Best Comebacks Of 2023: Five Athletes Who Shocked The World When The Going Got Tough

These incredible martial artists redefined what it means to fight til the end.

Best Comebacks Of 2023: Five Athletes Who Shocked The World When The Going Got Tough

There aren’t many things more spectacular in sports than a dramatic comeback – and ONE Championship’s elite martial artists offered up some incredible ones in 2023. 

It takes a lot of courage to rebound from being hurt or down on the scorecards, and that’s why fans are so enamored when a competitor can grasp victory from the jaws of defeat.  

Here are five of the most memorable comebacks from ONE’s mixed martial arts and striking ranks last year, comebacks that showed the physical and mental fortitude of these incredible athletes.  

Lineker KOs Kim With 4 Seconds On The Clock 

“The Fighting God” Kim Jae Woong looked like he might take the biggest scalp of his career when he faced John “Hands of Stone” Lineker in a 151-pound catchweight MMA bout at ONE Fight Night 13

Kim took on the former ONE Bantamweight MMA World Champion in a battle that most expected to solely play out on the feet, but the South Korean shocked his rival by taking Lineker down in the opening stanza. 

“The Fighting God” dominated from top position and put Lineker in some tough spots, but the grizzled Brazilian veteran showed his grappling savvy to survive the round. 

From there, “Hands of Stone” grew into the match and began to shrug off the takedown attempts while winging heavy punches. 

This paid off in the dying seconds of the final frame as Lineker took advantage of his weary foe. The heavy-handed slugger flattened Kim with a left hook and sealed the deal with a barrage of punches on the ground.

Abelardo Snuffs Out Shahruramazanov Following Two Knockdowns

Mark “Tyson” Abelardo notched his second TKO win in a row when he faced Georgy “Tiger” Shahruramazanov in a 146.8-pound catchweight MMA contest at ONE Friday Fights 38. 

However, the Russian gave Abelardo a couple of scares before “Tyson” was able to come back from the brink late in round two.  

Shahruramazanov dropped the New Zealander with almost identical spinning wheel kicks in rounds one and two and followed his man to the ground to continue his offense. 

Somehow, Abelardo had the reserves to get back to his feet the second time, where he landed a crunching left hook on “Tiger’s” jaw before earning the TKO with a flurry of ground-and-pound.  

Freymanov Rebounds From Early Scare To Submit Zoltsetseg 

It didn’t take long for Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg to put Ilya Freymanov on the mat in their featherweight MMA battle. 

The Mongolian slugger sent Freymanov reeling with a volley of punches and tried to secure a finish in the first 30 seconds, but the durable Russian managed to hold on and find his way back to his feet.  

From there, the 28-year-old turned the tables, battering Shinechagtga with knees to return the favor and make his foe feel the canvas on his back.  

Unlike his rival, Freymanov didn’t let the Zorky MMA man off the hook. First, he bludgeoned him with heavy punches, and then he jumped on a rear-naked choke to get the tapout win in their fast-but-furious encounter.  

Lobo Crushes Saemapetch After Trip To Canvas

It looked like Saemapetch Fairtex was on his way to victory in his bantamweight Muay Thai clash with Felipe “Demolition Man” Lobo at ONE Fight Night 9, but the hardy Brazilian was not ready to quit.  

Saemapetch stayed in control and put “Demolition Man” on the seat of his pants with a left hook in round two. While Lobo managed to get back up, the Thai star kept up his pressure as he aimed for his third consecutive win.  

With one round left to try to take something from the match, the Brazilian kept coming forward – and finally, he got his reward. 

A hard right hand buckled Saemapetch’s legs and Lobo knew the moment was his. He unleashed a salvo of punches to the dazed Fairtex man, who slumped to the canvas unconscious under the weight of the powerful barrage

Ten Pow Survives Knockdown To Scorch Han 

Earlier that same night, Asa “The American Ninja” Ten Pow engineered another incredible comeback in his 149.5-pound catchweight Muay Thai fight with Han Zi Hao

After a blistering start, Han dropped “The American Ninja” with a left hook in round two.  

Ten Pow dragged himself off the canvas and immediately tried to fire back with heavy punches of his own to show that he wasn’t ready to go quietly into the night.  

In round three, the American waded toward his Chinese opponent with intent, hurting him with a hard right hand that had Han on wobbly legs. 

Ten Pow unloaded with a nonstop barrage of strikes to get the job done, and despite the teak-tough 28-year-old somehow managing to stay on his feet, the referee jumped in to save him from any more damage