ONE Championship is kick-starting its biggest month in history with a martial arts spectacle that’s packed with riveting stories, immense drama, and fighters with reputations for scoring highlight-reel finishes.
This Friday, 11 March, the promotion will bring ONE: LIGHTS OUT to the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and the 10-bout showcase features a little bit of everything. A pair of World Title fights headline the bill, which also features a variety of kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA clashes.
Before the promotion goes full steam ahead with its 10-year anniversary show, ONE X, in two weeks, here are five of the many reasons to watch ONE: LIGHTS OUT this Friday.
#1 KO Artist Meets Grappling Star In World Title Main Event
In the main event, ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le will make his first defense of the belt against undefeated #2-ranked contender Garry Tonon, and there are multiple storylines that make this a must-see showdown.
Le is one of the best strikers in MMA, earning 11 of his 12 career victories by knockout. Moreover, he’s riding a four-bout winning streak, which includes a third-round TKO over former divisional kingpin Martin Nguyen to claim the gold.
But on Friday, he’ll meet Tonon – a man whose strength is the titleholder’s weakness.
The challener is a multiple-time BJJ World Champion and a five-time EBI Grappling Champion who’s flawlessly transitioned to MMA. Those skills combined with his developing stand-up arsenal have earned Tonon six straight victories and an 83 percent finishing rate.
Aside from the intriguing clash of styles, both men have never lost inside the ONE Circle. That will change on Friday, and the fighter who stays unbeaten will also leave with gold around their waist.
#2 Fernandes And Lineker Finally Settle Bad Blood
Fernandes – the most dominant champion in ONE history with 11 World Title victories – has decimated the competition since arriving in The Home of Martial Arts. But the Brazilian is extra fired up for this defense and claims his compatriot has been making too much noise about dethroning him.
If you ask Lineker, the story differs a bit. The man known as “Hands of Stone” defeated all three of his past opponents in ONE Championship – including his last two via knockout – and then posted on Instagram that he was “ready for the war towards the title.”
He believes that statement rubbed Fernandes the wrong way, which ultimately kicked off their feud.
The athletes have been going back and forth in the media since their matchup was made official last year. And after being postponed two times, the war of words between Fernandes and Lineker will reach its conclusion on Friday in Singapore.
#3 Former Featherweight King Tries To Snap Skid
Before the ONE Featherweight World Title is contested in the main event, a former divisional kingpin will look to end his losing streak and get back into contention.
Martin Nguyen, the first two-division ONE World Champion in history and the current #3 featherweight contender, has experienced the highest of highs in the Circle. However, the Vietnamese-Australian knockout artist dropped the gold to Le and then fell to #1-ranked Kim Jae Woong last September.
Now on the first two-fight skid of his storied MMA career, “The Situ-Asian” is motivated to break the cycle and utilize his well-rounded skill set.
That will be easier said than done against ONE debutant Kirill Gorobets, who is riding a nine-bout winning streak, owns a 62 percent finishing rate, and has lost just once in seven years as a professional.
The Ukrainian phenom has some extra fire too, as he knows a victory over the former featherweight king would propel him into the top-five rankings.
#4 Heavyweight Kickboxing Mayhem
ONE Championship’s heavyweight kickboxing ranks are gaining traction.
Reigning ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia recently expressed his desire to become a two-division titleholder, and Rade Opacic has steamrolled the competition while running away with the heavyweight division’s record for KOs.
Azizpour debuted in epic fashion last October, as he used his varied arsenal and surprising head kicks to demolish Anderson “Braddock” Silva. When the Iranian enters the Circle on Friday, he’ll again be the shorter competitor.
The taller Londt is riding some momentum of his own, having won the 2019 Mix Fight Heavyweight Tournament and establishing himself as one of the toughest big men on the planet. If “Mr. Pain” can build off that success and take out Azizpour, he would emerge as one of the division’s leading men.
#5 A Trio Of Record Holders Return
Finally, ONE: LIGHTS OUT will feature a respected veteran and a pair of dynamic Indonesian MMA fighters – all of whom already hold records in the promotion.
The Jakarta resident, who currently holds the all-time mark for most finishes in the weight class (8) and co-holds the record for most knockouts (4) in the division, called out former strawweight king and current #5-ranked contender Alex Silva.
Many pundits feel that Silva’s dazzling BJJ black belt expertise will be too much for Mattheis. After all, the Brazilian holds the record for most submission wins in ONE’s strawweight division (6).
Another tapout victory would extend that number, but if Mattheis can shock Silva, he would take his spot in the rankings and firmly establish himself as a potential World Title challenger.
Mattheis’ compatriot (and coincidentally, Silva’s Evolve MMA teammate) Eko Roni Saputra is an Indonesian Wrestling Champion who most recently knocked out Liu Peng Shuai in 10 seconds to earn the fastest finish in the promotion’s flyweight MMA division.
Now, he returns to face dangerous Cambodian striker Chan Rothana, who’s been flawless in two battles with other Indonesian athletes.
The veteran will try to make Saputra pay for calling him out, while the Indonesian rising star will look to avenge his compatriots and win his sixth straight bout in ONE.