On Friday night, ONE Championship makes its first foray onto US soil. ONE Fight Night 10 has a stacked card with a host of their star names set for action in Colorado. Here’s a quick rundown of eight reasons why you should make sure you’re in front of a screen to check it all out.
It could be “Mighty Mouse’s” last dance
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson has become a huge star in ONE after his highly-publicized switch from the UFC at the end of 2018.
Since then, he’s fought six times under the ONE banner, winning the ONE flyweight Grand Prix, and avenging his title fight defeat to Adriano Moraes with a flying knee knockout of the Brazilian to capture the ONE flyweight world title.
Now, with the score standing at one win apiece, Johnson and Moraes will run it back one more time in a trilogy bout in Friday night’s main event, with the ONE flyweight title on the line.
It’s a huge fight for ONE, as well as for both men, who want to cement their ONE legacies by ensuring they take the rubber match in Colorado.
It’s also potentially the last time we’ll see Johnson in action. Rumors have swirled about him possibly calling it a career after this fight. With little else to prove in a stellar, MMA Mount Rushmore-worthy career, few would begrudge him walking away at this point in his career.
During fight week, he batted away questions about his fighting future, saying he would make the decision after the fight on Friday night. But you’ve got to imagine he has a good idea what he’ll do after his bout with Moraes is done and dusted.
It could be “Mighty Mouse’s” last dance, and MMA aficionados around the world won’t want to miss that.
Rodtang is must-see TV
One of the big attractions of ONE Championship events is how they put on fights from different disciplines, all on one card. So, while the fight card in Colorado is dominated by MMA bouts, there’s also some other martial arts action on the slate.
The most exciting of those comes in the co-main event, where Muay Thai world champion, crowd-pleaser and all-round savage Rodtang Jitmuangnon is set to strut his stuff on US soil.
His fights are action-packed, spectacular affairs, as “The Iron Man” walks down his opponents with a combination of aggression, arrogance and sheer distain as he shakes off the best of their shots, then unloads crushing shots of his own.
It’s a fighting style that has made him the darling of ONE Championship fans in Asia and, with a willing dance partner in the form of Mexico’s Edgar Tabares, the stage looks set for another spectacular matchup.
And if you’ve never seen Muay Thai in four-ounce gloves before, buckle up. You’re in for a hell of a ride.
Get to know “Darth Rigatoni”
He might look like the kid that’s always chosen last in gym class, but Mikey Musumeci is much, much more than meets the eye.
The unassuming, affable American is the complete antithesis of many of the larger-than-life MMA fighters you already know. Musumeci isn’t an MMA fighter, for starters. He’s a pure grappler, and a ludicrously talented one.
He set a new record by winning IBJJF gold with a straight ankle lock after just 12 seconds, and has five IBJJF black belt world titles to his name.
His ONE debut in April 2022 saw him thrown in with heel-hook master Masakazu Imanari, and promptly dispatched him via rear-naked choke as he announced his arrival as a fresh new talent on the ONE roster. Four months later he returned to capture the inaugural ONE flyweight submission grappling world title by defeating Brazil’s Cleber Souza.
A true Italian-American, Musumeci loves his pizza and pasta, a fact hinted by his moniker, “Darth Rigatoni,” and he’s bringing his brand of exciting submission-chasing grappling to Colorado, where he’ll take on 2020 No Gi IBJJF world champion Osamah Almarwai in the second defense of his title.
Stamp always brings the action
One of ONE Championship’s biggest success stories of recent years, Stamp Fairtex has risen from unknown prospect to two-sport world champion as the Thai striker became one of the promotion’s biggest stars.
Discovered on Rich Franklin’s talent-finding show, ONE Warrior Series, where a head-kick KO punched her ticket to the main ONE Championship roster, Stamp has thrilled fans with her infectious personality and spectacular fighting style.
Her bread and butter is her striking, and she used it to capture first the ONE atomweight kickboxing world title, then the promotion’s Muay Thai world title as she made history as the promotion’s first simultaneous two-sport world champion.
Now she’s focusing on mixed martial arts and, while a tilt at Angela Lee’s atomweight world title ended in defeat, Stamp acquitted herself well and showed that she belonged on the same stage as ONE’s “first lady of MMA”.
Currently ranked as the number one women’s atomweight contender, Stamp takes on American Alyse Anderson in a title eliminator for the interim atomweight title, which will be contested later this year.
Expect plenty of action, big smiles, and the famous “Stamp Dance” as she turns her walkout into an event before stepping into the cage and letting her hands and feet do the talking.
“Robocop” + “The Bandit” = fireworks
If you’re a fan of knockouts, heavy-handed striking and all-out wars, grab your popcorn and be in your seat for the welterweight bout between Roberto Soldic and Zebaztian Kadestam.
