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5 takeaways from ONE: Only the Brave

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ONE Championship were back today with ONE: Only the Brave, an event which although it was hit by cancellations as always, still saw us able to tuck into an 11 fight card! With the semi finals of the featherweight kickboxing grand prix and some big contests in terms of divisional standings, here are 5 takeaways from ONE: Only the Brave.

Kondratev can upset at featherweight

Kondratev may not be a huge name In a shark tank of featherweight kickboxers, but with a superb finish over the previously undefeated Dovydas Rimkus, he’s certainly shown he has upset potential. Obviously he has bags of kickboxing ability, but what’s most noticeable is that always threatening fight ending power. Even in his ONE debut loss to Pound for pound staple Marat Grigorian, Ivan’s power shone through, putting the Armenian down, a man who’s renowned for being able to take a hit. Although he finds himself in argueably the most stacked kickboxing division of all time, Kondratev has shown he’s never out of the fight, something to keep in mind going forward. He can land, he can hard and he can certainly stir up that division.

Brooks is belt bound

UFC veteran Jarred Brooks may have only debuted for ONE in January with a round 2 submission over Lito Adiwang, but with a huge unanimous decision victory over today over #4 ranked strawweight Hiroba Minowa, he looks to be on a direct path to ONE gold.
He may possess a set of underrated a deceptively fast hands, but its no secret Brooks’ bread and butter is his suffocating wrestling base. He’s used this imposing tool to tear through his ONE opposition thus far and looks to face strawweight King Joshua Pacio next time out. If he sticks to his strengths and matches the pace he’s been setting in recent outings, you can’t help but think he’s going to be a nightmare for all the top strawweights and flyweights ONE have to offer.

Opacic is the uncrowded king at heavyweight.

ONE’s heavyweight kickboxing division may not be the deepest division they have, but ONE things for sure, Rade Opacic is the uncrowded king. ONE bring in new heavyweights and Opacic just keeps knocking them down. He continued his impressive streak today with a second round TKO over a game Francesko Xhaja. Since joining ONE, Opacic is 4-0, all 4 being second round stoppages credit to his heavy hands and composed yet very intelligent kickboxing style for a man who’s just 24 years of age. Body work, head shots, leg kicks, you name it Rade sprinkles his whole arsenal into these contests which makes him so unpredictable and dangerous. Yet to be challenged, expect this Serbian to continue adding to an already violent highlight reel as he surges toward that gold strap.

Zhang Lipeng is DANGEROUS

We were initially impressed with the experienced Lipeng after his debut unanimous decision victory over former champ Eduard Folyang last August. Fast forward to earlier today he wasted no time forcing his name into lightweight contention, flatlining a confident Ruslan Emilbek Uulu in just 32 seconds with a vicious two piece. Lipeng is showing it all, he can go the distance imposing a well rounded game and he harbours that killer instinct and power to end the fight in an instant. A very exciting addition to an electric lightweight roster, don’t be surprised if Lipeng causes some damage to those rankings come years end.

Chingiz Allazov is a threat to Superbons throne

Although suffering a tough defeat to Enriko Kehl on his ONE debut, Chingiz Allazov has since shown everyone why he’s one of the best featherweight kickboxers in the world. The vicious beat down of Samy Sana in just 39 seconds was one thing, but today even having suffered a late opponent change, Allazov decemated and outclassed Thai warrior Joe Nattawut. Utilising those fast and slick boxing combinations and implementing the body work he does so well, all Allazov needed was to accompany them with a couple of bludgeoning head kicks and it was wraps for his Thai opponent. Don’t be fooled by his debut, Allazov is very much one of the best kickboxers on earth, once he finds that rhythm he’s seemingly unstoppable, don’t be surprised at all if he takes the grand prix title.

Also on the card, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong looks untouchable, convincingly taking out Davit Kiria in the second featherweight semi final bout, securing a comfertable unanimous decision victory. The Thai violently picks Kiria apart utilising all of his tools in a masterful fashion. He will take on Chingiz Allazov in the featherweight grand prix final. A Superb victory for both fighters, what a final we have in store.

