American martial arts fans finally got to experience the exhilaration of ONE Championship live and in person last Friday, May 5, with ONE Fight Night 10 on Prime Video.
In the end, the action exceeded all expectations from the opening bell until the final strip of confetti was swept away.
The biggest and brightest stars came out for the event to deliver an unforgettable night of combat sports at 1stBank Center in Denver, Colorado.
Following a card that featured three World Title victories, a number of highlight-reel stoppages, and plenty of drama, here are five of the biggest takeaways from ONE’s historic debut on United States soil.
Triumphant Johnson Teases Return After Flirting With Retirement
ONE Flyweight World Champion Demetrious Johnson entered his trilogy bout against Adriano Moraes with the speculation of retirement hanging over him. And while he didn’t shut the door on that possibility, a new challenger might be too enticing for “Mighty Mouse” to pass up.
Friday’s victory over Moraes was a technical masterpiece. The American MMA legend retained the gold with an impressive unanimous decision that showcased his clinical clinch work and impeccable defense.
Once the decision was read, Kairat Akhmetov emerged. The #2-ranked contender and former divisional king had defeated #4-ranked Reece McLaren earlier in the evening and engaged in a staredown with the pound-for-pound GOAT.
Then at the post-fight press conference, Johnson stated that he’s looking forward to the challenge – although he was quick to add that a final decision has not been reached.
It’s clear that “Mighty Mouse” is riding off into the sunset sooner rather than later. However, the signs from ONE Fight Night 10 appear to show that he could return to the Circle for at least one more dance.
Stamp & Rodtang Shine In U.S. Debuts
All throughout event week, Denver was buzzing for the North American debuts of Stamp Fairtex and Rodtang Jitmuangnon. That buzz turned into a deafening chorus of cheers on Friday when both Thai superstars claimed emphatic stoppage victories.
Stamp was first up. The #1-ranked atomweight mixed martial arts contender enraptured the crowd with her signature “Stamp Dance” entrance and then backed up the hype with a crushing body kick knockout of Alyse Anderson.
It was a memorable moment for the former ONE Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion, who will next compete for the interim atomweight gold in MMA.
Later in the evening, “The Iron Man” received the biggest reaction of the night when he countered Edgar Tabares with a devastating bout-ending elbow.
Chants of “Rodtang” drowned out the sounds of anything else – and even returned briefly when the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion reappeared to take in the main event.
The anticipation of these debuts was only exceeded by the reactions to how each of these athletes performed. Both 25 years old, it’s clear that Stamp and Rodtang have taken true leaps to superstardom in North America
Musumeci Highlights The Rise Of Submission Grappling In ONE
ONE has provided a platform for submission grappling to reach new heights on the global stage, and nobody has taken more advantage of that opportunity than ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion Mikey Musumeci
On Friday, the crowd inside 1stBank Center watched intently as the American worked for various leg locks, constantly keeping IBJJF No-Gi World Champion Osamah Almarwai on the defensive. And once Musumeci transitioned to the back for the bout-ending choke, the roars from the audience echoed off the walls.
“Darth Rigatoni’s” aggressive and exciting style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is helping elevate the sport to a new stratosphere. His latest victory – and the incredible reception it received – was undeniable proof of that growth.
Musumeci is connecting both himself and submission grappling to a new audience. The 26-year-old is still undefeated in ONE while quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in the organization.
Kadestam Walks The Walk With Huge KO Of ‘Robocop’
Former ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian Kadestam may have had some doubters when he made the walk to the Circle on Friday, but he silenced them all with one of the most shocking knockouts of the year.
“The Bandit” used the first round to get a read on highly touted Croatian superstar Roberto “Robocop” Soldic. Then in the second, he put the pressure on Soldic and soon found a home for his crippling power punches.
The former divisional king had promised a KO in this fight – and he backed up his words with a sensational upset that rocked the martial arts scene.
Walking the walk has catapulted Kadestam into a ONE Interim Welterweight World Title shot later this year. With the dominant showcase, the Swedish slugger stole “Robocop’s” thunder and is back where he always believed he belonged.
Northcutt Earns Inspiring Win In Long-Awaited Return
Sage Northcutt exemplified his “Super” nickname at ONE Fight Night 10. Not just because of his first-round submission win over Ahmed Mujtaba, but because it was the culmination of a long, treacherous road back to the Circle.
After a disastrous ONE debut against Cosmo Alexandre four years ago, Northcutt battled through the possibility of retirement. While he recovered, the American dedicated himself to improving his all-around skill set, which showed against Mujtaba.
After being stung by Mujtaba’s jab, the former karate star found his opponent’s leg during a scramble. The heel hook was applied, torqued, and then elicited the stunning tap, leading to a raucous reception from the Denver crowd.
The 27-year-old’s incredible comeback to the global stage will serve as an inspiration for anyone who has dealt with roadblocks in their life. “Super” Sage is the example they can point to and believe that anything is possible with the right amount of hard work, persistence, and determination.