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5 reasons why ONE X will be the biggest and best non-UFC event of 2022

Jason Burgos

On March 26, ONE Championship is pushing all their chips to the center of the table with their tenth-anniversary extravaganza, ONE X. In recent years, the promotion has shown it is not afraid to put on absurdly large events, and their latest is the biggest and likely best yet.

ONE X features a bevy of the organization’s greatest talents, including atomweight queen Angela Lee, MMA icon Demetrious Johnson, and two-division champion Reinier de Ridder. Yet this card isn’t just a gigantic event that is throwing quantity at MMA fans instead of putting forth a smaller quality card. The card is equal parts quantity and quality.

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Here are five reasons why ONE X will be the biggest and best event in 2022, that doesn’t have UFC in the name.

Demetrious Johnson vs Rodtang mixed rules insanity

There are a whole bunch of great matchups on the card, including in MMA, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and grappling. However, none have captured the imagination of fight fans like the mixed rules fight between former UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and Muay Thai superstar Rodtang Jitmuagnon.

The four-round bout will have alternating rule sets. Muay Thai for the opening round, then MMA, and so on. Both men are elite-level flyweights in their sports and have the tools to easily decimate the other in their preferred rounds. However, each is a gifted athlete and neither will shrink at the opportunity to beat their opponent in the places they are supposed to have a disadvantage.

  • Demetrious Johnson record: 30-4 (5 knockouts, 12 submissions)

The bout harkens back to the 1990s when Pride Fighting Championship was one of the premier fight organizations in the world and would book unusual matchups for optimal entertainment value. This is the most exciting fight on a card jam-packed with cool matchmaking.

A fight to be the female face of ONE Championship

one x
Credit: ONE Championship

Women’s MMA is at another high point. Proof of that being in the world-class female fighters that now reside outside UFC. Two of them will throw down for the ONE atomweight title when champion Angela Lee returns after two and half years away to face Grand Prix winner Stamp Fairtex. Like Johnson versus Jitmuagnon, this also channels an old-school MMA vibe, with a new school twist.

Fairtex is a former ONE Kickboxing and Muay Thai champion. She is going to be an absolute handful for “Unstoppable” on the feet. Yet, for as gifted a fighting talent as she is, the native of Thailand is still a relative newcomer to MMA. The 24-year-old has developed her grappling skills rapidly, but Lee is one of the best grapplers in the promotion. It is a classic striker versus grappler match-up with two talented athletes that can’t be underestimated anywhere.

However, this fight feels like more than just a title fight. The bout very well could decide who ONE pushes as their face of female MMA for years to come. All due respect to strawweight champion Jing Nan Xiong who is also a fantastic fighter, but she doesn’t have the “it” factor of Lee and Fairtex. The winner of this has more than gold to gain in a victory Saturday.

Asian MMA legends collide in Shinya Aoki vs Yoshihiro Akiyama

Shinya Aoki and Yoshihiro Akiyama are two of the most beloved fighters from Asia over the last two decades. Like Fedor Emelianenko for Russia, Aoki has become this unique talent that seems to gain added abilities when he competes in his part of the world, as opposed to in the US. He has developed an aura during a memorable career as one of the best grapplers of his generation.

The man known to his fans as “Sexiyama” is the complete opposite. He embodies the saying, “the guy men want to be, and the guy women want to be with.” He is a matinee idol who has won Judo world championships, recorded hit albums in the region, and had a pretty good fight career that included a run in the UFC.

  • Shinya Aoki record: 47-9 (4 knockouts, 30 submissions)

This matchup also has an added heat that Aoki manifested out of thin air by forcefully challenging his opponent at a grappling event he was commentating for. The fight is now an unexpected grudge match and a battle between two of the last active Japanese MMA legends.

20 bouts and nearly 10 hours of combat sports action

one x
Credit: ONE Championship

ONE Championship’s upcoming event inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium is just massive. The card will feature 20 bouts and could end up being close to 10 straight hours of combat sports action. That is an unheard-of amount of content from one fight organization in one day. Especially, when it includes a half dozen championship fights.

UFC events often last six hours and include 10 to 14 fights, which is not normal for most MMA cards. To put it simply, ONE is packing what would be two cards into one marathon event. The only downside is the card will begin at 1 AM ET, and the main card kicks off at 8 AM ET.

That is a bummer for North American MMA fans. However, the first and second parts of the event will air on the ONE Championship YouTube channel and can of course be viewed at your convenience. The main card is a $39.95 pay-per-view that will broadcast exclusively on watch.onefc.com.

Six title fights, and some grappling in a ONE pear tree

one x, one championship
Credit: ONE Championship

ONE X is going to be one of the most diverse combat sports events in MMA history. Within the 20 bout card are six title fights. Three in Kickboxing, one in Muay Thai, and two in MMA. The card also features two grappling bouts. In one matchup, two-division MMA titlist Reinier de Ridder faces multi-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion, Andre Galvao. In the other, women’s atomweight contender Mei Yamaguchi battles rising BJJ star Danielle Kelly.

On Saturday night, ONE X is serving up an absolute buffet of high-level combat sports competitions.