Four titles were on the line at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ tonight and two of them changed hands. The event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium had 250 fans in attendance and they were treated to some fast finishes.
La Nsang seized the centre of the cage and landed a right uppercut. De Ridder had a wide stance and was circling out but a low right kick found its mark, crashing into the left leg of the undefeated Dutchman.
He clearly wanted no part of La Nsang’s striking game and immediately shot for a takedown. It was stuffed but de Ridder’s persistence paid off when he was able to cling on long enough to throw his opponent to the floor.
He instantly took La Nsang’s back and locked in a body triangle. It was a bad spot for the champion who looked extremely relaxed under the circumstances.
De Ridder was unable to improve the position but La Nsang could not escape. A stalemate ensued but with the Dutchman constantly looking for openings for the rear naked choke the referee was never going to stand them up.
Time was on de Ridder’s side and after failing at multiple attempts to get a hand over La Nsang’s face he finally succeeded as the champion tried to stand up. It was an uncomfortable position to be in and many fighters would have tapped to the crank.
La Nsang is made of sterner stuff but when de Ridder finally succeeded in sinking in the rear naked choke he had no option but to tap. With the win he improves to 13-0 and becomes the new ONE middleweight champion while his opponent drops to 26-11-0-1 after losing for the first time since 2017.
It was not a good night for La Nsang’s Sanford MMA teammate Martin Nguyen either. It will be no consolation to the Australian that he lost his featherweight title after one of the most action packed rounds in promotional history.
It was a clash of styles with challenger Thanh Le utilizing a low guard and a wide southpaw stance. By contrast Nguyen kept his hands high and seemed to slightly get the better of the opening two rounds.
Le was constantly backtracking and his counters were being blocked, even if Nguyen couldn’t find the killer blow. The champion went for broke in the third round and Le looked hurt, his movement had slowed and the American looked there for the taking.
That thought was probably going through Nguyen’s mind as he blazed away with right hands but a left hook from the southpaw stopped him in his tracks. The champion shot for a takedown and a scramble ensued but he ate another left followed by a devastating right uppercut.
Nguyen seemed to still be in the fight but his eyes were all over the place and the referee decided to step in at 2:19 and save him from further punishment. Le becomes the new featherweight champion and improves to 12-2 while the Australian drops to 13-4.
He shot for a takedown but ended up on the bottom. Following a scramble Lee got the fight again only for the Moldovan to counter with a leg lock.
It proved a fatal error. Lapicus wound up in a prone position with his head exposed and Lee fired down punches continuously until the referee stepped in to save the challenger at the 2:19 mark.
The win takes Lee to 14-3 and the 22 year old’s stock will rise significantly after another impressive performance. Lapicus drops to 14-1 after tasting defeat for the first time in his career.
Best of the rest
The other title fight was a more mundane affair. Tiffany Teo (9-2) pushed Xiong Jing Nan (15-2) hard in their strawweight rematch but ultimately came up short, dropping a decision to the Chinese champion.
Earlier in the night former lightweight champion Eduard Folayang (22-10) dropped a decision to Antonio Caruso (8-1). Meanwhile atomweight Ritu Phogat (3-0) finished Nov Srey Pov (1-2) with ground and pound in the second round.