ONE Championship capped off the “ONE on TNT” event series with an explosive finale live on U.S. prime-time television on Wednesday, 28 April.
If you missed any of the excitement on the lead card, here’s what went down at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Aoki Puts On Grappling Masterclass Against Folayang
Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki put an emphatic stamp on his trilogy with Eduard “Landslide” Folayang by dominating and then submitting the Filipino hero in the opening round of their lightweight mixed martial arts battle.
Folayang swung hard at his old foe in the opening stages, but he could not find a way to connect on the cunning Japanese grappler. Instead, it was Aoki who landed his high kick before he pushed “Landslide” to the Circle Wall.
The Team Lakay man defended well initially, but “Tobikan Judan” briefly threatened with a flying triangle before changing gears and bulling his opponent to the canvas.
On the ground, it was all one-way traffic. Aoki triangled Folayang’s legs and then slid up to mount, where he patiently scored with damaging elbows. When “Landslide” tried to push away to escape, the Tokyo native hooked his left arm and spun off for an armbar, which elicited a swift tap from the Filipino athlete at 4:20 of the first frame.
With his fourth straight win inside the Circle, Aoki extended his incredible record to 47-9-0 (1 NC), ended his trilogy with Folayang at 2-1, and called out both “Super” Sage Northcutt and Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama for future battles.
Buntan’s Boxing Works Against Vandaryeva
Jackie Buntan inched closer to a shot at the vacant ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title by defeating Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva in the second fight at “ONE on TNT IV.” Despite a height disadvantage, Buntan used her precise boxing to outstrike the Belarusian athlete en route to a majority decision win in their ONE Super Series Muay Thai duel.
In round one, Vandaryeva took the center of the Circle, unloading wild right hands at Buntan while the Filipino-American was left having to figure out how to get past the lanky limbs of her opponent. She managed to succeed by using her jab-hook-straight combos and low kicks.
Vandaryeva, however, still had control of the Circle in round two, and she used leg kicks of her own to sting Buntan’s thighs. “Barbie” also did a better job of controlling the pace of the frame, as she stayed on the outside and pumped long punches at Buntan whenever the latter tried to pierce her guard.
However, the Boxing Works prodigy finally landed a trademark right hand that drew a smile from her opponent. With that said, Buntan’s punches came few and far between, and Vandaryeva seemingly walked away as the winner of that round.
With nothing to lose and all to gain, it was a different story for Buntan in the final canto, as she pressed the action, slithered through Vandaryeva’s octopus-like limbs, and punished her foe with kicks and three-punch combinations.
One of those combos – a jab-left hook-straight right salvo – landed cleanly and gave her the confidence to attack with one final charge.
With that late success, Buntan earned the majority decision win, bumped her record to 22-5, and may have dropped her name in the hat for a shot at the vacant ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title.
Northcutt Shows Off Grappling With Impressive Armbar
Colbey Northcutt continued to impress on the global stage, but this time, she showcased a new facet of her mixed martial arts game.
Known for her striking background, Northcutt – a 36-time Karate World Champion – proved that she can also impose her will on the ground by submitting Courtney “No Mercy” Martin with an armbar in the first round of their 60.6-kilogram catchweight bout.
It was actually Martin who started this curtain-raiser aggressively, as she threw a leg kick and a jab to close the distance and clinch up with Northcutt. The Australian continued to look for her offense, which paid off as she got her rival to the canvas, landed in half guard, and then connected with elbows.
The American was able to power out from the bottom, but Martin stayed aggressive and got another takedown. But ultimately, that led to her downfall.
Utilizing her long legs, Northcutt used Martin’s offense from the top position against her by locking on a triangle choke from the bottom. Then, just when “No Mercy” tried to step through and break the hold, the Texas native transitioned to an armbar and forced a tap at 2:28 of the first round.
This is Northcutt’s second consecutive victory in the world’s largest martial arts organization and if this performance was any indication, she will be a problem in the women’s flyweight division.