Alexis Nicolas might be undefeated but few people outside of France knew who the French fighter was when he was handed a shot at lightweight kickboxing champion Regian Eersel. He will be a lot more recognizable now, having beaten the Dutchman by decision in the ONE Fight Night 21 main event.

Nicolas has never lost a fight and immediately set about punishing Eersel with low kicks. The champion did not look comfortable and the cumulative damage soon started to add up.

In the second round Nicolas gave Eersel a mountain to climb when he knocked him down with a glancing right hand. The Dutch fighter beat the count but was well behind on the scorecards heading into the third.

Back foot

Eersel has recovered from knockdowns before but Nicolas is very comfortable fighting off the back foot. As the champion looked to put together punching combinations he circled out and countered with some crisp jabs and low kicks.

They met in the middle of the ring at the start of the fifth round in an intense exchange. Nicolas matched Eersel in these moments but then thought better of it and spent the final minutes on the back foot.

The scorecards were extremely close with two judges having the fight 46-47, dead even. But under ONE Championship rules they were asked to pick a winner and both voted in favour of Nicolas, who also got the nod by 49-46 from the third judge.

Submission grappling

In the co-main event Tye Ruotolo submitted Isaak Michell with an arm in rear naked choke after 4:43. He picked up a $50,000 USD bonus and successfully defended his welterweight submission grappling title for the first time.

ONE Fight Night 21, Bangkok, April 6th
Kickboxing: Alexis Nicolas def. Regian Eersel via Decision (Unanimous)
Submission Grappling: Tye Ruotolo (c) def. Izaak Michell via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 4:43 of R1
Muay Thai: Suablack Tor Pran49 def. Vladimir Kuzmin via Decision (Unanimous)
MMA: Ben Tynan def. Duke Didier via TKO (Punches) at 2:36 of R1
Muay Thai: Denis Puriฤ‡ def. Jacob Smith via Decision (Unanimous)
Submission Grappling: Kade Ruotolo def.Francisco Lo via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 4:48 of R2
Kickboxing: Dedduanglek Teeded99 def. Taiki Naito via Decision (Unanimous)
MMA: Hiroyuki Tetsuka def. Valmir da Silva via Submission (North-south choke) at 3:34 of R2
Muay Thai: Songchainoi Kiatsongrit def. Nicolas Leite Silva via Decision (Unanimous)
MMA: Jeremy Pacatiw def. Wang Shuo via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 2:07 of R1