ONE Championship signs KSW double champion Roberto Soldic

ONE Championship has signed Roberto Soldic, a KSW double champion many people view as one of the best fighters in the world.

[autotag]Roberto Soldic[/autotag] is no longer a free agent.

A double champion in KSW, Soldic (20-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has signed with ONE Championship. He announced the news Monday on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani.

Considered by many MMA diehards as one of the best fighters in the world outside of the UFC, Soldic held the KSW middleweight and welterweight titles. In 20 pro wins, the 27-year-old has 19 finishes and is regarded as an all-action fighter.

“People always think it’s all UFC,” Soldic told MMA Junkie in February. “… It’s hard to explain. UFC is UFC. It’s No. 1. When I started MMA, we watched UFC. This is (the) dream. When I go in America, when I spar with the guys, they know what KSW is, but nobody watches it. In Europe, they follow a lot.

“… We have really good pay-per-views and really good public full of fans (in) the arena. Everything is good because we live in Europe and it’s a European organization. But in the UFC and in the U.S.A., the world watches. You can be a big, big star – a superstar. In Europe, you have one maximum and that’s it.”

A date, location, and opponent for Soldic’s debut have not been announced.

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Reinier de Ridder def. Vitaly Bigdash at ONE Championship 159: Best photos

Check out these photos highlighting Reinier de Ridder’s technical submission win over Vitaly Bigdash to defend his light heavyweight title.

Check out these photos highlighting [autotag]Reinier de Ridder[/autotag]’s technical submission win over Vitaly Bigdash to defend his light heavyweight title at ONE Championship 159 in Singapore. (Photos courtesy of ONE Championship)

ONE Championship 159 results: Reinier de Ridder lives up to promise, chokes out Vitaly Bigdash in first

Reinier de Ridder did exactly what he said he was going to do, and cemented himself as arguably one of the best fighters in the world.

[autotag]Reinier de Ridder[/autotag] did exactly what he said he was going to do, and cemented himself as arguably one of the best fighters in the world in the process.

De Ridder (16-0) stayed unbeaten when he put [autotag]Vitaly Bigdash[/autotag] (12-3) to sleep with an inverted triangle choke in the first round to defend his light heavyweight title at ONE Championship 159. The finish came at the 3:29 mark of the opening round at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

De Ridder, who also is the promotion’s middleweight champ, denied former light heavyweight titleholder Bigdash in his quest to capture a ONE title more than five years after he lost the belt.

After the win, De Ridder said he now wants to set his sights on a third concurrent ONE title with a move up to heavyweight. And instead of a desire to fight the eventual winner between champ Arjan Bhullar and interim champ Anatoly Malykhin, De Ridder said he would fight them both in one night.

“Anybody in the world – anybody in the world, I’ll finish,” De Ridder said in his post-fight interview. “I’ll strangle anybody on the planet. I got him a little earlier than I thought. I had to wear him out a little bit. I was thinking it would be in the second round, but I got him. … That’s what I do: I choke people out. That’s what I do.”

De Ridder came forward quickly in the fight and pushed Bigdash to the fence. He had to eat a defensive punch while Bigdash moved out of the way. Seconds later, De Ridder went for a takedown, and when it wasn’t there Bigdash latched on to a guillotine choke. Bigdash took the choke to the canvas, and it appeared to be tight, but after nearly a minute, the champion broke out of it.

De Ridder went to work on top trying to land punches, then postured up for more. Midway through, De Ridder settled into half-guard and tried to pass while putting on pressure with elbows.

When De Ridder went for an armbar, he wound up on his back. But that was nothing for him. When Bigdash tried to do work out of the armbar, De Ridder quickly threw up an inverted triangle choke and put Bigdash in trouble. From there, it wasn’t long before Bigdash was out cold.

Of the Dutchman’s 16 pro wins, 14 have been by stoppage, including 12 by submission. Three of his past four wins have come by three different chokes.

Video: Jiu-jitsu champion Marcus Almeida pulverizes opponent at ONE Championship 158

Watch Marcus “Buchecha” pick up his latest victory in MMA at Friday’s ONE Championship 158.

[autotag]Marcus Almeida[/autotag] continues to shine in his transition to MMA.

The multiple-time jiu-jitsu world champion and ADCC gold medalist picked up another win inside the cage. Almeida (3-0) stopped Simon Carson in the first round of their heavyweight contest at Friday’s ONE Championship 158 in Kallang, Singapore.

The official stoppage came by TKO (punches) at the 2:24 mark of Round 1.

