It will be an all-American main event when Thanh Le and Garry Tonon collide in the main event of ONE: Lights Out on Friday, March 11.
The battle for the ONE Championship featherweight crown pits two of the most exciting finishers in the game opposite one another, and their path to this moment has been built through their own separate specialist styles.
Thanh Le And Garry Tonon Finished Their Way To Main Event
#2-ranked contender Tonon is a multiple-time BJJ World Champion, and he made the move to mixed martial arts in 2018 against Richard Corminal. The bout lasted less than two rounds and ended with Garry Tonon utilizing ground and pound for a TKO finish.
However, he would return to his submission stylings for his subsequent two victories in 2018 as he inched his way closer to contendership within the division. In March 2019, he got his second TKO finish over Anthony Engelen.
It would be here that the matchup, which headlines ONE: Lights Out, began to take shape as both men competed in May 2019.
First up, it was Le, in his ONE debut, with a stunning second-round knockout over Yusup Saadulaev. After dispatching a top challenger, the impact performance immediately thrust Le into the title hunt.
But for Tonon, it was still about building his all-around game and improving as a complete martial artist. Two weeks after the Louisiana native’s organization debut, Garry Tonon grabbed victory #5 with a 55-second heel hook against Yoshiki Nakahara.
But fans would not see Garry Tonon compete against until December 2020.
In his absence, Le’s thunderous knockouts continued.
In August 2019, the American striker completed an 88-second KO over Kotetsu Boku. When he returned in January 2020, Le got another first-round knockout, this time over Ryogo Takahashi, to lay claim to being the division’s top contender.
When Le got his chance at gold in October 2020 against Martin Nguyen, he cashed in with one of the most exciting bouts of the year. It culminated with a calculated barrage of strikes that sent Nguyen reeling before the referee stepped in to stop the action.
Two months later, Garry Tonon returned for his first matchup against then-ranked #3 Koyomi Matsushima. Although a finish didn’t come, Tonon was still in control throughout the bout and proved he was ready for a title shot after moving his professional record to a clean 6-0.
And that is how we got to this moment.
Each man blazed their path to ONE: Lights Out with an unblemished record in ONE using their greatest tools. Le’s dynamite power and quick hands led him to the top of the mountain, while Tonon’s unique and dynamic grappling allowed him to slowly improve his complete tool kit.
At ONE: Lights Out, these two elite athletes will determine who is the top dog and which style is most effective within the Circle.
This is a chess match fans cannot afford to miss.
ONE: Lights Out will air live and free on Friday, March 11, on ONE’s YouTube channel and ONE Super App at 6:00 a.m. EST/3:00 a.m. PST.