Both men love nothing better than to stand and trade. And, with the pair of them boasting knockout rates of 86 and 85 percent, respectively, there’s a better than average chance that the judges won’t be needed when they face off on Friday night.
Soldic made his name as the knockout king of Polish promotion KSW, where he had two memorable wars with current UFC middleweight contender Dricus du Plessis. The Bosnian, nicknamed “Robocop” is pound-for-pound one of the hardest punchers in the sport, and has a string of stunning KOs to his name.
But you could say similar for Kadestam. He might not be as well known as Soldic, but “The Bandit” has proved that his power can turn any fight in his favor, as he showcased in knockout victories over the likes of Agilan Thani, Tyler McGuire, Georgiy Kichigin, Valmir da Silva and Iuri Lapicus.
Both men will likely enter the matchup with healthy respect for the other’s power. But, once the fists start to fly, the action will likely be chaotic and spectacular, with a strong possibility that only one man will be left standing at the end.
The return of “Super Sage”
Sage Northcutt arrived in ONE Championship seemingly primed for superstardom. Then things went spectacularly off the rails.
Northcutt’s first bout was against Brazilian Muay Thai striker Cosmo Alexandre, who battered the smaller, less seasoned Northcutt to a 29-second knockout. It left the American with multiple facial fractures and forced him onto the sidelines as he healed up and recuperated.
That hiatus ended up lasting four years, as the always-positive Northcutt continued to train and build himself back up as he recovered from a host of injuries that threatened to halt his career.
Now “Super Sage” is back, and it seems he’s lost none of his famed enthusiasm and positivity. The 27-year-old will face Pakistan’s Ahmed “Wolverine” Mujtaba in a bout that could test him on the feet and on the ground. Mujtaba’s last outing saw him sensationally submit former no-gi BJJ world champion Abraao Amorim.
There will be a feelgood angle to this fight, regardless of the victor. For Mujtaba, victory would be the biggest win of his career as he flies the flag for Pakistani MMA, while for Northcutt, a win could catapult him toward bigger fights in the ONE lightweight division and, potentially, a crossover fight or two.
“The Burmese Python” wants another knockout
Fighters hate being labeled as gatekeepers, but Aung La N Sang says that’s just fine with him, because it means he knows he’s on the cusp of being a contender once again.
“The Burmese Python” is a former two-division champion and one of the biggest stars in ONE Championship history, thanks to the colossal support he receives from his homeland of Myanmar.
But N Sang, who trains out of Kill Cliff FC in Deerfield Beach, Florida, isn’t resting on his laurels as a future ONE hall of famer. Instead, he wants to climb to the middleweight summit once again.
Standing in his way on Friday night is Chinese contender Fan Rong, a 19-3 fighter who has only gone to the scorecards twice in his professional career.
Fan’s last outing ended in defeat to former champion Vitaly Bigdash, and he’ll be determined to bounce back against another former champ in N Sang. But “The Burmese Python” is back on form, thanks to a pair of first-round TKO finishes of Yushin Okami and Gilberto Galvao in his last two outings.
If he can make it three in a row with victory over Fan, he’ll be knocking on the door for a middleweight title shot once again.
De Ridder tests himself… again!
Speaking of the middleweight championship, the man who currently holds that title is Dutch ace Reinier de Ridder, who dethroned N Sang not once, but twice, as he took both the middleweight and light heavyweight titles from the Myanmar athlete in 2020 and 2021.
“The Dutch Knight” has twice defended the middleweight belt, but lost the light heavyweight crown to the hard-hitting Anatoly Malykhin last December.
De Ridder’s willingness to jump weight classes to take on big challenges is just the tip of the iceberg, however. A strong MMA grappler, the Dutchman has also crossed codes and dived into ONE’s submission grappling division, and battled to a draw with Brazilian Andre Galvao last year.
Now he’s set for another grappling test, as he takes on grappling ace Tye Ruotolo, who made a big impression on his ONE debut with a victory over Garry Tonon.
It’s another big test for de Ridder, who seems to only be comfortable when he’s outside of his comfort zone.
ONE Fight Night 10: Confirmed fight card
- Demetrious Johnson vs. Adriano Moraes – for flyweight title
- Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Edgar Tabares – for flyweight Muay Thai title
- Mikey Musumeci vs. Osamah Almarwai – for flyweight submission grappling title
- Stamp Fairtex vs. Alyse Anderson
- Roberto Soldic vs. Zebaztian Kadestam
- Sage Northcutt vs. Ahmed Mujtaba
- Aung La N Sang vs. Fan Rong
- Reinier de Ridder vs. Tye Ruotolo – submission grappling bout
- Jackie Buntan vs. Diandra Martin – Muay Thai bout
- Kairat Akhmetov vs. Reece McLaren
- Lowen Tynanes vs. Ok Rae Yoon