5 must-watch fights at ONE Championship's insane double-header weekend

The five must-watch fights in ONE Championship
The five must-watch fights in ONE Championship's Manila double-header

ONE Championship is making sure that it ends the 2022 calendar year with a bang. The promotion has set up two explosive cards this December in its much-anticipated return to Manila.

ONE on Prime Video 5 kicks off the celebration on December 2 (US primetime) while ONE 164 closes the year out mere hours later.

Existing subscribers of Amazon Prime Video in North America will be able to stream ONE on Prime Video 5 live and for free.

World title matches, in-ring returns, and the culmination of storylines are in store for the mega double-header, and the five matches listed below are sure to captivate anyone during ONE Championship’s year-ending showcase.

#5. Roberto Soldic vs. Murad Ramazanov

There are very few fighters on this planet with as much hype as Roberto Soldic.

The Croatian sensation is yet to make his big league debut, but he’s already being talked about as the next great martial arts icon. Well, Soldic is set to take his first fight in ONE Championship when he faces Russian mauler Murad Ramazanov at ONE on Prime Video 5.

Soldic will surely be in for a rough welcome in ONE Championship against the undefeated Ramazanov this December. The welterweight fighter is 3-0 inside the circle and 11-0 overall.

Nevertheless, Soldic has what it takes to become an absolute superstar in ONE Championship. ‘Robocop’ has 20 wins in his career with 17 of those victories coming via knockout.

While their numbers already speak volumes of what they can do, only a proper fight will truly encapsulate just how exciting Soldic and Ramazanov are.

#4. Kade Ruotolo vs. Matheus Gabriel

Kade Ruotolo is on a brilliant run of form this year and he has a chance of capping it off with another top performance at ONE on Prime Video 5.

The young superstar is set to defend his ONE lightweight submission grappling world title against the debuting Matheus Gabriel in Manila.

Gabriel, who’s making his ONE Championship debut, is one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists of his generation, earning multiple IBJJF championships. He’s also a technical submission grappler with a methodical approach on the mats.

Ruotolo, however, is already a force at just 19 years old. The American grappler recently captured gold in the 77-kilogram division at the 2022 ADCC World Championships this past September.

He then captured the ONE lightweight submission grappling world title at ONE on Prime Video 3 after his submission win over sambo world champion Uali Kurzhev this past October.

Ruotolo and Gabriel’s match will be an interesting watch, especially for submission grappling fans. Gabriel is a patient fighter on the ground, while Ruotolo uses an array of guard passes that haven’t been seen before in the sport.

#3. Allycia Hellen Rodrigues vs. Janet Todd

Allycia Hellen Rodrigues has fought just once in ONE Championship but her debut was nothing short of iconic. The Brazilian striker debuted at ONE: A New Breed in August 2020 to challenge Stamp Fairtex for the ONE atomweight Muay Thai world title in Bangkok.

In an impressive show of force, Rodrigues captured the gold after a split-decision win in Thailand’s capital.

Though she’s taken more than two years off after giving birth to her son Josue, Rodrigues is back and she’s set for a world title unification bout against ONE interim atomweight Muay Thai world champion Janet Todd at ONE on Prime Video 5.

Todd, who also owns the ONE atomweight kickboxing world title, has been on a tear, having won her past seven fights with three of those wins coming by way of knockout.

#2. Joshua Pacio vs. Jarred Brooks

It’s the beef that’s been simmering for more than a year now, and it’s set to hit its conclusion at ONE 164.

Jarred Brooks has been calling out ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio the moment he signed with ONE Championship in late 2021, and the two will finally trade leather in the main event of ONE 164 in Manila.

Pacio, who’s the most successful male strawweight in ONE Championship history, has a combined reign of more than 1,000 days and his last successful defense saw him completely dominate Yosuke Saruta in their trilogy bout.

The third fight between Pacio and Saruta took place at ONE: Revolution in September 2021 and the Filipino star obliterated his rival to get the first-round knockout win.

Brooks, meanwhile, has compiled a 3-0 record in ONE Championship to earn his spot as the No.1-ranked strawweight contender.

The brash American has been utterly dominant in his ONE Championship run and his last win was a first-round submission of South African star Bokang Masunyane at ONE 156 this past April.

#1. Reinier de Ridder vs. Anatoly Malykhin

That all-important zero is about to be taken away in the main event of ONE on Prime Video 5.

Two-division world champion Reinier de Ridder will defend his ONE light heavyweight world championship against ONE interim heavyweight world champion Anatoly Malykhin in what could be one of the best fights this year.

De Ridder, who also holds the ONE middleweight world title, is as dominant a world champion as anyone, going 16-0 in his career and 7-0 in his mixed martial arts fights in ONE Championship.

‘The Dutch Knight’ also has four submission wins inside the circle, with three of those coming in world title fights. De Ridder is also coming off a first-round submission win over Vitaly Bigdash at ONE 159 this past July.

Malykhin, meanwhile, is 11-0 in his career and 3-0 in ONE Championship with all three of those wins coming via knockout.

Though the Russian comes from a wrestling background, he’s more than utilized his fists during his run in ONE Championship. His last victim was Belarusian brawler Kirill Grishenko, whom he knocked out in the second round of their fight to claim the ONE interim heavyweight world title at ONE: Bad Blood this past February.

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Edited by Aziel Karthak
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