Full results for ONE: Only the Brave:

Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong def Davit Kiria via unanimous decision

Chingiz Allazov def Joe Nattawut via round 1 TKO

Zhang Lipeng def Ruslan Emilbek Uulu via round 1 KO

Rade Opacic def Francesko Xhaja via round 2 TKO

Hiroyuki Tetsuka def Edson Marques via round 3 KO

Jarred Brooks def Hiroba Minowa via unanimous decision

Ivan Kondratev def Dovydas Rimkus via round 3 KO

Tatsumitsu Wada def Wang Shuo via unanimous decision

Purev Otgonjargal def Micael De Jesus via unanimous decision

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Fight To Watch | Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson

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Fights are being booked fast and furiously for July 23rd as the UFC’s anticipated return to London approaches. With fireworks expected throughout the whole event, MMAPlay365 and VMTV have scoured through the card and selected Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson as our ‘Fight To Watch’ on the night.

Muhammad Mokaev returns to the octagon following a successful debut back at UFC London in March against Cody Durden. ‘The Punisher’ made light work of his American counter-part, submitting him in the first round via guillotine choke with very little problems. His upcoming opponent, Charles Johnson, signs with the UFC after an impressive four-fight winning streak on LFA, which saw him capture and defend flyweight gold.

His ability to mix it up on the feet and in grappling scenarios make this a much more dangerous bout for Mokaev stylistically, but it’s still nothing the 21 year old won’t be able to handle in the eyes of MMAPlay365 Founder, Adam Newsome:

“At this stage of Muhammad Mokaev’s UFC career every fight is going to be a test. And just because you haven’t heard of Charles Johnson doesn’t mean he isn’t a good fighter. Johnson was the Flyweight Champion in LFA. If you aren’t familiar with LFA it’s basically the American equivalent of Cage Warriors. You are battle tested in LFA and if you become a Champion the chances are the UFC are going to sign you.

So this is a very interesting match-up but still right now I don’t think that Mokaev gets tested enough to the point he loses. This is going to be another fight I see him doing extremely well in and I don’t see Mokaev losing a fight until he hits the top 20 of the division. But even when that time comes, he is going to have improved and developed so much that he could run through that pool of fighters at that time. If a fighter is going to beat Mokaev outside the best fighters in the division then now is the time to do it whilst he’s still developing. But even though he’s still developing he’s still a problem. I’m not sure Mokaev finds another finish here so I am predicting a dominant three round decision victory for Muhammad Mokaev.”

Cauley Quilty, Editor for VMTV, had this to say on the fight: “Muhammad Mokaev is always a treat to watch in action and his UFC debut back in March was nothing short of spectacular! He came to fight and did exactly that getting the first round finish and I see him doing the same thing when he steps back out there against Charles Johnson. His extensive amateur career and impressive run of professional performances make it almost impossible to not side with Mokaev in this bout, especially with the way he defeated Durden on his debut.

However, Charles Johnson isn’t an opponent anyone should underestimate as his resume and recent performances speak for themselves! His fight vs Carlos ‘Mota’ Tizil was a barnburner and with 8 of his 11 wins coming by way of finish you know he can get the job done when needed. Both fighters are highly touted and respected so expect the winner of this to receive a bump up in competition on their next outing.”

Who do you think leaves the ‘Fight To Watch’ with their hand raised? Be sure to let us know your predictions below!

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Sumo | Summer Tournament wide open after 10 days

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The Sumo Summer Tournament has a surprise joint-leader after 10 days, but many Rikishi are in with a shout of glory with only 5 days to go.

So far, only two have managed to achieve a guaranteed winning record, with M15 ranked Ichiyamamoto and M4 Takanosho posting 8-2 records 10 days in to the basho. It remains to be seen if he can keep up his championship challenge, but Ichiyamamoto is bringing back memories of the January 2020 basho when the M17 ranked Tokushoryu took home the title in a huge surprise. Whatever happens, Ichiyamamoto should see himself catapulted up the rankings for the next tournament if he can keep up this form. It is a welcome return to form for Takanosho who has previously been a Sekiwake.

Sumo: Summer Tournament – M15 ranked Ichiyamamoto finds himself in the joint-lead after 10 days of action.

Despite his patchy form, Terunofuji has scrapped himself to a 7-3 record, which puts him 1 behind the leaders in a large chasing pack. On day 10 he managed to get by a spirited Hoshoryu who is improving all the time. The Mongolian giant will be hopeful of taking home his first championship of the year. Others in the pack on 7-3 are Kiribayama, Ura, Sadanoumi and Aoiyama. With NINE more wrestlers on 6-4, only two behind the leaders and with an outside shot, there will be an amazing 16 Rikishi who may be dreaming of lifting the Emperor’s Cup come Sunday 22nd May. The chances of there being a playoff for the win for the second tournament running are looking pretty high.

