5 Major Takeaways From ONE Fight Night 23: Ok Vs. Rasulov

Nico Carrillo Saemapetch Fairtex ONE Fight Night 23 40

Bangkok, Thailand’s Lumpinee Stadium was firing on all cylinders for ONE Fight Night 23: Ok vs. Rasulov on Friday, July, 5.

ONE Championship’s rising and current stars filled the iconic arena with fist-pumping excitement when the promotion returned to U.S. primetime, and the intensity lasted from opening bell to closing clash.

After 11 winners made their marks this past weekend, here are five of the biggest takeaways from ONE Fight Night 23.

Rasulov’s Debut Puts Lee In Crosshairs

In his ONE debut, 31-year-old Alibeg Rasulov experienced everything that comes with competing in a ONE Fight Night main event — the global media, weight and hydration protocols, and preparing for championship rounds — yet he wasted no time inserting himself into the ONE Lightweight MMA World Title picture.

The Hyperion Fighters representative battled former divisional king Ok Rae Yoon for five rounds before being awarded a unanimous decision by the ringside judges.

Rasulov’s hard-nosed performance against Ok proved that he not only belongs on the global stage but also on the list of contenders waiting for a crack at Christian Lee’s strap.

With his debut now behind him, Rasulov’s victory warned “The Warrior” that another challenger at lightweight is ready to try his hand at taking his gold.

Carrillo Is Ready For Haggerty-Superlek Winner

On Friday, September 6, ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan Haggerty will defend his gold against Superlek Kiatmoo9 at ONE 168: Denver — and top-ranked Nico Carrillo will be waiting for whoever exits with the World Title.

The Scotsman continued his destruction of the bantamweight division with a second-round TKO of #4-ranked Saemapetch Fairtex.

In the match, Carrillo once again proved that he is a bantamweight with heavyweight power. Each strike that connected left its mark on the Thai athlete. And after he knocked down Saemapetch three times in the second round, he left no doubt as to who the #1 contender is.

The cold breeze blowing through the Ball Arena in September won’t just be the winter wind making its presence known — it will be the signal that “The King of the North” is not far away.

Ruotolo Ticks Another Name Off Hit List

ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling World Champion Tye Ruotolo continued his perfect ways at ONE Fight Night 23 by edging past 19-year-old sensation Jozef Chen.

The methodical 10-minute, 186-pound catchweight match proved that one wrong move from either grappler could’ve led to an abrupt ending. But once the American scored a takedown, he kept his opponent on the defensive until the final bell sounded.

With his win over Chen, the Atos star checked another elite grappler off his list as he continues burning through a who’s who of submission grappling’s biggest names.

Ruotolo’s run in ONE has only strengthened his case as the pound-for-pound best grappler on the planet. No matter the physical differences or stylistic showdown, he has always come out on top. Now the only question that remains is who can stop the welterweight king.

Kouyate Becomes Instant Threat In Featherweight Muay Thai Division

Luke Lessei entered Lumpinee Stadium with the hopes of punching his ticket to a possible ONE World Title opportunity. Instead, France’s Bampara Kouyate cooked up an upset with a third-round TKO over the featherweight Muay Thai division’s #5-ranked contender.

The 29-year-old looked outstanding in his featherweight Muay Thai debut from the moment the bell rang. Kouyate’s length, pinpoint jabs, and flowing combinations gave the American issues. And just when Lessei tried to come on strong in the final round, the Frenchman turned the tables and finished the match.

It was a complete performance that signaled big things for his future.

Not only did Kouyate steal Lessei’s thunder, he firmly fixed himself in the featherweight mix and every contender is now aware of the threat he possesses.

Black Panther Might Be Ready For Khalilov Rematch

A highlight-reel right high kick KO marked the official start of a winning streak for Black Panther. His second-round finish over Ali Saldoev showed that the Thai star is coming to make noise.

Although the match was contested at a catchweight of 139.25 pounds, Black Panther has routinely competed in the flyweight Muay Thai division.

But he may have his sights set on unfinished business before pushing his way into the official ONE athlete rankings. The lone blemish on the 24-year-old’s ONE record came against Tagir Khalilov in his promotional debut last March.

Now that his feet are wet on the global stage, it may be time to run it back.

More than a year after their meeting at ONE Friday Fights 9, Black Panther has showcased how much he has grown in all facets of Muay Thai. An electric rematch would settle the score and have major implications in the red-hot flyweight division.

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