KEY POINTS

  • "ONE on TNT I" was a bad night for former UFC champions Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez
  • Alvarez lost to Iuri Lapicus by disqualification, while Johnson lost by knockout to Adriano Moraes
  • The future in ONE Championship remains bright for Johnson and Alvarez

On Wednesday night, ONE Championship loaded its "ONE on TNT I" card with two of the biggest names on the promotion's roster in Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez. 

With the midweek offering being geared towards fans in North America, the Singapore-based mixed martial arts (MMA) organization decided to put Johnson and Alvarez --both former UFC world champions--in the card’s marquee bouts.

Given the level that Johnson and Alvarez have reached in their careers, it wasn’t far off to say that the two were highly favored in their "ONE on TNT I" assignments. 

Johnson was challenging reigning ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes, while Alvarez had former title challenger Iuri Lapicus to deal with. 

The beautiful thing about the sport of MMA, however, is that anything is possible. 

Alvarez, who would have likely earned a shot at the ONE lightweight belt if he turned in an impressive win, ended up getting disqualified after landing multiple illegal shots to the back of Lapicus’ head. 

Johnson, meanwhile, suffered the first stoppage loss of his legendary MMA run after being knocked out by Moraes in the second round. 

Demetrious Johnson Demetrious Johnson Photo: ONE Championship

It was, by all accounts, a highly controversial night, from Alvarez’s questionable disqualification loss to Johnson’s stunning defeat. 

The question now is, what’s next for Johnson and Alvarez after "ONE on TNT I?"

With everything considered, Alvarez’s stock likely didn’t take a hit after the contentious setback. More of the blame seems to be going to the referee and to Lapicus.

The third man in the cage is getting some flack for not first reprimanding Alvarez for striking the back of the head and immediately showing him a red card.

Some of the heat is directed towards Lapicus, who people believe took the easy way out by exposing the back of his head instead of defending himself on the ground. 

Alvarez will likely draw another Top 10 or Top 5-ranked lightweight, and if he can win impressively, expect him to be first in line for a world title shot against the winner of the championship clash between Christian Lee and Timofey Nastyukhin.

Johnson, on the other hand, may have taken a small blow in terms of his standing as the best flyweight in the world today, but it’s not like he lost to a random up-and-comer.

Moraes is a three-time flyweight titleholder in ONE Championship, and he showed and proved why on Wednesday. 

“Mighty Mouse” may have come up short against Moraes, but the former pound-for-pound great is still highly favored against any other flyweight in ONE Championship.

If he can string together even just a couple of dominant victories against ranked mainstays in the weight class such as Kairat Akhmetov and Reece McLaren, expect him to run it back with Moraes real soon. 

"ONE on TNT I" may have been a bad night for the former kings of the UFC, but it does not mean that they are out of the running for gold in ONE Championship.