ONE Super Series athletes had a lot to live up to after a tremendous start to 2019, but they responded by delivering another collection of brilliant bouts.
The Muay Thai and kickboxing contests in ONE Championship throughout July, August, and September dropped jaws and brought fans to the edges of seats, whether they were five-round World Title match-ups or fast and furious battles that packed a ton of action into just three.
In case you had the misfortune to miss any of the action when it was first broadcast, take a look back at five of the very best back-and-forth contests, in chronological order, from the year’s third quarter.
#1 Tonna’s Gutsy Comeback
With three minutes gone in this flyweight kickboxing contest, it looked like Josh “Timebomb” Tonna was heading for his second straight defeat.
The Australian found himself on the end of a torrent of sharp punches and kicks from Yoshihisa “Mad Dog” Morimoto in the first round at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY. Fans of the man from Canberra know his reputation for slow starts, and once again he had to turn things around.
He started to do just that in the second stanza when he landed a huge right hand, and from there, he continued to turn up the heat on his Japanese rival.
Morimoto tried to restore his dominance in the final round, but “Timebomb” did not crumble under the pressure, and sealed a unanimous decision by firing back with more and more effective offense.
#2 Petrosyan And Petchmorakot Go To War Again
Each man knew the margin for error was fine, so the action was perhaps not as smooth as we have come to expect from these two World Champions, but they more than made up for it with the intensity of their contest.
Petrosyan leaped forward with punches that were out of character from the ordinarily technically-perfect Italian, but they drew out similar aggression from his rival, who responded with heavy salvos of his own.
As the match continued, “The Doctor” started to find his mark in close quarters and answer every one of the knees that had given him so much trouble in May with hard counter shots. He also maintained a sustained attack with thudding leg kicks that gradually slowed Petchmorakot down.
It was perpetual motion for three rounds, which Petrosyan emerged from with a unanimous decision victory to move on to the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinals.
#3 Rodtang And Haggerty’s Instant Classic
Arguably the two most exciting flyweights in ONE Super Series left everything in the ring over five rounds. It began with Haggerty putting on a masterclass of distance control as he thrust jabs and body kicks at his rival, and sent him flying back with teeps.
The Brit added more elbows into the mix, but Rodtang continued to march forward, and he soon started to get a foothold in the contest thanks to his power hooks and leg kicks.
A turning point came in round four with “The Iron Man” firmly on the front foot as he landed a right hook that put “The General” onto the canvas. However, he was not finished, and he somehow recovered to make the final period almost too close to call.
The result could have been anybody’s, but the Thai’s knockdown proved to be decisive as he took the belt via unanimous decision.
#4 Bangpleenoi Goes Toe-To-Toe With Nolan
Nolan started stong with heavy boxing combinations and excellent evasion, and most of what he did was punctuated with heavy low kicks, but his Thai rival’s conditioning meant he was not fazed by the damage he absorbed.
He came back with far more of his own offense in the second stanza, and seemed to get the Englishman’s timing down as he caught and countered to great effect.
It all came down to the final round, and though Nolan scored with a leaping kick, the officials judged that Bangpleenoi’s output was slightly more impressive as they exchanged in the center of the Circle. It was tight, but the WMC Muay Thai World Champion walked away with a majority decision.
#5 Verbeek’s Granite Fists And Iron Jaw Overcome Cervantes
The Dutchman had landed a magnificent right hand to put his rival on the floor, and left him with a mountain to climb for the rest of the bout.
Cervantes did not let the knockdown discourage him, and he never stopped coming forward in the second stanza, but he continued to have his offense met with heavy attacks. That all changed in the final frame as the Brit opened up with a jaw-dropping jumping knee and maintained a relentless barrage of strikes for almost the entire three minutes.
Somehow, Verbeek stayed standing, despite some direct hits to the chin, and his work in the early rounds was enough to take a victory in his ONE debut by majority decision.