ONE Championship’s run on US television kicked off with a bang on Wednesday night.
In the night’s MMA main event, former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson was looking to add ONE Championship gold to his trophy cabinet against champion Adriano Moraes.
However, Moraes had different ideas and did what no one was able to do in the UFC: finish Johnson. In fact, it was the first time Mighty Mouse had ever been finished in his long, 35-fight MMA career.
Johnson looked in control early on in the bout, picking away at Moraes from the centre of the cage and landing some knees whenever the fight got close in the clinch. However, with around two minutes remaining in the opening round, Moraes was able to scramble into top position on the ground after threatening with a heel hook and showed how solid his control on the mat was against a crafty opponent in Johnson.
The flyweights fought at a frenetic pace in the second round as both men looked to land strikes and darted around the cage to do so.
Johnson was caught slipping when he tried to attack Moraes while his foe had his back to the cage and got caught by a right uppercut. Put on his back from that punch, Mighty Mouse tried to get back to his feet before getting drilled in the face by Moraes’ knee (legal in ONE Championship rules) and was finished with follow up punches on the ground.
Brazil’s Moraes reeled away in delirious celebration, Johnson and the many people watching from home were left stunned.
“It’s part of the game,” said Johnson after the bout. “You’re in the game for so long, it’s bound to happen one of these days, right?
“He did a good job keeping the range and distance. He caught me slipping and was able to catch me.”
Watch how the fight unfolded below.
In the co-main event, former UFC and Bellator MMA lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez had a night to forget.
Taking on Moldova’s Iuri Lapicus, Alvarez shot in for – and scored – a takedown inside a minute and immediately wrapped up his opponent’s legs for control on the canvas.
While on the mat, Lapicus had his head turned to the right, on Alvarez’s left, leaving the back of his head exposed.
Philadelphia native Alvarez began punching Lapicus behind the ear. Referee Justin Brown immediately warned Alvarez to watch out for any illegal punches to the back of the head.
Alvarez then launched a barrage of short punches in the same area, though some may have struck the back of his opponent’s head, and Lapicus yelled in pain and fell back to the mat. “The Underground King” then smashed in two follow-up punches on the canvas before Brown could intervene.
After it was determined that Lapicus could not continue, Brown handed Alvarez a red card and the Moldovan won the contest by disqualification.
Watch how this controversial bout unfolded below.
Elsewhere on this short fight card, Oumar Kane knocked out kickboxer and MMA debutant Patrick Schmid in their heavyweight feature.
Better known as “Reug Reug,” Kane and his Swiss opponent started the bout pensively before it exploded into life around 40 seconds in.
Schmid closed the distance and tagged Senegal’s Kane. In response, Reug Reug charged forward and clubbed the kickboxer with a series of punches and secured a smart trip takedown.
The Swiss competitor had little answer for Kane’s wrestling abilities on the ground and the fight was called off by referee Mohamad Sulaiman after Schmid was battered with a series of punches he was unable to defend.
Reug Reug continues to entertain in the early days of his MMA career and moves to a perfect 3-0 record – all three wins coming by knockout, two of which under the ONE Championship banner.
ONE Championship: ONE on TNT 1 full results
Catchweight (Muay Thai): Rodtang Jitmuangnon def. Danial Williams by unanimous decision after three rounds
ONE Flyweight Championship: Adriano Moraes (c) def. Demetrious Johnson by KO (Knee and Punches) at 2:24 of round two
Lightweight: Iuri Lapicus def. Eddie Alvarez by DQ (Punches to Back of Head) at 1:03 of round one
Welterweight: Raimond Magomedaliev def. Tyler McGuire by unanimous decision after three rounds
Featherweight (Kickboxing): Enriko Kehl def. Chingiz Allazov by split decision after three rounds
Heavyweight: Oumar Kane def. Patrick Schmid by TKO (Punches) at 1:48 of round one