Demetrius Johnson defeated Rodtang in ONE FC’s first mixed rules fight. DJ vs Jonathan Haggerty is now being discussed a possible follow up mixed rules match up.
ONE X: ONE FC’s Historic Mixed Rules Fight
ONE X was the star-studded promotion’s 10th year anniversary event, where six main event worthy fights took place to celebrate the fast rising promotion’s ten years of action. From MMA and submission grappling to kickboxing and Muay Thai, the event showcased the very best ONE FC has to offer.
Not only was every sport within ONE FC’s repertoire represented, but a showdown of historic proportions took place. Capturing combat sports fans’ imagination the world over, the highly anticipated mixed rules fight between MMA flyweight GOAT Demetrius ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson versus ONE FC’s Flyweight Muay Thai Champion, Rodtang ‘The Iron Man’ Jitmuangnon took place during this historic event. The rule set itself was unique to accommodate both disciplines, rounds 1 & 3 Muay Thai, rounds 2 & 4 MMA.
From the first bell, Rodtang’s strategy was sound, as he looked to drop the classic Muay Thai tendency to start slow in the first; it was an absolute necessity that Rodtang pushed hard for the KO whilst the odds were in his favour. Rodtang’s ferocious all-out attack caused Mighty Mouse some adversity, but the ever brilliant Demetrius Johnson was able to keep his defense tight enough to evade being knocked out and even landed some heavy over hands of his own.
With one round in the bank for Rodtang, it was now DJ’s chance to showcase the power of grappling. Making an excellent read on Rodtang’s left hook to take his back and work his way to an RNC finish in the second round. It was fascinating to see the complete change in stance, switching his usual Muay Mat, front foot heavy stance to a karate-esque one (Muay Mat is the term for Thai boxers who utilize heavy boxing and aggressive tactics to overpower the opponent). This change in stance and Rodtang’s knowledge of fighting the correct hand when on the ground showed that the Thai legend has all the makings to diversify his success in combat sports, despite his valiant loss. This begged the question how would DJ vs Jonathan Haggerty fare in another mixed rules fight.
Enter: Jonathan Haggerty
With all the buzz created from DJ vs Rodtang, British Muay Thai ace and former ONE FC Flyweight Muay Thai champion issued a call out to face the victorious DJ. ‘The General’, much like Rodtang, has an impressive KO ratio, and has beaten greats like Sam-A Gaiyanghadao. His action packed rivalry with Rodtang is stuff of legend where both men showcased their unique skill set, with Rodtang getting the better of the Englishman on both occasions.
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Jonathan Haggerty is a classic Muay Femur, using his intellect and technical ability to out-class and out-wit his opposition; a fan favorite style amongst Thais. His crisp boxing, brutal tomahawk elbow and educated teep and feints are enough to give DJ all he can handle in the Muay Thai rounds. This callout is not only a chance to get one back for team Muay Thai, but may serve as a small victory against his rival Rodtang if he was to win.
Adjustment to the Rounds
The round structure was definitely in DJ’s favor. It forced Rodtang to commit to getting DJ out of there as quickly as possible, as come round 2 his chances dropped significantly. Whilst it may look like he had the advantage of going first, this barrage gave a technician like DJ the right amount of time to download the data, gathering information on Rodtang’s most used attacks and tendencies against him (perfectly illustrated by the closing sequence that led to the submission).
Not only that, but it is not like DJ is not a more than competent striker in his own right, again he proved this point in the first round. Therefore, an adjustment needs to be made to even the playing field between the arts, if these mixed rules fights are to stay. If Jonathan Haggerty is to face DJ, then it is fairer to split the rules as follows: rounds 1 & 2 Muay Thai, rounds 3 & 4 MMA. DJ has had an abundance of striking experience, far more than any Muay Thai fighter has in grappling. Not only that, a fight camp worth of grappling will never make up for the gap in experience that DJ holds in this department. His striking is more than adequate enough, to survive and maybe even prosper in the Muay Thai rounds, whilst giving the Nak Muay a chance to showcase his skill set without rushing for the finish.
DJ vs Jonathan Haggerty: How does it go down?
Haggerty is a true technician, able to find holes in anyone’s striking game. If the round sequence was changed to that above, Haggerty finding his mark earlier without having the frantic pressure to KO DJ in the first is a possibility. There is not much doubt that the Englishman will win both rounds, with a KO being a definite possibility due to Haggerty’s power and accuracy. However, DJ is an incredibly skilled striker, whose defensive capability will likely carry him into round 3 where he can then take over the fight from there.
This slight change adds even more pre-fight discussion points and makes predicting the fight more interesting. DJ may still have an advantage due to his mixed martial art background, vertanship, and IQ, but his chances are only high if he can survive the first 2 rounds of Muay Thai.
If the round system for the next potential mixed rules fight between DJ vs Jonathan Haggerty are to stay the same, it will play out very similar to DJ vs Rodtang, which was a fun experiment, but may kill any chance of seeing such events in the future.
Main Photo via ONE Championship.