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Hard Hits || ONE on TNT II was a master class in combat sports programming

ONE FC

via ONE FC

Todd vs. Hogstand before their Muay Thai-rules bout (via ONE FC)

Last week, we covered ONE on TNT 1, and now the group is back with its second night of fights on TNT. Michael Schiavello and Rich Franklin hyped up the card at the top of tonight’s show, with Janet Todd vs. Anne Line Hogstad starting the action off with a Muay Thai bout. Last week, Schiavello hyped up how Muay Thai can deliver better striking than we’d normally see in MMA after running through why Hogstad is confident that she’ll win. A Janet Todd hype video aired, too, where she said that she was in ONE to win, and to prove that she’s the best in the world. “JT” danced down to the ring, and like with Rodtang last week, it was a sure-fire way way of winning me over.

Todd also happens to be an aerospace engineer, according Michael Schiavello on commentary.  It was a fascinating bit of history that made the fight feel that much more unique.

Both circled each other at first before they exchanged leg kicks. It showed just how even these two are in skill. Hogstad missed a high kick, but JT landed a one-two combo. The first round ended with JT looking stronger, but neither landing any major blows. JT blocked a head kick and landed another combination right down the center.

Round two ended without anything major strikes, which led to round three starting off with Hogstad taking more shots that were too far out for her to land. Finally, JT landed a liver kick that shut down Hogstad to end the fight. It was a masterful strategy because JT tempted Hogstad to use a long-range strategy but wound up taking her out with it.

Asked about a title shot, Todd said she wants either the interim title or an eight-person million-dollar tourney to win it before she shouting out her mother on her birthday.

ONE FC ace, Christian Lee (via ONE FC)

Next, Christian Lee defended his title against Timofey Nastyukhin in an MMA fight. Schiavello talked about the global rule-set being different from unified rules. Both he and Mitch talked about how knees are legal here, but shots to the back of the head are not. A hype video of ONE’s homegrown stars showcases them taking out “ex-UFC stars,” losing in either debuts, or in the case of DJ’s fight, last week. This was done in a heavy-handed way to put the company over, but also a more subtle way of establishing Nastyukhin as a world-beater, having beaten Alvarez in one round. Lee is set up to be the company’s golden boy, while Christian said that he’s as hungry now as he’s ever been, implying that he may be the ace, but he wouldn’t rest on his laurels just yet.

Don Lau yelled loudly for both men in the ring introductions, to the point where I wasn’t entirely sure he even needed a mic. Lee made short work of him with a short shot that sent him down, then threw hard rights on the ground. The flurry came down harder than a hailstorm, and Nastyukhin was stopped via TKO. He got up bewildered as to what happened while Lee was already posing. Lee talked with Mitch about how this is the most important fight of his life. and that this fight was dedicated to his wife and daughter. What a babyface! He put over Nastyukhin, but also said that speed and accuracy will beat out power.

via ONE FC
Shuo takes out Sung in R3 (via ONE FC)

After the fight, unlike last week, we’re told that the show is still going on with a bonus fight. This is a welcome change from last week’s near-11:00 p.m. ad-break where they seemingly signed off, showed the belt, then returned with what turned out to be his show-stealing fight with Rodtang.

When we returned from break, the third round was underway with MMA flyweights Kim Kyu Sung vs. Wang Shuo. Before the break, it seemed like we were getting the whole fight. It wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, but a simple line about getting the last round of actionm or even highlights to come, those would’ve been better than just airing the third round. Commentary acted as if we’d seen the first two rounds, too. Shuo got a nice short right elbow and takes him out with a horizontal shot, then threw punches on the ground to officially end it. After a preview of next week’s card, the show ended right at 11:00 p.m.

This was a really fun hour of action that packed a lot into a short time frame. In an era where so many MMA and pro wrestling companies waste so much of the viewer’s time, it’s great to see ONE FC not only respect the viewer’s intelligence, but also their time. ONE made use of every second on tonight’s show, showcasing their talent, their host city, and the company, yet were still able to offer up a thrilling main event and an exciting opener.

The show’s pace was fantastic, too. The issues from week one felt sorted, and they did a far better job explaining the differences in rules between ONE FC and other international MMA groups. If you’re a wrestling fan, it’s comparable to like Mid-South Wrestling from almost 40 years ago in that you can learn so much from it just by following the action on-screen. Michael Schiavello’s commentary is very much like “Cowboy” Bill Watts, too, in that he tells the stories that need to be told so we more fully understand the fighters; no “enhancement talent” here.

There were blanks to fill in, of course, as there’s only so much one person can do, but Rich Franklin did that just fine as the experienced fighter of the panel. For example, his insight made the liver shot finish in JT’s fight even more dramatic. A liver shot isn’t the most-impressive looking shot in the world. It’s important to have an expert there to explain why that kind of punch can stop a fight immediately. Overall, ONE on TNT 2 a fun show that was also a master class in how to pace combat sports television, making use of every moment given during the broadcast.


“ONE on TNT II” official results
(via ONE FC)

ONE Lightweight World Championship: Christian Lee defeated Timofey Nastyukhin via Technical Knockout (TKO) at 1:13 of round 1
Muay Thai – Atomweight: Janet Todd defeated Anne Line Hogstad via Technical Knockout (TKO) at 1:36 of round 3
Mixed Martial Arts – Featherweight: Yoshiki Nakahara defeated Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg via Disqualification at 4:54 of round 2
Mixed Martial Arts – Flyweight: Wang Shuo defeated Kim Kyu Sung via Knockout (KO) at 1:51 of round 3
Mixed Martial Arts – Bantamweight: Shuya Kamikubo defeated Mitchell Chamale via Submission (Rear-naked Choke) 2:13 of round 2

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