3 Things We Learned From ONE: Winter Warriors
ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Regian “The Immortal” Eersel defended his gold against Islam Murtazaev in the main event, but it was not an easy task. Eersel used his savvy to take over and retain the strap through the championship rounds.
But what else transpired inside the confines of the Circle? Quite a bit, actually. The undercard was stellar, with highlight-reel finishes and contenders stating their case to be next-in-line.
These are three important things we learned from ONE’s first event of December.
Stamp Fairtex Is Ready For Lee
The final of the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix was a compelling story of two young stars rising to meet each other from opposite ends of the spectrum. Stamp Fairtex, a former ONE Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion, meeting Ritu Phogat, an Indian wrestling phenom.
As they both developed their game, Stamp showed that she was just a bit ahead as she stuffed takedowns and out-grappled the wrestler on the canvas by attacking with submissions. Stamp secured an armbar to get the win and picked up the silver belt along the way.
Now she turns her attention to Angela Lee and the ONE Atomweight World Championship. Her victory at ONE: Winter Warriors was not only important due to the tournament win but showed she is ready for this challenge.
Stamp is a world-class striker and is now out-grappling lifelong grapplers. There is no denying she is the top contender and an elite mixed martial artist. Lee will have to be prepared for the challenge because Stamp is no longer to be considered one-dimensional. The Thai star is fully capable of dethroning her and achieving a historic mark as a three-sport World Champion.
Dagi Is Back
Saygid Guseyn “Dagi” Arslanaliev and Timofey Nastyukhin ran it back, and Dagi ended the bout with the same result. It was another knockout victory that signaled his return to the Circle in a big way.
The performance also thrust Dagi back into the conversation for the ONE Lightweight World Championship. If Ok Rae Yoon, the reigning king, and Christian Lee are on a collision course for their own rematch, it is Dagi who is waiting in the wings.
Arslanaliev showed why he is one of the most exciting athletes in the sport, but also why he is one of the top lightweights as well. He’s earned a shot at the gold in 2022. Who will it be against? Time will tell.
Buchecha Is A Contender
Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida may just be beginning his mixed martial arts journey, but he is not a neophyte. The Brazilian entered ONE with a laundry list of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships and grappling accolades. Before he even debuted, he was considered a possible title threat if he could establish his BJJ skills inside the Circle.
Through two quick performances, he has confirmed that thought. His first-round submission over previously unbeaten Kang Ji Won at ONE: Winter Warriors was a confirmation that he is as good as advertised.
Almeida still has room to grow his striking and offensive wrestling, but once he gets his hands around any opponent, it becomes a dire situation. Kang found that out. Buchecha is focused on learning and getting better, but his performances have him zeroing in on ONE Heavyweight World Championship contention in 2022. It seems to be coming sooner than later.