Everything To Know About The Special Rules Super-Fight Between Nieky Holzken And Yoshihiro Akiyama At ONE 165

Nieky Holzken Yoshihiro Sexyama Akiyama

While there are plenty of epic battles set for ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru, the special rules super-fight between Nieky “The Natural” Holzken and Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama has captured a special kind of intrigue among combat sports fans.  

The two martial arts icons will face off this Sunday, January 28, and their contest will include three different rule sets that could force both men out of their comfort zones.  

The unique format is different than ONE’s previous mixed-rules contests, so here’s everything you need to know before multiple-time Kickboxing World Champion Holzken and MMA legend Akiyama duke it out at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan. 

Holzken vs. Akiyama – The Special Rules

Holzken and Akiyama will meet at a 187.25-pound catchweight for their special rules super-fight on January 28. 

The bout will consist of up to three rounds – all lasting three minutes – and if the contest goes the distance, it will be a mandatory draw with no judges’ decision. 

All rounds will be fought with 4-ounce MMA gloves, mouthpieces, and groin protectors. 

Round 1: Boxing 

Nieky Holzken Arian Sadikovic ONE Fight Night 11 59

As a former professional boxer, Holzken is used to “the sweet science,” but it’s more alien to judo stylist Akiyama. 

The pair will wear boxing boots to start the match, but those will be removed if the bout continues into the second stanza.

Only punching with closed fists is allowed, and strikes must make contact with the front of the glove, with no spinning or jumping attacks permitted. 

Clinching or holding, either to stall or strike, is not allowed, and there will be no striking to a downed opponent who has anything other than the soles of his feet on the canvas.  

The athletes can win this round by knockout or technical knockout, with three knockdowns resulting in a mandatory TKO.  

Round 2: Muay Thai 

Nieky Holzken tries to kick Sinsamut Klinmee

The second frame will be fought under ONE’s global Muay Thai Rule Set

This allows punches, elbows, kicks, and knees, which are legal at range and inside the clinch.  

Upper-body clinching is allowed, with sweeps and trips a valid means to put an opponent on the canvas. However, Akiyama must be aware not to draw from his judo tool kit, with hip throws and leg reaping off the agenda.  

Again, the round can be won with a knockout or a technical knockout, with three knockdowns counting as a mandatory TKO. 

Round 3: Mixed Martial Arts 

Yoshihiro Akiyama tags Shinya Aoki with a flurry of punches during their lightweight MMA fight at ONE X

The final round will be contested under ONE’s Global MMA Rule Set

Punches, kicks, knees, and elbows are all allowed when standing, as well as knees, punches, and elbows to the head of a downed opponent. 

Takedowns are now in play, with all options available as long as the attacker is not spiking their foe directly onto the head, neck, or spine.  

The fight can also continue on the canvas, with ground-and-pound and submissions being fair methods of attack on the ground.  

The round can be won by knockout, technical knockout, or submission.  

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