ONE Championship’s third quarter featured a bevy of exciting martial arts action. There were exciting bouts across mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, and kickboxing, which made narrowing the list of the top performances difficult.
Top 5 Performances of the 3rd Quarter in ONE Championship
Former World Champion Dejdamrong’s finish of Banma Duoji did not make the cut. The incredible back-and-forth action of Stamp Fairtex vs. Alyona Rassohyna II came up just short. And Ok Rae Yoon’s ONE Lightweight World Championship upset over Christian Lee is on the outside looking in.
So, which athletes grabbed the spotlight? Here are the five best performances from the third quarter of ONE’s 2021 slate.
Victoria Lee Adds Wins 2 & 3
Teenage sensation Victoria “The Prodigy” Lee followed in her sibling’s footsteps and joined ONE in 2021. The dynamic talent showed her skills and added her second and third professional wins in the third quarter.
In her second outing, she met Wang Luping at ONE: Battleground. Lee showed her family’s mindset of finding the quickest finish and going for it. In just over three minutes of work, Lee got the action to the mat and applied an armbar for the tap.
At ONE: Revolution, Lee returned against fellow undefeated atomweight Victoria Souza. The Brazilian was a bit more of a puzzle for the 17-year-old, but she quickly solved the riddle and came out on fire in the second round. Lee got a TKO with rapid ground and pound before the final minute of the stanza.
Growing as a martial artist is a maturation process, and Lee is just beginning her journey. However, from what we have seen thus far, she is for real and will be a treat to watch each time she steps inside the Circle to compete.
Aung La N Sang’s Epic KO Return
Former two-division World Champion Aung La N Sang began his road to redemption at ONE: Battleground against the heavy-handed Brazilian Leandro Ataides.
The match was quick but wild. Both men went out slinging heavy leather, and it was “The Burmese Python” who got the better of the exchanges.
In a classic showing, Aung La N Sang got his prey against the Circle wall and unleashed a beautiful combination ending with a crippling right hook that sent Ataides crashing to the canvas. The victory was pivotal for the Myanmar superstar’s future hopes in the middleweight division.
With a sterling comeback victory, Aung La N Sang recaptured some of the momentum he lost in 2020, proving his championship mettle still resides within his heart.
Sitthichai vs. Tawanchai Shine
2021 has also delivered amazing ONE Super Series action, and that was never as much on display as the main event of ONE: Battleground III when Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong and Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym met inside the Circle.
The speed of Tawanchai was evident early, but Sitthichai scored with his hard low leg kicks before mixing in his punches later in the round. The close encounter continued in the second frame, where Sitthichai, competing in Muay Thai for the first time in seven years, laced in a couple of elbows on his opponent.
Sitthichai landed more clean blows in the final round, but Tawanchai was there along the way with his own offense. However, two of the three judges gave the edge to the Sitsongpeenong representative with a split decision win.
Two of the pound-for-pound best strikers put on a thrilling show at ONE: Battleground III. Now, Sitthichai returns to kickboxing in the 2021 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix on October 15 at ONE: First Strike.
Ritu Phogat’s Remarkable Comeback
In the opening round of the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix, Ritu Phogat got a step-up in competition when she met #2-ranked contender Meng Bo. It was a prime opportunity to show the world she was ready for the elite, and she did so in dramatic fashion.
In the first round, Meng Bo looked the part of the superior athlete. Her cracking power hurt “The Indian Tigress” and seemed as if she would cruise to a first-round knockout. But Phogat managed to survive and even ended the first round on top.
The crowd came alive as Phogat turned the tide on the action. She put her grappling advantage to the test and outworked Meng Bo over the next two rounds. It was an incredible turn of events that elevated Phogat to a new level with fans while pushing her into the semifinals of the tournament.
The win was almost secondary to the performance itself because it was the definition of a star-making showcase. Phogat proved she would not wilt under any duress and now enters as one of the favorites to win the entire ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix.
Joshua Pacio Adds Another Finish
The ONE Strawweight World Championship was on the line at ONE: Revolution, but the title tilt was also the deciding bout in the series between Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and Yosuke Saruta.
As one of the most exciting divisions in the sport, both men showed out in the three bouts to put their names on the map to the global audience, but it was Pacio who got the last laugh in September with a first-round finish.
The victory captured widespread attention, including from WWE announcer Corey Graves. It also cemented his status as the best strawweight in the world as the list of contenders waiting for their shot grows.
Pacio’s victory firmly puts him at the top of the food chain and as one of the sport’s most exciting finishers.