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“Buchecha” went professional in late 2021 and since he’s racked up three consecutive stoppage wins. Two of those wins came by submission and the other by TKO. Almeida didn’t have an amateur career and currently trains out of American Top Team in South Florida.

Almeida, 32, is one of the greatest and most accomplished grapplers in the history of sport jiu-jitsu. He’s a member of the IBJJF Hall of Fame.

You can watch Almeida’s full fight in the video above.

Adriano Moraes vs. Demetrious Johnson 2 set to headline ONE Championship 161 in August

ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes and Demetrious Johnson will run things back soon.

[autotag]Adriano Moraes[/autotag] and [autotag]Demetrious Johnson[/autotag] will run things back.

Reigning champion Moraes (20-3) will defend his flyweight title against Johnson (30-4-1) in the main event of ONE Championship 161, which takes place Aug. 26 (Aug. 27 locally) at Singapore Indoor Stadium and streams live in U.S. primetime on Amazon Prime Video.

ONE announced the rematch Friday after an initial report by Ariel Helwani.

Moraes handed former UFC flyweight champ Johnson his first stoppage loss when he knocked him out with a knee in the second round in April 2021 at ONE on TNT 1. He has since defended his title by submitting Yuya Wakamatsu at ONE: X in March.

Johnson hasn’t competed in an MMA fight since losing to Moraes, but he tried his hand at a special rules bout against ONE muay Thai flyweight champ Rodtang Jitmuangnon this past September. Johnson hung in there with Rodtang in the first round under muay Thai rules and went on to submit him in Round 2 under the MMA ruleset.

Johnson is no stranger to rematches, winning second fights against Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez in 2012 and 2013, respectively, but losing to Henry Cejudo in his final UFC fight in 2018.

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MMA Junkie Radio #3262: UFC Fight Night 206, Eagle FC 47 results, UFC fighters trying comedy, more

Check out the latest episode of MMA Junkie Radio with “Gorgeous” George and “Goze.”

Monday’s edition of MMA Junkie Radio with “Gorgeous” George and “Goze” is here.

On Episode 3,262, the guys went over Eagle FC 47 and UFC Fight Night 206. They also discussed UFC fighters trying comedy, and much more. Tune in!

Stream or download this and all episodes of MMA Junkie Radio over at OmnyStudio. You can also catch it on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, and more. A new episode of the podcast is released every Monday and Thursday.

Shinya Aoki unfazed by loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama, excited to face youngster in grappling match

Shinya Aoki has moved on from his loss to rival Yoshihiro Akiyama and welcomes a new challenge at ONE Championship 157.

[autotag]Shinya Aoki[/autotag] has already moved on from his loss to rival [autotag]Yoshihiro Akiyama[/autotag].

Aoki’s grappling skills were on full display when he faced fellow Japanese legend Akiyama at ONE X in March. He took his back for almost all of Round 1, but Akiyama was able to rally and stop Aoki in Round 2.

However, the submission specialist is already onto his next task. He meets Kade Ruotolo in a submission grappling match Friday at ONE Championship 157, which takes place at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“Since the match at ONE X, I went about my days as if nothing changed,” Aoki said. “It was such an important fight in my career, and I lost. But I did my best, and I have no regrets. I’m proud of what I’ve done.

“It’s been already two months after that match, and I’m heading into another fight this week. Because I have an upcoming fight, I feel like time flies. This is how we move on. I lost my last fight, but that doesn’t mean (my career is) a disappointment. I’ve been doing this sport since 2003 – that’s almost two decades. If I count grappling matches, I’ve been fighting more, and I’ve lost many fights.”

Aoki has achieved a lot throughout his career, capturing both the Shooto and ONE Championship belts. At 39, he’ll be 20 years the senior of his opponent Ruotolo, but Aoki thinks that’s only a testament to his longevity.

“I’m proud of myself that I overcome (these hardships) all the time and keep moving on,” Aoki said. “It’s a precious thing to become a champion, but I don’t really care about how many wins I have or if I am the champion or not. More than that, I feel pride in my ability to keep fighting even though when it’s not good and tough timing in my career. The value is in how you are living, never giving up, and keep moving forward. And don’t be controlled by a win or a loss. So, I’ll keep moving forward.”

He continued, “I saw some videos of Kade’s fights. He’s strong, but he’s also part of a new generation. They are ‘new age.’ I’m really honored that I’m able to fight with the young generation. This is weird to say, but it’s kind of my job to get choked out from them too because at some point, we need to pass the baton, right?  But I plan to fight against this new style. I will not conform to it. I will stick to my old-school, classic style, show my discipline, and challenge myself. And I believe I’m still young. Age doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care about the number, and I know I can continue to fight for a long time.”

