We can all say that the year 2020 has not been very kind to us all. However, even with countless catastrophes happening, and a pandemic that got our world to a halt, ONE Championship, the world’s biggest MMA promotion has not stopped giving us exciting action.
ONE Championship held 4 major events at the start of the year before stopping their activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It took almost five months for ONE to eventually get back on July 31 in ONE: No Surrender. Since returning, the promotion went on to launch 16 events with ONE: Collision Course II closing out the year.
ONE Championship has still delivered and gave fans action they will never forget. We will be featuring the biggest knockouts in ONE, this year. By big, this means that it significantly had affected the promotions division, rankings, and status. And of course, the way how the knockout was delivered is still one of the criteria. Here is, ONE Championship’s biggest knockout wins in 2020!
Rodtang “Iron Man” Jitmuangnon vs. Jonathan “The General” Haggerty 2
Opening up the year, on January 10 in ONE: A New Tomorrow, Rodtang and Jonathan faced off in a rematch. Their first fight came to a very close unanimous decision that saw Rodtang being crowned as the new ONE Super Series Flyweight Muay Thai Champion. Going into this fight, Jonathan Haggerty was determined to recapture his belt and prove that his loss against Rodtang Jitmuangnon was a fluke.
Just like in their first meeting, the first two rounds of the fight was competitive. Although Jonathan was able to keep up, it was obvious that Rodtang carried the more powerful and hurting strikes. In round three, the momentum has significantly shifted into Rodtang’s side. The Thai superstar almost looked invulnerable as he continuously pressed forward aggressively, and not get hurt by any of the strikes that Jonathan threw.
Rodtang Jitmuangnon battered Jonathan Haggerty’s body and got the finish in the third round via technical knockout due to three knockdowns. Not only did Rodtang defend his belt, but that fight marked a new era in the Muay Thai Flyweight division. Rodtang established himself as the king, who will reign for a very long time.
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon vs John “Hands of Stone” Lineker
In ONE: Inside the Matrix III, Former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon faced veteran and former UFC contender John Lineker. Coming into this fight, the Filipino was the #1 contender. Belingon was looking to get back on the victory column, as he spent much of his past years going back-and-forth with champion Bibiano Fernandes.
ONE Championship signed John Lineker last year, July 2019. He had his successful debut 2 months after, beating Muin Gafurov. Being from UFC, Lineker was not to disappoint, many had expected him to be a new tough contender in ONE Championship’s bantamweight division.
While the matchup stylistically was expected not to go in the judges’ decision. Kevin Belingon a heavy favorite, was favored to win. But that night was a huge shock for everybody. John Lineker proved to be just too much, too powerful. Lineker delivered a knockout in the second round as Belingon seemingly did not have anything to hurt him.
With the win, John Lineker did a leapfrog into ONE Bantamweight rankings. He is now ranked the #1 contender and will likely be the next to challenge the champion, Bibiano Fernandes.
Sangmanee “The Million Dollar Baby” Sathian MuayThai vs Kulabdam “The Left Meteorite” Sor.Jor.Piek Uthai
Fight fans who have an eye for the ONE Championship’s Super Series Muay Thai know just how big this knock out was. In ONE: No Surrender III, the generational talent Sangmanee faced off power puncher Kulabdam in a ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament semifinals.
Sangmanee was a huge favorite due to his incredible resume. At the age of 15, he won four World Titles at the famous Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Muay Thai stadiums. He has defeated prominent opponents in the likes of Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and Superlek Kiatmuu9. On the other hand, the power puncher Kulabdam is a 2-division titleholder in the prestigious Lumpinee Stadium. However, Kulabdam was the underdog in this fight.
Sangmanee’s famous technique and fight IQ was nullified as he went out cold after absorbing a powerful left cross from Kulabdam, about 20 seconds remaining in the first round. The knockout shocked everyone, especially the world of Muay Thai.
James “Nako” Nakashima vs Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov
James Nakashima a former LFA (Legacy Fighting Alliance) Welterweight Champion was one of ONE Championship’s best prospects. Coming into the fight, Nakashima was undefeated with 12 wins. A 3-fight winning streak in ONE earned him the right to challenge the ONE Championship’s welterweight champion, Kiamrian Abbasov. The two welterweights faced off in ONE: Inside the Matrix II.
At the start of the fight, things did not look good for the champion as Nakashima broke Abbasov’s nose. Though the fight was tight all the way through, Nakashima had seemed to have an edge by causing more damage and being more active. Past four rounds, the challenger seemed to have taken the fight. Abbasov was getting touched constantly and he did not have something in return.
That was until the champion pulled-off a Hail Mary knee that rocked Nakashima. Abbasov did not let Nakashima recover and released an onslaught of strikes and ground-and-pound until the referee jumped in and stopped the fight. In a massive comeback, Kiamrian Abbasov defends his title via technical knockout. If it wasn’t for that terrific knee, there would have been a new Welterweight World Champion in ONE Championship.
Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen vs Thanh Le
Martin Nguyen reigned as the ONE Featherweight World Champion for over 3 years. He has defended his belt thrice in different electrifying ways. Nguyen, a beloved and fan-favorite fighter in all of Asia, had everyone looking up to him against the challenger Thanh Le.
In ONE: Inside the Matrix, where the promotion boasted a card with 4 title fights, Thanh Le authored an upset and captured the ONE Featherweight World Title. Thanh Le had a clear gameplan in this fight. He kept his range and fought long. Martin Nguyen had to receive heavy shots in order to land some back.
In the third round, Martin Nguyen has started to bring the pace. The volume and accuracy of Martin slowly took over the fight, and Thanh Le showed signs of slowing down. Then a huge right straight caught Martin being careless. From that moment on, Thanh Le poured everything he’s got and the champion never got the chance to recover. Thanh Le became the new king.
The knockout was heard all over the world. Martin Nguyen just lost his championship on an upset loss and Fans are left in shock. Nevertheless, this fight holds a huge case as being the possible KO of the year. There is a huge possibility that ONE Championship books a rematch in early 2021, this would be a fight not to be missed!
Featured Photos Credits to ONE Championship
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