One on TNT IV: Main Card Predictions

Tom Taylor@@TomTayMMAContributor IApril 27, 2021

One on TNT IV: Main Card Predictions

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    Image provided by ONE Championship

    ONE Championship will conclude its four-event stint on TNT this Wednesday—and the Singapore-based martial arts promotion will do so in style. 

    The ONE on TNT IV card will be topped by a light heavyweight title fight between the division's reigning champion, Aung La N Sang, and the promotion's middleweight king Reinier de Ridder. The bout will be the sequel of an October fight that De Ridder won by first-round submission to win middleweight gold. The matchup is plenty interesting based on those circumstances alone, but it is given a little extra oomph by the fact that De Ridder accepted the fight on less than a week's notice, replacing N Sang's original challenger, Vitaly Bigdash.

    The ONE on TNT IV card will be co-headlined by a lightweight fight between former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and rising South Korean contender Rae Yoon Ok. The bout will mark Alvarez's opportunity to rebound from a disappointing no-contest against Iuri Lapicus at ONE on TNT I, which was originally ruled a DQ loss for the American after he landed a series of inadvertent illegal strikes to the back of his foe's head.

    The event's three-fight main card will be rounded out by a heavyweight fight between Senegalese wrestler Oumar Kane—better known as "Reug Reug"—and Belarusian finisher Kirill Grishenko.

    Keep scrolling to see how we see these three dynamite matchups unfolding.

Aung La N Sang vs. Reinier De Ridder II

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    Aung La N Sang was heavily favored to win his first fight with Reinier De Ridder, which went down last October with the ONE middleweight title on the line. The Burmese Python was on a seven-fight win streak—all finishes—capped by a knockout win over Brandon Vera. He had momentum on his side, and all signs pointed to him extended his streak. 

    Instead, De Ridder promptly grounded the former two-division champion, took his back and stole his middleweight belt with a first-round submission. It was frankly shocking to see a fighter who had been so dominant be defeated so emphatically.

    Heading into the pair's rematch, most sensible people believe De Ridder will defeat Aung La N Sang again, and swipe his last remaining title—the light heavyweight belt—in the process.

    As bad as Aung La N Sang looked in his first fight with De Ridder, however, I believe he'll even the score in this do-over. Not only is he far better than that first fight suggested, but he's also assured me he's spent the time since diligently sharpening his ground game alongside the likes of Gilbert Burns and Brendan Allen at Sanford MMA in South Florida. 

    This time around, he'll stop the takedowns and force De Ridder into a firefight—just like most people thought he would the first time around. From there, the knockout is all but inevitable.

    Aung La N Sang via KO, Rd. 3

Eddie Alvarez vs. Ok Rae Yoon

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    Eddie Alvarez took on Iuri Lapicus on the first ONE on TNT card—but the fight ended in disaster. After grounding Lapicus early in the first round, he unleashed a volley of punches that seemed to land, in part, on the back of his foe's head. That inadvertent foul earned him a red card, meaning he left the cage with a new an ugly disqualification loss on his record. 

    With that loss now being ruled a no-contest, ONE has re-booked Alvarez for a fight with South Korean contender Ok Rae Yoon, who picked up an impressive win over former featherweight champ Marat Gafurov at ONE on TNT III.

    While this short-notice fight is risky for Alvarez, it does feel like bit of a freebie for the former UFC and Bellator lightweight king. Ok is very well-rounded but has earned the majority of his 13 wins by decision and is therefore unlikely to hit Alvarez with anything lethal. Throw in Alvarez's almost immeasurable experience advantage—the man has been fighting the sport's biggest names on its biggest stages for well over a decade—and this feels like his fight to lose.

    He'll have to be careful, but eventually he'll get the fight to where he wants it and put a bow on it with a nice finish. 

    Alvarez via submission, Rd. 2

Oumar Kane vs. Kirill Grishenko

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    Oumar "Reug Reug" Kane is one of the most hyped prospects on the ONE roster, and it's easy to understand why. The Senegalese wrestler is an absolute giant and has made quick work of the first three men he's encountered in mixed martial arts competition.

    That being said, Reug Reug has looked every bit as raw as he is, particularly in the striking department. He routinely closes the distance with wild, looping punches—the kind that could be countered by even a novice striker and certainly by his ONE on TNT IV foe, Kirill Grishenko.

    Reug Reug's rookie mistakes are going to get him into trouble eventually. It could even happen this fight, in front of the throngs of fans tuning in on TNT. However, the more likely outcome still feels like another Reug Reug smash fest.

    Reug Reug via TKO, Rd. 1