KEY POINTS

  • ONE on TNT I provided a number of controversial moments
  • Eddie Alvarez lost by disqualification after landing illegal blows to the back of the head
  • Demetrious Johnson was stopped for the first time in his career

ONE Championship, Asia’s biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, put on a rare mid-week fight card for its fans in the United States which aired on TNT. 

As it was an event geared towards American audiences, ONE Championship stacked the card with a pair of American former world champions in pound-for-pound king Demetrious  Johnson and former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

Johnson challenged Adriano Moraes for the ONE flyweight belt, while Alvarez faced former title contender Iuri Lapicus in a bout with serious lightweight championship implications. 

When everything was said and done, the Wednesday night card provided some memorable events but also had more questions than answers. 

Eddie Alvarez vs. Iuri Lapicus Eddie Alvarez was disqualified after landing illegal blows to the back of the head of Iuri Lapicus at ONE on TNT I Photo: ONE Championship

The night got off to quite a rocky start, with Alvarez getting disqualified after he landed multiple blows to the back of the head.

It was an unfortunate ending to the fight as it was clear that Alvarez did not intend to throw illegal blows.

What was more confusing was that the referee did not warn Alvarez, who could not see that he was striking the back of the head. 

It was a bitter pill to swallow for Alvarez, who was likely in line for a title shot had he turned in an impressive performance. 

Members of the MMA community chimed in and expressed their support for the American hard-hitter, as well as their disdain for the result. 



The biggest moment of the night, however, was Johnson’s stunning knockout loss to Moraes. 

Johnson was considered as the best flyweight throughout his UFC stint, and he proved that as he ran through challenger after challenger.

When he was traded to ONE Championship in 2019, Johnson continued to dominate, winning the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix and earning a shot at Moraes and the flyweight crown. 

While Johnson was indeed a heavy favorite, Moraes showed exactly why he was a multiple-time champion in the organization. “Mikinho” landed a clean uppercut that dropped the American spitfire before connecting on a flush knee to the jaw that ended the fight.

It was Johnson’s first career loss by stoppage. 

It was a spectacular finish, but a number of fans in the Western Hemisphere were quite confused as to why a knee to a grounded opponent was allowed. 

In ONE, knees to a grounded opponent are legal, whereas in the UFC, they are not.

In fact, just last month at UFC 259, a knee to a grounded opponent cost Petr Yan the UFC bantamweight championship.  

Aljamain Sterling, the man who ate Yan’s knee and took his title as well, had some stuff to say about the result of the title bout.

The rest of the MMA community also expressed their shock at the stunning finish.