Down at the other end of the table, it has been another tournament to forget for March’s playoff runner-up, Takayasu, who has posted a losing record of 2-8 so far. After doing so well to get himself back to M1 rank, he will find himself going down the rankings ahead of the July tournament. Ozeki Shodai has continued his poor form and one more defeat will once again see him staring down the possibility of losing his rank come July. March winner Wakatakakage, alongside fellow Sanyaku ranked competitors Abi, Takakeisho and Mitakeumi, are all fighting for winning records having gone 5-5 so far.

Keep an eye out for the next update after Saturday’s day 14 when I will be recapping the standings and looking ahead to what promises to be a very exciting final-day’s action.

Remember to check out the VMTV Sumo introduction and guide here if you need a refresher of the rules and some of the words used in these articles.

You can find the full rankings and results of the tournament so far at the Japan Sumo Association’s page here.

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UFC London | Aspinall vs Blaydes Staff Predictions

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The UFC will take centre stage once again in London as they return to UK shores for a second time this year on July 23rd. Following the immense success of the previous show in March, the O2 Arena will again play host to another stacked night of fights.

Headlining the card is surging heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall who will be looking to cement his name amongst the top ranked in the division with a win over #4 ranked Curtis Blaydes. It’s do or die for Darren Till when he faces Jack Hermansson in the co-main event as he aims to get his first win since 2019.

Leading up to the event, VMTV have teamed up with MMAPlay365 and our writing staff will be giving their predictions for each fight on the card as there announced. You can view details on the partnership between VMTV and MMAPlay365 here.

Tom Aspinall vs Curtis Blaydes

  • Cauley – Curtis Blaydes via KO/TKO, R4
  • Matt – Tom Aspinall via decision
  • Jamie -Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
  • Jake – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
  • Darragh – Curtis Blaydes via KO/TKO, R3
  • Harry – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R3
  • Colin – Tom Aspinall via KO/TKO, R2

Darren Till vs Jack Hermansson

  • Cauley – Jack Hermansson via decision
  • Matt – Darren Till via KO/TKO, R2
  • Jamie – Darren Till via decision
  • Jake – Darren Till via decision
  • Darragh – Jack Hermansson via submission, R3
  • Harry – Jack Hermansson via decision
  • Colin – Darren Till via decision

Nikita Krylov vs Alexander Gustafsson

  • Cauley – Nikita Krylov via decision
  • Matt – Nikita Krylov via KO/TKO, R1
  • Jamie – Alexander Gustafsson via decision
  • Jake – Nikita Krylov via submission, R1
  • Darragh – Nikita Krylov via decision
  • Harry – Alexander Gustafsson via decision
  • Colin – Nikita Krylov via decision

Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir

  • Cauley – Paul Craig via submission, R1
  • Matt – Paul Craig via submission, R2
  • Jamie – Paul Craig via submission, R2
  • Jake – Paul Craig via submission, R2
  • Darragh – Paul Craig via submission, R1
  • Harry – Paul Craig via submission, R2
  • Colin – Paul Craig via submission, R2

Muhammed Mokaev vs Charles Johnson

  • Cauley – Muhammed Mokaev via KO/TKO, R2
  • Matt – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R1
  • Jamie – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R2
  • Jake – Muhammed Mokaev via decision
  • Darragh – Muhammed Mokaev via KO/TKO, R1
  • Harry – Muhammed Mokaev via decision
  • Colin – Muhammed Mokaev via submission, R1

Molly McCann vs Hannah Goldy

  • Cauley – Molly McCann via KO/TKO, R3
  • Matt – Molly McCann via decision
  • Jamie – Molly McCann via KO/TKO, R2
  • Jake – Molly McCann via decision
  • Darragh – Molly McCann via decision
  • Harry – Molly McCann via decision
  • Colin – Molly McCann via decision

Mandy Bohm vs Victoria Leonardo

  • Cauley – Victoria Leonardo via KO/TKO, R2
  • Matt – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Jamie – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Jake – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Darragh – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Harry – Mandy Bohm via decision
  • Colin – Mandy Bohm via decision
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