ONE Championship’s Top 5 MMA Knockouts Of 2022 So Far
The opening six months of 2022 have been littered with stunning KOs inside the ONE Championship Circle.
The promotion’s heavy hitters delivered spectacular finishes on every fight card from January to June, using all of the weapons in their arsenals.
Here, we pick the top five knockouts from ONE’s mixed martial arts stars in the first half of this year.
#5 Fabricio Andrade Smashes Kwon Won Il’s Liver
Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade has continuously asserted that he’s the best striker in the bantamweight MMA division, and he moved one step closer to proving it when he took out “Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il at ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen on 3 June.
Fans expected a back-and-forth battle between the two big hitters, but in the end, #4-ranked Andrade needed just 62 seconds to dispatch the #2 contender.
From his research on Kwon, “Wonder Boy” had clearly seen an opening to exploit, as he took aim with several left kicks behind his probing southpaw jab in the opening minute.
It paid off when the Brazilian threw the shot for the final time and smashed his foot right into “Pretty Boy’s” liver.
Kwon winced in pain as he coiled up and dropped to the canvas, prompting the referee to quickly dive in and end the match.
With the victory, Andrade claimed the #2 contender spot and immediately called for a World Title shot.
#4 Tang Kai Outstrikes Kim Jae Woong To Earn World Title Shot
While reigning king Thanh Le might have something to say about it, both Tang Kai and “The Fighting God” Kim Jae Woong claimed to be the best striker in the featherweight division.
There was only one way to find out, and when they duked it out in a ONE Featherweight World Title eliminator at ONE X in March, it was the Chinese rising star who made his case.
Tang looked sharper than the South Korean, though he had to be wary of his foe’s heavy punches. Still, he was composed under fire and used his counters to secure the finish after just 2:07 of round one.
“The Fighting God” darted in with a straight right, but Tang stood his ground and fired back with a two-shot combination.
The first right didn’t quite find the mark, but the left hook that followed landed behind Kim’s ear and dropped him to the mat, where the Sunkin International Fight Club man sealed the deal with a hammerfist.
Following that emphatic finish, Tang will challenge Le at some point in the second half of 2022.
#3 Anatoly Malykhin Wins Heavyweight Gold With Massive Right Hand
There’s a good chance to witness something spectacular whenever top heavyweights throw down, and that was certainly the case when Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin faced off against Kirill Grishenko at ONE: BAD BLOOD on 11 February.
With the ONE Interim Heavyweight World Title on the line, the Russian went after his foe with heavy hands from the opening bell and then dominated the second half of the first stanza from top position.
In round two, Malykhin landed even more frequently with his punches. To save himself, Grishenko kept leaning back, but “Sladkiy” took note of this tactic and soon used it to his advantage.
Later in the round, Malykhin tried to pop his man with another looping right hand, and Grishenko again lifted his head out of the way.
However, the Russian stepped in with a second right that found his foe’s chin up in the air. The shot landed cleanly and starched the Belarusian, allowing “Sladkiy” to claim the gold with a memorable knockout victory.
#2 Thanh Le Retains World Title With Fast KO Of Garry Tonon
The ONE Featherweight World Title bout between Thanh Le and Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon at ONE: LIGHTS OUT in March was a classic striker-versus-grappler contest, and ultimately, the striker prevailed.
Moroever, Le’s finish was extra impressive because it came in the BJJ superstar’s preferred domain – the ground.
Soon after the opening bell, “The Lion Killer” pulled guard to an asha garami leg entanglement in a bid to go after his renowned heel hooks, but the reigning king had prepared well for this moment.
The dangerous striker fended off those leg lock attempts and started to drop heavy punches. Tonon persisted, but when Le dropped all his weight behind a devastating right hand to the chin, it was all over.
Le’s first punch separated his American rival from his senses, and a few follow-up shots sealed the deal.
#1 John Lineker Dethrones Bibiano Fernandes With Trademark Left Hook
John “Hands of Stone” Lineker lived up to his moniker once again when he knocked out longtime divisional king Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes to win the ONE Bantamweight World Title at ONE: LIGHTS OUT.
The Brazilian duo battled for two rounds before the challenger landed the bout-ending strike – though it was a back-and-forth affair until that point.
Lineker rocked Fernandes in round one but then got dropped to the canvas with a left hook when he tried to pile on the pressure.
Then in round two, “The Flash” hit an early takedown before engaging in a firefight when his countryman worked his way back up to his feet.
This wasn’t a good idea, as Lineker got the upper hand with his ferocious hooks in the toe-to-toe exchanges.
The end came when “Hands of Stone” went to the body with a right hook and then whipped his left hook over the top to catch Fernandes clean on the jaw.
The veteran superstar hit the canvas straight away and was left looking up at the ceiling lights as Lineker celebrated his stunning World Title victory.