The second quarter of 2021 delivered some game-changing moments in ONE Championship’s mixed martial arts ranks.
Legends fell to emphatic finishes and heroes emerged in their wake, with the weapon of choice most often being concussive strikes.
Before we turn the page and move forward, let’s count down the top five MMA knockouts that took place inside the Circle from April-June 2021.
#5 Inch-Perfect Elbow Propels Wang Over Kim
The two striking specialists engaged on the feet for the first two frames, with Kim appearing to own a slight edge as they moved into the third. However, Wang only needed one moment of brilliance to swing the match in his favor.
That moment came when the South Korean stepped forward with a left hook. Just as Kim opened up with the looping punch, the Chinese star got on the inside with a scything right elbow that crashed into his rival’s jaw.
Kim went down, and Wang immediately followed up with a flurry of punches that sealed the deal.
#4 Bhullar Makes History
The Commonwealth Wrestling Gold Medalist earned his nation’s first-ever MMA World Title when he dethroned the division’s longstanding king with an impressive TKO.
A strong first-round performance from Bhullar pushed the Filipino-American into the second stanza for the first time in his heavyweight reign, and “Singh” then tightened the screw, knowing that his own conditioning would not be an issue.
The Canadian-born Indian used his head movement to stay out of danger and constantly pressed with his boxing attack. Then with two minutes left on the clock, Bhullar ducked under a left hook and planted Vera on the mat.
From there, the challenger pounded away with relentless right hands. “The Truth” tried his best to regain his feet, but to no avail, as Bhullar simply dumped him back down. More punches came in from around the side and through Vera’s guard, and the king could not defend them all.
Eventually, the onslaught became too much. The referee stepped in to wave off the bout, and Bhullar was crowned the new ONE Heavyweight World Champion.
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#3 Lineker’s Right Hand Stops Worthen In His Tracks
Lineker followed his opponent around the Circle with thudding punch after thudding punch to the head and body. Though Worthen tried to disrupt that rhythm with his own output, the American Top Team standout was not deterred.
“Pretty Boy” landed his best shot with a straight left that sent “Hands of Stone” reeling, but that strike only fired the Brazilian up even more.
When Worthen then stepped in to land a jab, Lineker subtly took his head off the center line and uncorked a thunderous right hand. It connected cleanly on “Pretty Boy’s” jaw, and the American dropped backward.
Lineker followed up with one more punch to his grounded foe that separated him from his senses and finished the fight. In the process, “Hands of Stone” may have earned the next shot at ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
#2 Lee Capitalizes on Nastyukhin’s Aggression
Fans around the world thought that teak-tough Timofey Nastyukhin would push Christian “The Warrior” Lee to his limits in their ONE Lightweight World Title bout, but instead, the defending World Champion dispatched his foe after just 73 seconds at “ONE on TNT II.”
Nastyukhin started well, as he stuffed a takedown attempt from “The Warrior” in the early running. From there, he pressed forward and landed some hard low kicks, but Lee was waiting for his moment to attack.
When the aggressive Russian waded in with an overhand right, Lee saw his opportunity. He took a half step back to make the punch miss and then countered with a left hook that sent Nastyukhin to the deck.
The Singaporean-American immediately swarmed his fallen rival and let rip with a strong succession of hard right hands. Nastyukhin tried his best to defend and escape, but “The Warrior” did not stop punching until the referee intervened to end the match and award another memorable TKO victory.
#1 Moraes Stuns The World With Epic Knee Against DJ
The reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion put his belt on the line against “Mighty Mouse” and became the first person to stop the legendary American in his record-breaking mixed martial arts career.
After finishing strong in round one, Moraes was in control during the second frame. Johnson knew he needed to do more to close the distance on the rangy Brazilian, but his attempt led to the abrupt end of his unbeaten winning streak in The Home Of Martial Arts.
“Mighty Mouse” tried to catch a knee from “Mikinho” and then lunged forward with punches while his opponent was finding his balance. However, Moraes let rip with a right uppercut when Johnson moved in, dropping him to the mat.
The flyweight king quickly poured on the pressure with punches. And as “Mighty Mouse” tried to post to get back up to his feet, “Mikinho” drilled him with a crunching left knee to the jaw and followed up with a salvo of punches that turned out his challenger’s lights.
It was a historic finish to highlight a historic quarter in ONE Championship.