5 Reasons You Can’t Miss The Special Rules Super-Fight Between Yoshihiro Akiyama And Nieky Holzken

Yoshihiro Akiyama celebrates his knockout victory over Shinya Aoki at ONE X

ONE 165: Takeru vs. Superlek will play host to one of the most unique matchups ever witnessed in martial arts.

On January 28 at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, legendary MMA fighter Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama will square off with iconic kickboxer Nieky “The Natural” Holzken in a never-before-seen special rules super-fight.

As this blockbuster event and intriguing showdown are rapidly approaching, we dive into five reasons fans won’t want to miss a moment of the action.

#1 Two Icons Of Their Respective Sports

With over 130 professional fights and more than 60 years of combined combat sports experience between them, Akiyama and Holzken are true luminaries of their respective disciplines.

A world-class judoka and a veteran of 22 professional MMA bouts across the world’s most prestigious organizations – including three thrilling battles in ONE – “Sexyama” has established himself as one of the most beloved mixed martial artists in Japan and South Korea. 

Holzken, meanwhile, is a multiple-time Kickboxing World Champion who is widely considered one of the best strikers to ever lace up the gloves. And like Akiyama, his successes in the ring have earned him legions of fans around the world.

Simply put, this super-fight represents a clash between two of the planet’s most revered martial artists.

#2 First-Of-Its-Kind Special Rules

Fans are in for something they’ve never seen before on January 28, as the rules of this super-fight are entirely unique. 

With both athletes wearing 4-ounce MMA gloves, the first round will consist of just boxing, the second will be Muay Thai, and the third will be conducted under ONE’s global MMA rule set.

These rules are designed not only to test these combat sports legends in new ways – but also to deliver suspense and white-knuckle action from start to finish.

#3 A Closer Look At Akiyama’s Powerful Striking

Despite his background in the highest levels of international judo, the Japanese-South Korean superstar has staked his reputation as one of MMA’s most entertaining brawlers.

Indeed, the heavy-handed Akiyama scored highlight-reel knockouts in his last two fights in ONE Championship, reminding fans of his show-stopping power.

Given his aptitude for brawling and ruthless finishing instincts, “Sexyama” will aim to put on a show in the striking-only rounds.

#4 The Possibility Of Holzken In MMA

Wondering how the planet’s top strikers would perform in the all-around sport of MMA is an age-old question – and Holzken could provide an answer ONE 165.

The owner of nearly 50 knockouts in kickboxing and an additional 11 in boxing, “The Natural” is an undeniably devastating striker. But how will that striking hold up when takedowns, wrestling clinches, and grappling are thrown into the mix?

If the bout reaches the third and final round, the Dutchman will surely be tested by Akiyama’s top-of-the-food-chain judo skills.

#5 A Dream Matchup Brought To Life

On January 28, a previously unimaginable spectacle will come to fruition.

In short, the always-knowledgeable Japanese fans in attendance and the millions watching on ONE’s global platforms will witness something never seen before – a matchup that only existed in “what if” conversations before ONE Championship brought it to life.

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