A lightweight championship title bout and the debut of former UFC welterweight "Super" Sage Northcutt headline ONE: Enter the Dragon's stacked card.
In the main event, Shinya Aoki returns to the cage just six weeks after winning the lightweight belt at ONE's most high-profile event to date last March. He'll take on 20-year-old phenom Christian Lee, who looks to become the youngest male champion in ONE history. Before their bout, Northcutt takes on former kickboxing and muay thai champion Cosmo Alexandre.
Here is everything you need to know about ONE: Enter the Dragon.
Where and How to Watch
This event will be held Friday, May 17, at the Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
Those in the U.S. can watch the contest for free on B/R Live.
The main card starts at 8 a.m. ET, preceded by an eight-match preliminary card that begins at 5 a.m.
The full card stands as follows:
Shinya Aoki (c) vs. Christian Lee (lightweight world championship)
Nieky Holzken vs. Regian Eersel (inaugural lightweight kickboxing world championship)
Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy vs. Giorgio Petrosyan (featherweight kickboxing world grand prix quarterfinal)
Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex vs. Samy Sana (featherweight kickboxing world grand prix quarterfinal)
Sage Northcutt vs. Cosmo Alexandre
Amir Khan vs. Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev (lightweight world grand prix semifinal)
Kim Kyu Sung vs. Geje Eustaquio (flyweight world grand prix alternate bout)
Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs. Miao Li Tao
Smokin' Jo Nattawut vs. Sasha Moisa (featherweight kickboxing world grand prix quarterfinal)
Alex Silva vs. Yoshitaka Naito
Garry Tonon vs. Yoshiki Nakahara
Dzhabar Askerov vs. Enriko Kehl (featherweight kickboxing world grand prix quarterfinal)
Mei Yamaguchi vs. Meng Bo
Shannon Wiratchai vs. Iurie Lapicus
Daniel Dawson vs. Brown Pinas (featherweight kickboxing world grand prix alternate bout)
Rahul Raju vs. Richard Corminal
Sage Northcutt vs. Cosmo Alexandre
Weight: 170 pounds
ONE Record: 0-0
After being billed as one of the next big things in UFC, Sage Northcutt decided to pass on their latest offer last November and instead opted for a ONE Championship contract in hopes of earning his first-ever mixed martial arts title.
Northcutt is a jack-of-all-trades, embracing the title of mixed martial artist and training in karate, taekwondo, jiu-jitsu and kickboxing under the tutelage of trainer and former UFC fighter Urijah Faber. "Super" went 6-2 during his nearly three-year career with the UFC, earning three finishes and three unanimous-decision victories.
The Texas native has lofty goals set for his time with ONE.
"I want to be the first champion of kickboxing, muay thai and mixed martial arts in ONE history," Northcutt told B/R Live.
He can't look too far into the future, though, as his first test in ONE comes against a former kickboxing and muay thai champion ready to show the 23-year-old it's a lot easier said than done.
Weight: 165 pounds
ONE Record: 0-0
Don't let his record fool you. Cosmo Alexandre is no novice to the combat world. Having competed professionally in muay thai, boxing and kickboxing as well as mixed martial arts, Alexandre owns a combined record of 98-20-1 across all four sports over a 15-year career.
Similar to Northcutt, Alexandre takes great pride in his diverse skill set. The Brazilian offers a mean combination of jabs and knees that could wobble any opponent. However, Alexandre hinted at a potential flaw in an interview with ONE.
"If he stands, it'll be a good fight. It'll be a really good fight."
The one clear deficiency in Alexandre's game is his wrestling, which Northcutt has supposedly been working on quite a bit in preparation for this bout. The seven-time muay thai and kickboxing champion doesn't seem terribly concerned, though.
"I've fought so many guys already," Alexandre said. "I know how it feels when somebody is pressuring you. I don't know if he's felt that already. I don't know if he's fought guys like me. I want to see how he feels when I kick hard his arm or when I knee hard his body."
Alexandre is right when he says Northcutt has never competed against a guy like him. A 6-2 record in UFC is impressive, but the 37-year-old veteran is the most composed striker Northcutt will have faced up to this point.
Super likely won't out-strike the Brazilian, so his best hope of claiming a victory in his ONE debut is taking it to the mat and looking for the submission or at the least controlling the tempo of the match. If Northcutt gets into a striking session with his opponent, it's going to be a very long night. The question is, will Alexandre even give Northcutt the choice?
Alexandre defeats Northcutt by third-round knockout
Shinya Aoki vs. Christian Lee: Lightweight World Championship
Weight: 170 pounds
ONE Record: 9-2
Shinya Aoki is a 16-year veteran who has amassed 27 submission finishes in his career. The Japanese legend now returns to the cage after winning the title just six weeks ago.
Aoki is considered one of the most creative martial artists in the world, having submitted opponents through 10 different holds in the past. He'll look to get Lee on the mat and find his opportunity to capitalize on frankly any body part he sees fit.
Regardless of how big this moment is for both Aoki and ONE, he is not letting the moment get to him, as has always been the case throughout his career.
"I do not like being called a legend," Aoki said in a February press release (via Sportskeeda). "I just want to be an ordinary person, especially outside the ring or cage."
"I'm at my happiest when I'm concentrating on being a martial artist," Aoki said. "Beyond that, I walk about wearing T-shirts and shorts."
Weight: 156 pounds
ONE Record: 11-3
"I think Christian Lee is one of the most promising athletes on the ONE Championship roster. I don't think anyone would say otherwise."
That's a quote from Aoki himself, who heaped praise on the 20-year-old Lee. The Singaporean-based prodigy looks to become the youngest male champion in ONE history on Friday as he gets his second title shot in less than a year. He'll hope this attempt goes better than the first from last May, as he lost by split decision to current featherweight champion Martin Nguyen, who previously held both belts.
Lee's wrestling did a good job of negating Nguyen's striking, but that won't work against Aoki, who loves being on the mat. Lee, who got the finish in all 11 of his wins, must try to keep his distance to pick and choose his opportunities against the wily Aoki.
Lee has a promising future ahead of him. The fact that he's 20 and is already getting a second shot at the title shows he's an exciting competitor and that the ONE brass thinks highly of him.
However, the ageless Aoki will welcome a plucky adolescent potentially overeager to make history under the bright lights. He's incredibly meticulous in the clinch and may just put on a master class for the young Lee en route to his signature arm-triangle choke submission.
Aoki defeats Lee by second-round arm-triangle choke