Dennis Jerome Acosta/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Shots
Let’s be factual with ourselves: this would possibly occasionally now not be what ONE Championship envisioned for its enormous stateside debut.
That does not imply there wasn’t a silver lining, nonetheless, yeah.
The Singapore-basically based MMA promotion handed a critical milestone Wednesday with ONE on TNT 1, broadcast on B/R Stay and the Bleacher Memoir app besides traditional cable. It loaded the cardboard accordingly with UFC championship transplants Demetrious Johnson (30-4-1) and light kingpin Eddie Alvarez (30-8-1). It sprung for a billboard in Times Sq.. The stars had been popping out to play.
Nevertheless the MMA gods can even be rather fickle, and they had been in some style of temper in Singapore.
(Display mask: TNT and Bleacher Memoir are every owned by Turner Broadcasting Procedure.)
The headliner pitted Johnson towards reigning ONE flyweight champ Adriano Moraes (19-3). It turned into a puny bit peculiar to eye Johnson in the challenger’s position provided that, you know, he dominated the UFC’s 125-pound division for virtually six years and is on a transient list with Henry Cejudo for the only real to ever enact it in that weight class.
Accordingly, Moraes’ massive underdog utter coming in stated more about the challenger than the champ, who had efficiently won or defended the ONE flyweight strap six instances. In line with statistics provided all the way via the broadcast, the 31-year-venerable Brazilian holds records for doubtlessly the most wins and finishes in ONE flyweight historical previous. He’s one in all doubtlessly the most abominable jiu-jitsu practitioners in the promotion, with a cache of submissions at his disposal and nine tapout wins to his name.
He did now not want any of that Wednesday.
As you’d assign a matter to, the action turned into like a flash-paced from the launch, even when neither man turned into touchdown critical offense. Johnson switched stances and labored low kicks while Moraes circled and tried to search out the range at which he can also use his dimension (5’8″ to Johnson’s 5’3″) to land from prolonged distance. An extended ground sequence turned into thrilling nonetheless truly resulted in a stalemate, even though the advantage can also have black moderately in direction of the champ.
The fateful exchange came in the 2nd, when Johnson rushed in to end the aforementioned distance. Moraes caught him coming in with a lawful uppercut that dumped Johnson on the canvas. As Johnson tried to bolt up, Moraes despatched a heavy left knee straight into the center of Johnson’s grill—now not like in the UFC, knee strikes to downed opponents are lawful in ONE—and followed with just a few coffin-nail ground strikes that forced the referee to give up the competition. The TKO came at 2: 24 of the 2nd round, and it turned into the first knockout lack of Johnson’s pro profession.
“I grew up looking out at DJ fight,” the completely likable Moraes told broadcasters in his publish-fight interview. “He’s a story, bro. I knew precisely his game. He’s a grappler love me, nonetheless me and my crew did the exact technique for him. He came forward with the punches, and I got him with the uppercut. I have no belief what to claim, bro! I’m so wrathful.”
Form no mistake: Johnson is perhaps the most credentialed fighter ever to grace the ONE roster. Absolutely ONE officials had been hoping to eye Johnson salvage a possess and install himself as its principal person champion, one who can also grace many a marquee in the approaching years. It turned into indubitably moderately deflating to eye its prized acquisition tear down so unceremoniously.
On the vivid facet, even though, ONE’s homegrown champion lawful showed that he, and by extension ONE, can hold with the enormous boys. Moraes is quiet in this high at 31 and lawful made one heck of a name for himself. It’s lawful that or now not it is quiet nowhere end to as enormous as Johnson’s, even after Wednesday. Will Johnson be again? Will there be varied probabilities? If truth be told. Nevertheless coming up immediate at ONE’s enormous coming-out occasion quiet has to sting.
“I’ll must return dwelling after the fight and study about where I made a mistake,” a magnanimous Johnson stated in his publish-fight interview. “Adriano’s enormous, and I turned into attempting to salvage to him. Nevertheless it indubitably’s portion of the game, man. You’re in this game for see you later, and or now not it is certain to happen one in all at the novel time, lawful?…Congrats to Adriano Moraes. He’s a mountainous champion and a mountainous dude.”
The evening’s weirdness wasn’t confined to the headliner bout, even though.
In the notable card opener, Alvarez faced the promising nonetheless green Iuri Lapicus (15-1). About a minute into the first round, Alvarez had Lapicus on the ground and in pains and went to work with punches and hammerfists. In fact one of many blows perceived to accidentally get the again of Lapicus’ head, and the referee stopped the action and promptly disqualified Alvarez. Valid love that. All it took turned into 62 seconds.
Alvarez watched in wretchedness as Lapicus turned into taken out on a stretcher. This couldn’t were how someone wanted to kick off the broadcast.
Even supposing head injuries are clearly nothing to trifle with, it goes to be notorious that UFC warring parties routinely receive more leeway on a majority of these strikes than turned into provided by ONE. As an instance, there can also were a warning issued or some extent deducted, especially since on replay perfect one strike perceived to land to the again of the head, and it turned into entirely inadvertent and now not in particular brutal (rather speaking). Where’s rapid replay or a 2nd pair of eyes ought to you wish them?
“They assign two guys in a cage,” Alvarez, struggling with again tears and wishing the only real for Lapicus, stated after the fight. “…The ref’s here to enact it, and he did his easiest job. So the selection’s the selection.”
ONE is a solid promotion with a total bunch succesful warring parties on its roster. There would perhaps be varied probabilities on varied days. I’ve seen more excellent ONE cards than I will depend, relationship again neatly forward of the TNT/Bleacher Memoir broadcast deal.
Nevertheless the information ought to be stated, and the reality is this turned into lawful a form of principal person-crossed cards. It happens. If someone had forgotten how chaotic MMA can even be, it lawful gave us all one other refresher course.