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3 to Watch in ONE Championship Second Half of 2021

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Although the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has remained a part of our everyday lives, ONE Championship has brought martial arts action to the global stage this year with many exciting events.

3 Fights to Keep an Eye on in ONE Championship Cage

New champions have been crowned, new faces have arrived on the scene, and there has been a myriad of back-and-forth battles. But after six months, what’s next? What is it that we should see in the second half of the year?

That is exactly what we are going to examine. We already know the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix is on tap, but there are more fascinating matchups to be had with the talented roster who are waiting to step back inside the Circle.

Here are three matches we need to see in ONE before the close of the year.

Shinya Aoki vs. Sage Northcutt

A bout between Shinya Aoki and “Super” Sage Northcutt was initially scheduled to go down during the ONE on TNT event series. However, Northcutt had to withdraw. The Japanese legend was rescheduled against Eduard Folayang to cap off their trilogy, and the submission ace did what he does best.

That could have been all, but a social media interaction led to this being one of the hottest bouts to book in 2021.

Northcutt, bubbling with his trademark positivity, tried to congratulate Aoki on the victory. However, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion did not respond with the same kindness leaving Northcutt to reply, “I’m going to make you eat those words. Literally.”

In a stacked division, there is perhaps no better bout to book right now. This intriguing clash of personalities and styles is fascinating, and it deserves a proper platform.

Thanh Le vs. Garry Tonon

Thanh Le stunned Martin Nguyen to capture the ONE Featherweight World Championship, and although he has no shortage of contenders, there is one man who stands out from the pack.

Undefeated submission ace Garry Tonon is the right opponent to get the first crack at Le. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion has looked outstanding in his young mixed martial arts career and is coming off his biggest test to date, which he passed with flying colors. He has earned his shot.

The shot is also a way for Le to validate his standing. If he can put the first loss on Tonon’s career and avoid the ground, Le firmly establishes his spot in the world today.

There are huge bouts to make for the reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion, but the most compelling is a clash with Tonon. Questions about both men would be answered, and the victor exits as the undisputed king.

John Lineker vs. Bibiano Fernandes

Bibiano Fernandes has been a longtime force in the bantamweight division, and since arriving in ONE, he has been at the head of the table. His career in ONE has seen his fair share of battles, and now his biggest one awaits.

John Lineker entered the organization as an immediate threat to the title. He picked up a debut victory to set up a marquee match against Kevin Belingon. After a knockout performance, he jumped to the front of the line. On the ONE on TNT series, Lineker shined with a thrilling knockout of Troy Worthen to be the unquestioned #1 contender.

Perhaps the most interesting prospect of the matchup is how Lineker would handle the versatile skill set of the champion.

Fernandes poses threats on every level, but the sheer power of Lineker may make him hesitant to engage on the feet. It is a top-tier matchup that could be one of the most highly anticipated in the second half of 2021. Fernandes vs. Lineker for the gold is can’t-miss, guaranteed fireworks.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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