By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
ONE Championship will make history this week as for the first time, its fights will be shown in the United States in prime time; a huge development for the Asian promotion, said veteran and champion fighter Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez.
Beginning April 8, Thursday (Manila time), ONE rolls out its “ONE on TNT” series, a four-part weekly offering until April 29 that will have the promotion’s preliminary card digitally streamed exclusively on the Bleacher Report App and B/R Live followed by three main card fights televised exclusively on TNT.
The series kicks off with “ONE on TNT I” which will be bannered by the world flyweight championship fight between reigning champ Adriano Moraes of Brazil and challenger and mixed martial arts legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson; non-title bout between ONE flyweight muay thai world champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and Jacob Smith of the United Kingdom; and the lightweight clash of Mr. Alvarez and Iuri Lapicus of Moldova.
Three Filipino fighters are set to see action in the fight series, namely, Lito Adiwang (“ONE on TNT II,” April 14), and Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and Stephen Loman (“ONE on TNT IV,” April 29). All three are fighting out of Baguio-based Team Lakay.
For American MMA legend Alvarez, a former champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator, ONE on American prime time is very significant for Asia’s largest sports media property and hardcore MMA fans in the US.
“I kinda feel that this is ONE’s coming-out party in America. I’m excited to be part of it. On April 7 (April 8), fans will see ONE Championship in a different light. And after they see what they see, I think there will be a new guy in town,” said Mr. Alvarez in the online media day for the event on Monday.
Mr. Alvarez went on to assure fight fans that ONE has put on much thought on the event and did everything needed to come out with an impressive offering.
Zeroing in on his fight with Mr. Lapicus, The Underground King said he is ready to get it going and he is confident of his chances.
“We have had an amazing camp, could not have asked for a better one. We’re on point and ready to go,” said Mr. Alvarez (30-7, one no-contest), who last fought in August 2019 and angling to add the ONE lightweight title to his list of achievements.
Looking to derail his push is Moldovan Lapicus (14-1), who fell short in his attempt to seize the lightweight title from champion Christian Lee in his last fight.
“ONE on TNT I” will be shown live in the country on ONE Sports and One Sports+ with an encore telecast on April 11, 12 a.m. on TV5.