This weekend saw one of the biggest events in MMA, ONE Championship: A New Era, to mark the high-profile debuts of Former UFC champions Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez. With Johnson and Alvarez both aiming for glory in their own categories, their results of their fights in Tokyo were vastly different.
Johnson (28-3-1) took on Flyweight Yuya Wakamatsu (10-4) in his and managed to force the Japanese into submission with a strong guillotine choke in 2:40 of the second round. Wakamatsu put up a good fight in the first round, but Johnson dominated the fight and brought Wakamatsu to the ground to secure a win.
“I had a hard time trying to cross the distance carefully and I got caught but when you battle through adversity in life, just like in the cage, you gotta push right through it. He went in for the shot, I put my hips in and he tapped. He woke up and went, ‘What happened, what happened?’ You know I train with the best and that’s the result right there,” said Johnson.
Following the win, Johnson has earned himself a place in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semi-finals.
Alvarez (28-7), however, did not taste the same success as Johnson as his debut did not go as expected. He was up against the Timofey Nastyukhin (13-4), who beat Alvarez with a TKO in the first round at the 4:05 mark. The Russian shocked Alvarez with some blows to the head after causing some damage to his left eye in the initial moments of the fight.
Nastyukhin said, “I feel very good. You know it is my style. I like to finish in the first round by knockout and I did it. I didn’t think too much. I saw he got hurt. I saw the opportunity and I took it.” After this loss, Alvarez is no longer in contention for the lightweight title as Nastyukhin advances into the Championship’s semi-finals.
Both fights provided loads of entertainment despite only one of the Championship’s new major signings walking away with a win and fans will await in excitement to see how Johnson progresses in the competition.
In the straw-weight category, Angela Lee marked her return since suffering from a back injury with a loss to Chinese striker Xiong “Panda” Jingnan. Xiong managed to escape Lee’s signature arm bar in the previous round with a stunning rotation off the cage and sealed a comeback at the end to better her record to 17-1. Xiong eventually landed a critical body shot that hurt Lee and bombarded her with a flurry of punches and kicks until the referee called the fight at 1:37 of the fifth round.
Interviewers asked her if the win meant that she is considered the number one female fighter in Asia, but Xiong maintained a humble stance. “I don’t like labels like that. I just want people to see what I do and to push themselves to their limit like I do.” she answered.
Lee’s record moved to 9-1 after experiencing her first defeat in the MMA competition after attempting to become the first two-division women’s champion in One Championship. She may have to consider moving back to atom-weight finding no success in the straw-weight division.Leave a comment