New Sheriff in Town: Alexis Nicolas Upsets Regian Eersel at ONE Fight Night 21

There’s a new king in ONE Championship, and his name is Alexis Nicolas. The undefeated French kickboxing phenom shocked the world Friday night by dethroning lightweight kickboxing champion Regian Eersel by unanimous decision in the ONE Fight Night 21 main event at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Nicolas had his work cut out for him in this one. Eersel entered confidently after winning his last 22 fights over the past eight years and claiming both ONE’s 170-pound kickboxing and muay thai titles. Eersel’s confidence showed early as the champ looked to land heavy punches and knees on Nicolas.

Nicolas would make the champ pay for his overconfidence in Round 2 after catching Eersel on the temple. The champ hit the canvas for a second before immediately popping up and continuing his attack.

From that moment, the fight was a war, with Nicolas withstanding everything coming his way. Both men landed beautiful blows, and the fight could’ve gone either way, but Nicolas's knockdown was the deciding factor. With the win, Nicolas improved to 24-0. Eersel still holds the ONE 170-pound muay thai title, but an immediate rematch with Nicolas could definitely be in the cards.

Tye Ruotolo is so in sync with his brother. They train, compete and even hit the same submissions together. Just a few hours after his younger brother Kade sunk a nasty arm-in rear-naked choke, Tye defeated Australia’s Izakk Michell with the same hold midway through their 185-pound submission grappling title fight. And to top it all off, Tye was also given a $50,000 bonus. Not a bad night to be a Ruotolo.

Related » ONE Fight Night 21 Round-by-Round Scoring

Suablack Tor Pran49 had his hands full against Vladimir Kuzmin, but the veteran thai boxer was too skilled to be denied his 60th career victory. Suablack kept the pressure and was one step ahead of Kuzmin for most of the fight. With his solid body kicks and dominant clinch game, Suablack kept Kuzmin under control for three rounds en route to the unanimous decision.

Ben Tynan’s stock continues to rise in dominating fashion. Coming into the ring with bleach blonde hair and denim fight shorts, “Vanilla Thunder” destroyed Duke Didier in 2:36 to notch his sixth straight finish.

Tynan has all the tools to make a splash in ONE’s heavyweight division. He’s fast, explosive, personable and isn’t afraid of risk; That was evident by his post-fight callout of three-weight champion Anatoly Malykhin.

Jacob Smith was on the cusp of a 135-pound muay thai title shot, but those plans have been put on hold after he ran into Denis Puric. The 39-year-old Puric took the worst of the punishment in the first round and was nearly dropped, but he flipped the fight on its head after dropping Smith twice in the second frame. Puric scrapped his way to a decision win before calling out ONE Championship superstar Rodtang Jitmuangnon.

ONE 170-pound submission grappling champion Kade Ruotolo left the cage $50,000 richer after submitting former International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation no-gi Pan American champ Francisco Lo in under five minutes. The heavier Lo started the 180-pound catchweight match aggressively, but Ruoloto made him pay.

Using an arm-in rear-naked choke just as his brother utilized in the co-main event, Ruotolo trapped Lo along the ropes and submitted him with ease. At only 21, Ruotolo has dominated the submission grappling scene alongside his brother Tye and feels that it's his time to transition into MMA. Ruotolo will make his MMA debut at ONE 167 against Blake Cooper on June 7 at Impact Arena in Bangkok.

Taiki Naito and Dedduanglek TDed99 didn’t waste time feeling each other out in their 136-pound kickboxing rematch Friday night. After Dedduanglek edged out a decision in their first fight, Naito made more of an effort to come forward and bring the fight to the Thai. Dedduanglek’s long frame was a problem for Naito; however, the Japanese kickboxer got tagged repeatedly with body kicks. As Naito moved forward, he ate powerful straights from Dedduanglek but didn’t grow discouraged. The fight was a three-round war, but Dedduanglek’s length and distance were too much in the unanimous decision win.

If ONE Championship ever starts a dance battle division, go ahead and put it all on Hiroyuki Tetsuka. The Japanese 185-pound contender couldn’t stop himself from busting a move in the ring after submitting Valmir da Silva for his fifth straight finish. Tetsuka (14-4) won his last two fights via armbar, but after Da Silva showed he was prepared for it, Tetsuka converted the submission attempt into a north-south choke before closing the show with some sick breakdancing.

Songchainoi Kiatsongrit has impressed the masses since signing with ONE Championship last summer. The 23-year-old Thai boxer reeled off five straight wins and three knockouts and was rewarded with his first U.S. primetime slot on Friday against Nicolas Leite Silva.

Songchainoi showed his class early. After picking Silva’s legs apart in the opening period, he turned up the pressure and dropped the 19-year-old Brazillian in Round 2. Silva proved to be no slouch, however. Despite being dazed on his feet, Silva cleared his head and fought his hardest in the final stanza. Silva backed up Songchainoi and landed several hard blows, but it wasn’t enough to come back on the scorecards as Songchainoi won by UD.

China’s Shuo Wang entered his 145-pound clash against Jeremy Pacatiw looking to rediscover his momentum after his five-fight win streak was snapped.

Wang tried to take Pacatiw down early but his gameplan backfired quickly. Pacatiw reversed position and took Wang’s back, securing him with a body lock. Trapped in between Pacatiw’s legs, Wang tried to twist his way out but gave up his neck. Pacatiw quickly took advantage and ended the fight via rear-naked choke.

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