’s ready for a World Title challenge.

And with a monstrous first-round knockout of Troy “Pretty Boy” Worthen, it was mission accomplished for the #1-ranked bantamweight.

The Brazilian’s performance was everything it needed to be and more. His blistering bodywork was on display early, with thudding hooks crashing into Worthen’s ribs that echoed throughout the Singapore Indoor Stadium. He then landed a brilliant punch to the head that effectively ended matters.

With three straight wins in The Home of Martial Arts, the next step for “Hands of Stone” is undeniable. It’s time for a show-stealing matchup that will have every fan on the edge of their seat. It’s time for Fernandes vs. Lineker for the ONE Bantamweight World Championship.

#2 Holzken Is A Bad Man In MMA Gloves

Nieky “The Natural” Holzken and John Wayne “The Gunslinger” Parr met in a battle of living legends, and it was the Dutchman who came away with a stunning second-round TKO win.

This was the #1-ranked lightweight kickboxing contender’s first Muay Thai contest in smaller mixed martial arts gloves, and he looked incredible. The Dutchman was quick and smooth while firing off his full arsenal of strikes, and he even dropped Parr with a spinning hook kick in the first round.

Holzken continued to touch up the Aussie Muay Thai icon in the second round before finishing him off with a left high kick.

“The Natural” certainly lived up to his nickname in his ONE Super Series Muay Thai debut. After such a dominant showcase with the 4-ounce gloves, Holzken has opened up a whole new window of opportunity if he wants to pursue two-sport glory in ONE Super Series. 

#3 Are Miao & Sawada Headed Toward A Trilogy?

Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada first met Miao Li Tao at ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES II, where he picked up a unanimous decision win. Six months later, it was Miao who took home the decision.

At “ONE on TNT III,” it was clear the Chinese athlete had taken notes from the first matchup and applied them to the rematch. His takedown defense was much improved, and he was able to outlast Sawada in a high-paced battle.

The series is now leveled at one win apiece, and it’s clear they are evenly matched. With that in mind, it only makes sense for these outstanding mixed martial artists to meet again inside the Circle.

The score needs to be settled, and a trilogy bout will clear everything up.

#4 Ok Will Bring It To Alvarez

On Wednesday, Ok Rae Yoon was competing for more than #5-ranked lightweight Marat “Cobra” Gafurov‘s place in the division. The winner of their clash would also secure a meeting with Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez at “ONE on TNT IV.”

It took all 15 minutes in a well-matched battle, but Ok survived the trials and tribulations to score the unanimous decision.

The South Korean’s impressive showing means he will face Alvarez in what could end up being a World Title eliminator. And it’s clear from his first appearance that Ok won’t back down from the American legend. In three rounds against Gafurov, he was active and always looking for a finish, which should lead to an exciting match against “The Underground King.”

In a matter of weeks, the Team MAD star could go from his ONE debut to a spot near the front of the line to challenge reigning lightweight king Christian “The Warrior” Lee. What a ride that would be.

#5 Is Wakamatsu Next For Moraes?

Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes got his highlight-reel knockout of top contender Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson to cement his standing as the best flyweight in the world. But which man is next in line to challenge the Brazilian?

Fourth-ranked flyweight contender Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu made his case for the World Title shot with an impressive unanimous decision victory over #5-ranked Reece “Lightning” McLaren at “ONE on TNT III.”

The Japanese star showcased his improved grappling, his devastating punches, and even threw a massive standing elbow that nearly knocked the Aussie’s gum shield out of his mouth.

Still, other contenders are waiting for their turn. Second-ranked contender Danny “The King” Kingad is coming off a victory against “The Hunter” Xie Wei, and #3-ranked Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov is currently enjoying a three-bout winning streak. But nobody is on a better run than Wakamatsu, who notched his fourth straight victory in the matchup with McLaren.

The field is wide open, and everybody is gunning for Moraes. But amid a stacked division filled with possibilities, “Little Piranha” put his best foot forward and emphatically stated his case to be the next man up.

Read more: ‘ONE On TNT III’ – Full Results For Lineker Vs. Worthen

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