ONE on TNT II: Main Card Predictions

Tom Taylor@@TomTayMMAContributor IApril 13, 2021

ONE on TNT II: Main Card Predictions

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    Image provided by ONE Championship

    ONE Championship returns to TNT on Wednesday evening with a sparse but compelling fight card.

    The aptly titled ONE on TNT II event, which will air at 10 p.m. ET, will be topped by a lightweight title fight between increasingly impressive champion Christian Lee and Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin.

    Lee will be looking to defend his title with a sixth consecutive win, while Nastyukhin will be keen to build on the momentum of recent defeats of Eddie Alvarez and Pieter Buist. 

    The ONE on TNT II card was originally expected to be co-headlined by a featherweight fight between former champion Martin Nguyen and rising contender Kim Jae Woong, but that fell through due to the promotion's health and safety protocols.

    The two-fight main card will now be rounded out by a muay thai firefight between California's Janet Todd, who holds the ONE atomweight kickboxing title, and ultra-experienced Norwegian Anne Line Hogstad. 

    Here's what you can expect from this intriguing doubleheader on TNT.

Christian Lee vs. Timofey Nastyukhin

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    This fight provides further evidence that the lightweight division is among the best in all of MMA.

    ONE lightweight champion Lee and Nastyukhin, the promotion's No. 2-ranked lightweight contender, are both world-class talents and more than capable of hanging with the top dogs in other promotions like the UFC and Bellator.

    As for the outcome of a fight between them? That's not easy to predict.

    One way or the other, Lee figures to have his hands full. Nastyukhin is a lethal striker, capable of ending things in devastating fashion at a moment's notice, as he proved when he famously shut the lights out on former UFC and Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez in 2019.

    That being said, Lee should have all the skills required to win this fight. Not only is he a polished enough striker to avoid making any horrendous mistakes against Nastyukhin, but he also has the grappling skill to make this fight very uncomfortable for the challenger. 

    Look for Nastyukhin to start head-hunting from the moment this fight begins, and for Lee to respond by initiating tie-ups and takedowns. Once the grappling exchanges start rolling, the champion will eventually find the opening for his fifth stoppage in six fights. It could be a submission—Nastyukhin has tapped out twice before—but Lee's smothering top control and ground-and-pound make a TKO the more likely result. 

    Prediction: Lee via TKO, Rd. 3

Janet Todd vs. Anne Line Hogstad

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    Former ISKA muay thai champion Hogstad is quite good, but this fight on TNT feels like a showcase for Japanese-American star Todd. 

    Todd, an aerospace engineer by day, is the ONE atomweight kickboxing champion and has also been dominating the competition in muay thai. There's no reason to assume that changes in this fight with the experienced Hogstad, who has close to 20 losses on her combat sports resume.  

    Look for Todd to establish herself as the faster and more powerful woman in the early going, just like she did in her recent decision win over former title challenger Alma Juniku. 

    A little over nine minutes later—ONE kickboxing fights are contested over three, three-minute rounds—she'll be having her hand raised, further cementing herself as one of the top female strikers on the ONE roster. 

    Prediction: Todd via unanimous decision