Five Most Shocking One Championship Upsets in 2021

Published 12/28/2021, 11:45 AM EST


ONE Championship is a premium combat sports promotion. They offer high-quality fights in MMA, kickboxing, and Muay Thai, and have a great fan base watching their fights. 2021 was a huge year for the promotion. They had some amazing events which had some of the most competitive fights.

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2021 also saw some of the biggest upsets in combat sports. Many fighters that weren’t given a chance to come out on top, did so in spectacular fashion. Here are some of the biggest upsets in ONE Championship in 2021.

Superbon Banchamek vs. Giorgio Petrosyan

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Giorgio is one of the greatest kickboxers of all time. He has won over 100 fights in his career and before going into the fight against Superbon Banchamek, had only lost twice. Petrosyan is one of the best strikers in the world and was expected by many to win the fight.

However, Banchamek had other plans. He didn’t shy away from striking with the Armenian-born Italian kickboxer. And after a close first round, he spectacularly stopped Petrosyan in the second. Banchamek landed a left hook-high right foot combo and put Petrosyan to sleep. This was hands down one of the biggest upsets of the year.

Adriano Moraes vs. Demetrious Johnson

The result of this fight could be one of the biggest upsets in all of MMA in recent years. Demetrious Johnson is a former UFC flyweight champion and considered of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. He also holds the record for the most consecutive title defenses in UFC history. When ‘Mighty Mouse‘ made a switch to ONE Championship, everyone expected him to become the champion there as well. He started brilliantly and won his first three fights and then got a title shot.

He was the favorite going into the fight and was expected to become the new champ. However, Adriano Moraes didn’t let that happen. After a closely fought first round, Johnson started backing down Moraes, but during an exchange, Moraes landed a right hand, which sent his opponent to the ground. He followed that with a brutal knee to the face which led to the referee stopping the fight. Not many expected Moraes to come out on top, let alone spectacularly, and will always be one of the great upsets in MMA.

Stamp Fairtex vs. Ritu Phogat

Stamp Fairtex and Ritu Phogat met each other at ONE Championship: Winter Warriors in the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix Finals. The winner would’ve gone on to face the champion Angela Lee at a later date. Stamp Fairtex was the favorite going into the fight and she came out on top and won the fight in the second round. However, it was not her winning that can be counted as an upset, but the manner of her win.

In the second round, Phogat took Fairtex down but turned things quickly to her advantage. Phogat comes from a wrestling background and was expected to dominate the fight if it went to the ground. To the ground, it went, but it turned out to be disastrous for her. Fairtex turned things around and tried looking for submissions. The Thai fighter caught Phogat with an armbar and won via submission. It was an unexpected submission victory, as Fairtex is not known for her ground game.

Reinier de Ridder vs. Aung La Nsang 2

This victory shocked the fight fans all over the world. Reinier de Ridder and Aung La Nsang first met inside the circle at ONE Championship: Inside the Matrix in October 2020. Ridder was undefeated coming into the fight and continued that run when he submitted the champion in the first round to become the ONE Middleweight World Champion.

However, the second meeting between the two was an unexpected one. Aung La Nsang’s original opponent back out, ‘The Dutch Knight’ stepped in to fight him on just six days’ notice, this time for the light heavyweight title. However, the Dutch fighter completely dominated the champion over five rounds and became a two-division champion.

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Ok Rae Yoon vs. Eddie Alvarez

Ok Rae Yoon has been on an amazing run since his debut at ONE Championship. The South Korean fighter made his debut in the promotion in April 2021. He fought former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov and put on a clinic. He won the fight via unanimous decision. If this wasn’t impressive enough, he came back to fight in his second fight in less than a month. His second fight was against MMA legend and former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

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The Korean fighter battled all three rounds and came on top via a unanimous decision again. Not many expected Yoon to beat Alvarez, let alone in less than a month removed from his first fight. Since then, he fought once more and won that fight as well and is 3-0 in the promotion.

This has been a great year for ONE Championship and they would want to continue in the same way in 2022. Do you agree with the list? Are there any other upsets that you would include in the list? Let us know in the comments!

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Arunaditya Aima

471 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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