Fans were treated to another amazing evening of martial arts action on Friday, July 22, when ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash stormed into the Singapore Indoor Stadium with nine exceptional bouts.
Thunderous knockouts, unique submissions, and back-and-forth battles wowed ONE’s global fan base from opening bout to main event.
Now that the arena has cleared out and the world awaits the organization’s next spectacle, we look at the five biggest takeaways from ONE 159.
De Ridder Is Unstoppable
Perfection — that’s the first word that comes to mind when talking about ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder.
He’s 16-0 in his career, he’s 7-0 in ONE under MMA rules, and he owns an astounding 87 percent finishing rate, overall. Simply put, he’s been unmatchable.
At ONE 159, he scored the fastest finish of former middleweight king Vitaly Bigdash. He stopped the Russian at the 3:29 mark of the first round with an inverted triangle, retaining his ONE Middleweight World Title and earning a US$50,000 bonus in the process.
Although “The Dutch Knight” rules two divisions, it appears he is just now entering the prime of his career. The 31-year-old talent has been unstoppable, and his last performance showed that he’s one of the pound-for-pound best mixed martial artists in the world right now.
Todd Has A World Champion’s Mindset
Ever since Janet “JT” Todd arrived in ONE she’s been trying to capture Muay Thai gold, and in the co-main event of ONE 159 she finally earned it, making her a two-sport ONE World Champion.
In the early goings of her ONE Interim Atomweight Muay Thai World Title bout against Lara Fernandez, Todd held her ground. However, the Spanish woman came alive in the middle frames and the bout seemed to be tilting in her favor.
Going into the final round, though, Todd’s corner told her that she was behind and needed to increase her output. The ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion then responded as a titleholder should.
She came out reignited and took control of the match, and when the final bell sounded, all three judges awarded her the unanimous decision.
As Todd received the ONE Interim Atomweight Muay Thai World Championship and fulfilled her dream of becoming a two-sport ONE World Champion, she was flooded with emotion. But with two targets now on her back, her challenges inside the Circle may have only begun.
Zhang Could Be ONE’s Next Teen Sensation
Throughout the three-round battle, “Fighting Rooster” used his fast and flashy striking to dismantle Zikreev and score his second straight win in ONE.
What’s more incredible than Zhang’s skill set, however, is his age. The Chinese athlete is only 18 years old and trying to do what a few other teenage stars have done in the organization — win a ONE World Title.
From siblings “Unstoppable” Angela Lee and Christian “The Warrior” Lee to Sweden’s Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell, ONE has given rise to numerous teenage stars who went on to rule their respective divisions. Now, Zhang wants to add his name to that list.
It’s entirely possible that it could happen sooner than later, because his victory at ONE 159 over the #2-ranked strawweight possibly earned him a spot in the top five.
Williams Is The Strawweight MMA Division’s Fastest-Rising Star
With a scintillating first-round knockout over “Lil’ Gun” Zelang Zhaxi, “Mini T” Danial Williams not only earned a US$50,000 performance bonus, but he continued to ascend ONE’s loaded strawweight division.
It’s not just his current five-bout winning streak that makes him the most exciting man in martial arts. Williams has the ability to crossover into kickboxing and Muay Thai and be just as dangerous.
Following his win at ONE 159, the Thai-Aussie called out Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri for a shot at the ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title. He then detailed his plans to move into contention for the ONE Strawweight World Championship currently held by Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.
Because of his dynamic skill set, it may only be a short while before “Mini T” gets a crack at one of these belts.
Sinsamut Might Be 2022’s Breakout Fighter
How do you trump knocking out a legend and winning a US$50,000 performance bonus in your debut on the global stage? If you’re Sinsamut Klinmee, you score a second-round knockout of a surging contender and collect another 50K in your follow-up bout.
Up until ONE 159, Sinsamut’s opponent in Liam Nolan had been streaking in the lightweight Muay Thai division. That all came to an end when the Thai rising star sent a zinger of a left hook careening into the Englishman’s chin just moments into the second round.
With his second straight KO victory and back-to-back bonuses in ONE, the Venum Training Camp athlete has put his name in the mix for becoming the promotion’s 2022 breakout star.