For fans with less free time, ONE Championship has carved out a solid niche on Wednesday nights in offering a MMA product for audiences not looking to get invested in four-plus hours of fighting action. Just like their previous two events on TNT, this week’s pre-recorded installment of ONE on TNT III offers a bite-sized major MMA card. Featuring the return of Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran, and bantamweight contender, John Lineker. As well as an impromptu “Eddie Alvarez Invitational” bout between Marat Gafurov and Ok Rae Yoon.
How to watch ONE on TNT III on April 21
- The lead card will kick off at 8:30 pm ET, and can be streamed on Bleacher Report, B/R app, B/R Live, B/R Live YouTube, and the B/R MMA Twitter account
- Main card action starts at 10 pm ET, and can be found on TNT, and streamed on the Watch TNT app, Bleacher Report, and B/R app
ONE on TNT III fight card
ONE on TNT III: Give these fights a look
John Lineker vs. Troy Worthen
Brave CF and 16-fight veteran Stephen Loman was originally set to be the sacrifice served up to John Lineker. However, Loman, unfortunately, couldn’t compete and boom, top prospect Troy Worthen is removed from the prelims and handed a golden opportunity against ONE Championship’s best bantamweight not named Bibiano Fernandes. It’s hard to imagine the young American knocking off someone the caliber of “Hands of Stone” and his 34-fight experience advantage. It isn’t impossible, and the 28-year-old has a wrestling base that could give the Brazilian a difficult night. Especially, since Worthen is no small man and could have a size and strength advantage on fight night. Plus, Ali Bagautinov was able to outwrestle Lineker at UFC 169, and Ultimate Fighter alum Louis Gaudinot submitted him five-fights before that. However, that was a very long time ago, and the only men that have been able to beat the 30-year-old over the last five years were Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw. Gifted strikers that could stay out of danger and expose Lineker’s striking flaws. Worthen has not evolved to that stage in his career yet.
Prediction: Lineker by TKO round 2
Marat Gafurov vs. Ok Rae Yoon
When Marat Gafurov and Ok Rae Yoon were originally booked, the fight just seemed like a battle of two lightweights looking to improve their placement in the hierarchy of the division. However, that all changed when it was announced this week that Eddie Alvarez would face the winner next week on the live broadcast of ONE on TNT IV. This wild scenario is only possible because Gafurov versus Yoon is a pre-recorded fight from a couple of weeks ago. Credit to ONE Championship for keeping the seal on those results for this long. In addition, Alvarez is fresh and ready to go after his ONE on TNT I bout with Iuri Lapicus ended in a controversial red-card disqualification just minutes into the bout. Chances are “Cobra” and his opponent did not go the distance if they are able to quickly jump back into action, and quarantine, a few weeks removed from their fight. Rushing the “The Underground King” back to face a lesser-known name in Yoon seems unlikely. However, a fight between a former UFC lightweight champ and former ONE Championship featherweight champ in Gafurov has the appeal of a fight that can co-main event a TNT broadcast. This is where Alvarez’s name rests on the event’s current lineup.
Prediction: Gafurov by submission, round 1.
Reece McLaren vs. Yuya Wakamatsu
The night’s co-main event features an important matchup in the promotions flyweight division. Fifth-ranked Aussie Reece McLaren and fourth-ranked Japanese thumper Yuya Wakamatsu are both in striking range of a championship opportunity against reigning division king, and “Mighty Mouse” slayer, Adriano Moraes. The fight is a clash of styles between two talented finishers in the division. The fighter with the most to gain from a statement win would be Wakamatsu. He offers a fan-friendly style, having won 85% of his fights by knockout, and he seems poised to join Shinya Aoki as another name to help further build the promotion’s fan base in Japan. In addition, a fourth straight win would be the longest current streak for any fighter in the top five at flyweight. On some level, ONE Championship may be rooting for him as well.
Prediction: Wakamatsu by knockout, round 3