ONE Championship’s long awaited coming out party on U.S. television went down Wednesday night — and the promotion wisely gave Eddie Alvarez the job of opening the televised card. At least, that was the feeling heading in.
Alvarez, after all, was a proven performer. After a dominant performance from heavyweight standout Ourmar Kane earlier in the evening, opening up the prelims, it was the lightweight division’s turn to shine. Alvarez, the former UFC and Bellator MMA lightweight champ, was looking to build on his first win in the promotion, which came against Eduard Folayang in August 2019. His opponent, Iuri Lapicus, had come up short against Christian Lee in a shot at the title — and was looking to get right back in the mix with a win over the veteran “Underground King.”
Fireworks were bound to happen. And they did, right before the fight fizzled.
It was Alvarez who opted to fall back on his wrestling early Wednesday night. After a bit of back and forth, Alvarez shot in, took Lapicus down, and tied up his legs. Eddie began delivering some heavy strikes, only for Lapicus to turn his head, resulting in several blows hitting the back of the skull. Lapicus was clearly hurt, and when his head fell back, Alvarez landed a few hammer fists to the face. The problem being, the ref called the blows illegal, halting the action.
With Lapicus unable to continue, Alvarez was handed a red card, resulting in a disqualification, and a
no contest loss for Eddie. Lapicus, meanwhile, exited the cage on a stetcher.
Following the bout, a clearly emotional Alvarez apologized for the fouls, while saying that he had attempted to turn his opponent’s head into a legal position. “I’m doing my best in here. I’m praying for Iuri right now.”
Official Result: Iuri Lapicus def. Eddie Alvarez by DQ – illegal strikes, Round 1, 0:58
Update 11:30PM ET: while Wednesday’s broadcast stated the fight was a no contest, ONE’s official website lists the fight as a loss for Alvarez.