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ONE Championship signs 5-year deal with Amazon; minimum 12 annual events to stream on Prime Video

ONE Championship has taken a significant leap in its North American exposure.

ONE Championship has taken a significant leap in its exposure to the North American audience by signing a new broadcast deal with streaming service Amazon Prime Video.

The organization, almost exclusively based out of Asia during its more than 10 years of existence, has come to terms on a five-year deal with Amazon to see no fewer than 12 events per year stream live on Prime Video in primetime hours in the United States and Canada.

ONE Championship and Amazon announced their deal Wednesday.

“ONE Championship is thrilled to work with Prime Video, one of the largest premium sports content providers in the world, to bring our live events closer to fans in the United States and Canada,” ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong said in a statement. “As the world’s largest martial arts organization, we believe our collaboration with Prime Video will allow us to reach a wider North American audience that is hungry for an authentic and differentiated product you simply cannot get with any other organization. We look forward to showcasing the absolute greatest martial artists on the planet right here in the ONE Championship Circle and on Prime Video.”

Although ONE Championship has several notable MMA fighters on its roster, from former UFC champions Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez to homegrown rising stars such as Angela Lee, the promotion also offers kickboxing, muay-Thai, submission grappling, and more as part of its fight card lineups.

A date and location for ONE Championship’s debut on Prime Video is expected to be revealed later this year, but the new partnership is one Amazon thought was a good fit.

“We are proud to add exclusive coverage of ONE Championship events to our suite of marquee live sports offerings,” said Marie Donoghue, vice president of global sports video at Amazon. “In addition to offering a full suite of martial arts disciplines, ONE Championship shares our mutual commitment to elevate female athletes, boasting five reigning female world champions.”

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USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, April 26: New champ Liz Carmouche climbs

Check out the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings following Bellator 278, 279 and UFC Fight Night 205.

A number of divisional rankings were shaken up following UFC Fight Night 205 and dual events in Honolulu with Bellator 278 and Bellator 279.

In the first of back-to-back events for the promotion, a new women’s flyweight champ was crowned as [autotag]Liz Carmouche[/autotag] defeated Juliana Velasquez at Bellator 278. Although the fourth-round TKO stoppage was considered early by some, including Velasquez, Carmouche walked out of Neil S. Blaisdell Center with some new hardware and a new spot in this week’s rankings, climbing from No. 4 to No. 2. Not only does the new champ take Velasquez’s title, she takes her previous slot in the rankings.

At UFC Fight Night 205, former strawweight champion [autotag]Jessica Andrade[/autotag] returned to the division she once ruled to take on Amanda Lemos in the main event. Not only did Andrade record a win, but she also did so in historic fashion, by recording the first standing arm triangle submission in UFC history. The former champ has seen success throughout her career at bantamweight, flyweight, and strawweight. Now that she has returned to 115 pounds, she also re-enters the rankings in the division, claiming the No. 7 spot.

Take a look at the full rankings below ahead of UFC on ESPN 35.

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USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, April 19: Patricio ‘Pitbull’ enters pound-for-pound

Check out the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings following Bellator 277 and UFC on ESPN 34.

The men’s featherweight and welterweight divisions saw key names on the move following Bellator 277 and UFC on ESPN 34.

[autotag]Patricio Freire[/autotag] reclaimed the Bellator featherweight title by handing A.J. McKee the first loss of his professional career. Freire’s calm and calculated approach helped him pick apart McKee over five rounds to win the title via unanimous decision. Entering the week at the No. 4 spot, ‘Pitbull’ climbed to No. 3, while McKee replaced him, falling two spots from No. 2 among featherweights. In addition, the fight had an impact on the pound-for-pound rankings, as McKee was completely removed and Freire jumped to the No. 8 slot.

Also making this climb this week was UFC welterweight [autotag]Belal Muhammad[/autotag], who defeated Vicente Luque in the main event of UFC on ESPN 34. It was an impressive showing from Muhmmad, who displayed an endless gas tank and well-timed wrestling to secure the unanimous decision victory. Luque falls to No. 8 among welterweights, while Muhammad takes his previous slot at No. 7.

Take a look at the full rankings below ahead of a busy week in combat sports that includes Bellator 278, Bellator 279, and UFC Fight Night 205.

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