ONE Championship features a roster full of compelling athletes from all walks of life. As the new year gets underway in the first quarter, a few of these competitors stand out among the rest.
Whether they are undefeated contenders looking to become a champion on a global platform or rising stars looking to breakthrough, these athletes warrant your undivided attention as ONE Championship embarks on their 2020 campaign.
Here are five mixed martial artists you will want to keep tabs on as they make their mark in ONE Championship.
The Moldovan has already punched his ticket to a ONE Championship Lightweight World Title shot with a shocking first-round submission over Marat Gafurov in February, but the unheralded combatant should earn your full attention when he meets Christian Lee at ONE: Infinity 2.
The Team Petrosyan standout is a perfect 14-0 as a professional. More impressive is that Lapicus has earned a finish in each of those 14 outings. 13 of which came in the first round.
The only time Lapicus went beyond the first round was last February when he made his organizational debut against Shannon Wiratchai. However, he found the rear-naked choke finish in the third round. After exclusively competing on the Italian mixed martial arts scene for the first 12 bouts of his career, the Moldovan removed any doubt of his skills by jumping onto the global stage with back-to-back submission stoppages.
Lapicus is a shining example of the worldwide growth of martial arts, and he will have his chance to claim his first World Championship on May 29 against Lee.
Le made his mark through the U.S. regional scene before capturing a divisional title in the LFA in 2018. He was able to showcase his power with seven career knockouts before making his ONE Championship debut in May of 2019.
The power translated and moved him into a position to be a top contender in the featherweight division.
The Louisianan put himself on the ONE highlight reel in his debut with a second-round knee KO against Yusup Saadulaev. When he returned, against the powerful Kotetsu Boku, the 50/50 and MidCity MMA representative finished inside of 90 seconds with another knockout. At ONE: A NEW TOMORROW, Le staked his claim as a top contender with his third consecutive KO over Ryogo Takahashi.
The American has stood out from the pack with his striking and has made himself one of the can’t-miss athletes on the roster. Now he is eyeing a potential title shot against the king of the division, Martin Nguyen.
Reinier de Ridder
Reinier “The Dutch Knight” De Ridder is another finisher to keep tabs on for the remainder of 2020.
The Dutchman began his professional career with 11 straight finishes, eight coming via submission. This included his first two bouts under the ONE Championship banner which earned him a title eliminator against Leandro Ataides at ONE: WARRIOR’S CODE.
Although it was his first career decision, De Ridder got the nod on the judge’s scorecards proving he can go the distance. His finishing prowess and position as the top contender makes De Ridder a central figure to keep tabs on as 2020 rolls along.
Representing Combat Brothers, De Ridder is looking to become the next great mixed martial artist from the Netherlands. Current middleweight champion Aung La N Sang is scheduled to defend his ONE Middleweight World Title against Vitaly Bigdash on April 10, and “The Dutch Knight” will be an interested party waiting in the wings.
The American, “Pretty Boy” Troy Worthen, moved to Singapore to train at Evolve MMA where his skills have developed and he has become one of the fastest rising stars in ONE Championship.
Worthen made his promotional debut in July of 2019 and quickly made an impression with a second-round TKO over Chen Rui. After another TKO victory, Worthen returned at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE against Mark Fairtex Abelardo.
“Pretty Boy” put on a tremendous three-round performance against the leather-tough Kiwi to earn the unanimous decision. After the bout, Worthen said he feels like he is just one more key victory away from challenging ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes for the gold.
The 26-year-old is one of the division’s most exciting artists and has shown both the skill and power it takes to rise to be a contender.
The younger sister of “Super” Sage Northcutt made her ONE Championship debut last November at ONE: EDGE OF GREATNESS with a dominant three-round performance. In a developing women’s flyweight division, she will be a prominent figure in 2020.
Northcutt is a decorated striker with a background in karate, kickboxing, and taekwondo. However, she is developing an all-around game and is currently a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well.
The Treigning Lab flyweight utilizes her reach effectively and makes it difficult for her opponents to get into range. She throws with volume but has power that can end the fight in a moment’s notice.
As the Texan hopes to stay active in 2020, watch her development as a complete martial artist that could allow her to become the first Northcutt to net a World Championship.