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Why knees to a downed opponent are allowed in ONE but not UFC

Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan (left); Demetrious Johnson (right)
Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan (left); Demetrious Johnson (right)
Prathik John
Modified 08 Apr 2021

The UFC has shown great disdain towards kneeing a downed opponent. Although many brand the move to be illegal, there does exist a fine line of difference in the rule books across promotions.

This came to light during the most recent ONE flyweight championship title bout between Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes.

During an exchange in the second round of the fight, 'Mighty Mouse' found himself on the ground in a poor position. After holding Johnson down and waiting to pick his shot, Moraes landed a vicious knee that landed flush on Johnson's chin. That was all she wrote.

Following Demetrious Johnson's first knockout loss in the sport, many were shocked at the result. In addition, few were able to comprehend the legality of the move. That was until Ariel Helwani took to Twitter in an attempt to explain the situation.

“Finish of the DJ fight. Brutal knee. And yes, that knee is legal in ONE but not in the US when abiding by the Unified Rules.”

What's the difference in rules between the UFC and ONE?

According to the rule books, ONE uses the Global Martial Arts Rule Set For Competition versus the Unified Rules abided by the UFC.

While former UFC welterweight Ben Askren has shown a preference for the ONE rules, UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is of another opinion.

Citing the illegal knee strike during his UFC title bout against Petr Yan, this is what the 31-year old had to say:

"This is why knees to downed opponents are vicious and ILLEGAL in MMA in the UFC! If this was the USA that knee is not allowed and Mighty Mouse can get up in a more safe and protective manner. I hope Mighty Mouse is ok, but this is why I disagree with those rules."

Demetrious Johnson has been an advocate for grounded knees even in his previous bouts at ONE. Posting not too long ago about the subject matter, he said:

"Heres the thing you cant stall the fight by sitting on your knees. Knees to a grounded opponent should be allowed!"

Addressing his fans after the fight, Demetrious Johnson seemed mature about the first knockout loss of his career. Taking to Twitter, he said:

'All good everyone back in the hotel. watch the fight. shitty day in the office. congratz to @adrianomkmoraes we will be back."

What do you think about the difference in rules between the two famed promotions? Be sure to leave us with your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!

Published 08 Apr 2021, 15:08 IST
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