ONE on TNT: Full Match Card Breakdown and PredictionsApril 5, 2021
ONE Championship begins its "ONE on TNT" series this Wednesday, and it marks the return of Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez. This will be the first time either fighter has competed since the pandemic began.
Headlining ONE on TNT is Johnson's flyweight world championship shot against Adriano Moraes, who has held the title on three separate occasions for nearly five years in total. The card also includes Alvarez taking on No. 2-ranked lightweight Iuri Lapicus and heavyweight sensation Oumar "Reug Reug" Kane facing Mehdi Barghi to open the card.
Here's the full card, a breakdown of each match and predictions for ONE on TNT.
Where and How to Watch
ONE on TNT will take place at Singapore Indoor Stadium starting at 8:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Those in the U.S. can watch the preliminary card on Bleacher Report or B/R MMA Twitter. You can also stream the prelims on B/R Live and the B/R Live YouTube channel.
The three-match main card will be shown exclusively on TNT and Bleacher Report starting at 10 p.m. ET. On the West Coast, the main card will be available on TNT on a delay at 10 p.m. PT.
Main Card (TNT and Bleacher Report, 10 p.m. ET)
(c) Adriano Moraes (18-3) vs. No. 1 Demetrious Johnson (30-3-1)
Rodtang Jitmuangnon (265-42-10) vs. Danial Williams (24-7)
Eddie Alvarez (30-7) vs. No. 2 Iuri Lapicus (14-1)
Preliminary Card (Bleacher Report, B/R MMA Twitter and B/R Live, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Tyler McGuire (12-1) vs. Raimond Magomedaliev (7-1)
Rade Opacic (20-3) vs. Patrick Schmid (11-1)
Oumar Kane (2-0) vs. Mehdi Barghi (4-3)
Main Card Predictions
Adriano Moraes vs. Demetrious Johnson
Originally scheduled to compete in April of last year before the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to those plans, the meeting of Moraes and Johnson was then slated for Feb. 24 until the announcement that these two would meet April 7 on TNT in primetime.
After winning the flyweight world grand prix tournament in October 2019, Johnson became the No. 1 contender for Moraes' title. The former UFC champion is 3-0 at ONE after defeating Yuya Wakamatsu, Tatsumitsu Wada and Danny Kingad on his way to the world grand prix championship. During his time in the UFC, the Kirkland, Washington, resident was flyweight champion for six years and still owns the record for most consecutive title defenses with 11.
For a promotion that hangs its hat on the competitiveness of its smaller weight divisions, his next match against Moraes should highlight just that as one of the most important bouts in ONE history. Johnson's quest to be considered the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial artist of all time will take a major leap with a win over Moraes, who has been close to the top of ONE's talent pool for years now.
However, the night should end with Mighty Mouse claiming his rightful spot as the top flyweight in the promotion.
Johnson via unanimous decision
Eddie Alvarez vs. Iuri Lapicus
Alvarez hasn't competed since defeating Eduard Folayang in the lightweight world grand prix semifinals in August 2019. He was supposed to face Saygid Arslanaliev in the final but pulled out because of injury. A win over Lapicus would propel The Underground King into the lightweight rankings as he vies for a shot at champion Christian Lee.
Alvarez began his ONE tenure with a shocking first-round loss to Timofey Nastyukhin before earning his first win with the promotion against Folayang. He was a UFC lightweight champion before joining ONE and owns a 30-7 record.
The No. 2-ranked lightweight Lapicus is coming off a first-round TKO loss to Lee for the division's title, but he isn't short on confidence heading into his match with Alvarez after claiming he'll end the former champion's career on April 7 during the event's media call.
Alvarez responded as only a wily veteran can.
"I think if you ever threaten me with the ending of my career, at first, you have to get a career," Alvarez laughed. "You haven't been around long enough to even have a career to threaten to take mine away. That's how I feel about that. I think he's green, I think he's young, and I don't think he's been through the situations in my career in fourth and fifth rounds where I just think the experience level is too much."
Alvarez is still a game fighter at 37, but he's struggled with the size of his opponents since moving up from 155 to 170 pounds when joining ONE. Against a submission specialist like Lapicus who's going to grapple with Alvarez at the first opportunity, it could be another tough night for the Underground King.
Lapicus, submission, Rd. 3
Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Danial Williams
Originally scheduled to fight Jacob Smith, Rodtang will now be competing against ONE newcomer Williams. It's going to be a tough ask for the Australian, who took the fight on short notice against perhaps the best muay thai fighter in the world.
As exciting as it'll be to see Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez back on U.S. primetime, fans should be just as thrilled to see Rodtang on this stage. The Thai is always electric and makes an effort to take the fight to his opponent at all times, never giving up an inch.
For a vast majority of U.S.-based fans whose only exposure to muay thai comes from MMA matches, there's no better athlete of the sport to watch for the first time than Rodtang.
Rodtang via unanimous decision
Featured Prelim Fight
Oumar "Reug Reug" Kane vs. Medhi Barghi
An argument can be made that Reug Reug has the highest ceiling of any heavyweight in the world, and that's really saying something for someone two fights into their pro career.
He's got everything you look for early on. His wrestling background in Senegal is outstanding, and the sheer power he showcased against Alain Ngalani in his ONE debut proved that he can win in multiple ways. Barghi, who also comes into this match with a strong wrestling background, should be Kane's toughest test yet as he's yet to compete with someone who's just as comfortable with grappling as he is.
Ultimately, though, Kane's a more well-rounded fighter, and that should get him the victory on April 7.
Kane, TKO, Rd. 1