5 Of The Biggest Rematches In ONE Championship History
The back-to-back fight cards scheduled for Friday, August 26, will be headlined by a pair of massive matchups between past rivals.
First in Asian primetime, South Korean breakout sensation Ok Rae Yoon will defend the ONE Lightweight World Title at ONE 160 against former divisional king Christian Lee – the man he dethroned last year.
Then in North American primetime, MMA great Demetrious Johnson will look to avenge his only career knockout loss when he challenges ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes for the second time at ONE on Prime Video 1.
Both of these contests are the latest in a rich history of thrilling rivalries in ONE Championship, and fans can’t wait to see how things play out when these superstars run it back.
Before the action goes down on August 26, here are five of the greatest rematches in promotional history so far.
Aung La N Sang vs. Vitaly Bigdash II
After stepping up to challenge Vitaly Bigdash for the ONE Middleweight World Title in January 2017, Aung La N Sang got an immediate rematch with the Russian at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION five months later.
The first bout was incredible, so fans knew the second meeting would be a barnburner – and it lived up to the hype as 2017’s Fight of the Year.
In front of a raucous home crowd in Myanmar, “The Burmese Python” dropped Bigdash early to set the stage for an incredible victory.
Although the defending king fired back for five intense rounds, Aung La N Sang ultimately leveled the score with an emotional unanimous decision.
The victory also came with some history, as the Myanmar hero became his country’s first-ever World Champion in any sport.
Shinya Aoki vs. Eduard Folayang II
Japanese legend Shinya Aoki and Filipino icon Eduard Folayang headlined ONE: A NEW ERA when they rematched for the ONE Lightweight World Title in March 2019.
Folayang previously shocked the world by knocking out “Tobikan Judan” in 2016, but a lot had changed since then. “Landslide” had dropped and then regained the belt, while Aoki had registered three straight finishes to get back in the World Title picture.
Many wondered whether Folayang simply had his rival’s number, but on this night, Aoki turned the tables in front of his adoring fans in Tokyo.
In the first round, the grappling specialist managed to stuff “Landslide” against the Circle Wall and then brought him to the canvas. Folayang had survived all of the submission attempts thrown his way in their first meeting, but “Tobikan Judan” didn’t let that happen again.
Instead, Aoki cinched up a tight arm-triangle choke as soon as the match hit the deck and rendered his foe unconscious halfway through the opening frame.
Aung La N Sang vs. Ken Hasegawa II
Aung La N Sang doesn’t do boring fights, and his knockout of Ken Hasegawa at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR in June 2018 won him another Bout of the Year award.
After the chaos from that first matchup, fans couldn’t wait to see “The Burmese Python” defend the ONE Middleweight World Title against his Japanese adversary once again at ONE: A NEW ERA in March 2019.
Hasegawa put everything into his second chance at dethroning the Myanmar superstar, but on this occasion, Aung La N Sang was operating at a different level.
He battered his foe with kicks and punches throughout the first stanza – and then finished the fight emphatically in round two.
Upon seeing an opening, “The Burmese Python” stepped in with a crushing straight right that dropped Hasegawa to the canvas and led to a ground-and-pound KO.
Joshua Pacio vs. Yosuke Saruta II
Following a shocking win over Alex Silva in his promotional debut, Yosuke Saruta surged into a ONE Strawweight World Title challenge of Joshua Pacio in January 2019.
“The Ninja” picked up another victory by split decision to become the division’s king, but Pacio was determined to regain the gold.
He got his chance in a rematch at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR three months later and returned to the top in emphatic fashion.
The pair engaged in a back-and-forth battle until the championship rounds, but in the fourth, “The Passion” uncorked a hellish right kick that caught Saruta on his way in.
Pacio’s knee crashed into the Japanese star’s jaw to deliver a stunning KO and bring the strawweight belt back to the Philippines.
Angela Lee vs. Xiong Jing Nan II
ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee moved up to challenge strawweight queen Xiong Jing Nan in March 2019, but her dreams of two-division supremacy were dashed by a fifth-round finish.
Despite the loss, Lee had come close to finishing “The Panda” in round four, so she had reason to feel confident when they rematched at atomweight seven months later.
This time, Xiong was aiming to become a two-division World Champion by challenging “Unstoppable” at ONE: CENTURY, and she sent her rival to the deck with punches in the fourth frame.
But just like the Chinese superstar had rallied to win their original meeting, Lee flipped the script in the late stages.
The Singaporean-American showed incredible heart throughout the final frame and eventually secured a dramatic rear-naked choke finish with just 12 seconds left on the clock.
With that, the two reigning World Champions remain tied 1-1 in a head-to-head series that seems destined for a trilogy clash.