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ONE on TNT III: Lineker KOs Worthen in first round

After two weeks of strong action, including an incredible second show, ONE FC returned for a third straight week of fights.

The show started off with flyweight action, as the number four-ranked Yuya Wakamatsu faced off with fifth-ranked Reece McLaren. Round one featured quick action, wiith McLaren going for a takedown but getting taken down in the process. McLaren was active in his guard, but Wakamatsu avoided a triangle choke attempt. After a short slugfest, Wakamatsu landed a sharp overhand right, but McLaren recovered and took him down. After a butterfly sweep opened the door for McLaren to mount him and attempt a rear naked choke, but time expired. Rich Franklin did a fantastic job of explaining the significance behind all of the groundwork in this match.

The second round started off strong. McLaren went for a high kick, but Wakamatsu  avoided it and went for an uppercut. Yuya grounded him, but McLaren minimized the advantage by grabbing his head. Reece desperately attempted a takedown, but Wakamatsu blocked quickly before McLaren worked him into a takedown and goes for another RNC, but Wakamatsu evaded and transitioned into the top mount. They each swung for the fences with hard strikes, blending in elbows and hooks, but Wakamatsu landed with a grazing elbow. Heaving breathing from McLaren closed out the second round and drove home how how hard they’re working to win.

Courtesy of ONE FC

The third and final round featured Wakamatsu making better use of head control against the cage. He went from being in trouble at the end of round one to seemingly making use of better cardio to take a more measured approach. Wakamatsu landed a slick leg kick that echoed through the arena and used the third round to have a showcase round like McLaren did in round one. McLaren wanted a takedown, but couldn’t seal the deal due to how fast Wakamatsu was in escaping. McLaren knew the round was nearing its end and stalled out against the cage before doing anything to survive. A sloppy McLaren takedown is blocked with ease and turned into an easy clinch with knees before a takedown from Wakamatsu. A slugfest closed out the exciting fight. All three judges gave the fight to Yuya Wakamatsu. Had McLaren been able to close it out in round one, he’d have had it. However, he never regained that momentum and not finishing it there seemed to break him mentally.

McClaren’s post-fight interview revealed just how crestfallen he was by the loss. It wasn’t his night and he wanted that win to celebrate the impending birth of his child. Wakamatsu stated that he studied more for this fight and knew McLaren’s game well. Michael Shciavello hyped up the main event of John Lineker against Troy Worthen in bantamweight MMA action. After his defeat on ONE on TNT I, Eddie Alvarez was announced as returning to TNT next week to face Ok Rae Yoon. A long highlight reel showcased Worthen before his walkout and then Lineker gets one too with each man getting strong finishes showcased during their walkouts.

Lineker started off strong with hard punches that slam both sides of Worthen’s ribcage hard. An accidental low blow landed on Worthen, who opts to get back in fairly quickly and rebounded from that setback with an inside left leg kick. A slugfest broke out and Lineker landed a left hook to the jaw and Lineker unloads with so many rib shots that Worthen’s left ribs are red. Lineker took his legs out hard with a kick, but didn’t want to follow through to the ground, and Worthen was far too content to just stand and bang, as one more right hook was too much for Worthen to handle. He went down in a heap and ate one more shot on the ground before the ref broke it up.

Worthen was fighting a losing battle staying with Lineker’s strengths, but hopefully learned from the experience. Lineker officially won by KO and was short and to the point in his post-fight promo. He’s thankful for the win and wants the champion. The opener is given the fight of the night honors before the ONE on TNT IV card is set up for the next week. One’s third card on TNT was all-action and a perfect showcase for the talent involved. Once again, the company made fantastic use of all of their TV time and it’s the most efficient hour of combat sports or pro wrestling you’ll see. Their first week didn’t go smoothly, but the company listened to criticism and tightened up the loose screws right away and have delivered two back-to-back bangers. April 28 is their final show in this run, but hopefully the post-Dynamite timeslot is kept because it’s a perfect compliment to that show.

Official Results for “ONE on TNT III”
via ONE FC
Mixed Martial Arts – Bantamweight: John Lineker defeated Troy Worthen via Knockout (KO) at 4:35 of Round 1
Mixed Martial Arts – Flyweight: Yuya Wakamatsu defeated Reece McLaren via unanimous decision
Mixed Martial Arts – Lightweight: Ok Rae Yoon defeate Marat Gafurov via unanimous decision
Mixed Martial Arts – Strawweight: Miao Li Tao defeated Ryuto Sawada via unanimous decision
Muay Thai – Catchweight (80.8 KG): Nieky Holzken defeated John Wayne Parr via TKO at 1:23 of Round 2

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