One of the most interesting combat sports mash-ups in years went down at Saturday’s ONE X in Singapore.
It’s fair to say that Demterious Johnson vs. Rodtang was a spectacle rarely seen in professional fighting; without hyperbole, the bout was one of the most anticipated of 2022.
On paper, the format was essentially unheard of: four rounds, two in Muay Thai, two in MMA, using four ounce MMA gloves throughout. The sort of matchmaking that rivals like the UFC would never dream of making.
Rodtang was a fighter at the peak of his physical prowess. “Mighty Mouse,” albeit coming off a loss against Adriano Moraes, was still considered by many the greatest flyweight of all time. For a fight that had no real meaning in terms of championships or divisional rankings, the weight of the contest in terms of legacy was still high.
Rodtang pressed the action off the opening bell, firing some heavy punches — and Johnson immediately tied him up. It almost looked like Johnson was looking for a takedown, but the ref separated them.
Johnson then found himself on the outside again, circling out of harm’s way while under attack, and occasionally moving to the wrong side, into the Muay Thai champ’s power. Rodtang continued walking him down, with Johnson occasionally firing back with short combos. The first half of the round was essentially all Rodtang, however, as Johnson struggled with the ruleset. The second half saw Johnson a little more settled, but he was still under fire more often than not.
Moving to the MMA ruleset in round two, it was Rodtang on his heels, while Johnson stayed patient. Finally, he found an opening, ducking a punch and changing levels for a takedown. He’d end up taking the back with Rodtang on his knees; Johnson pulled him down, working on a choke. Rodtang fought the hands, but after Johnson re-adjusted, the striker went to sleep!
Official Result: Demetrious Johnson def. Rodtang by technical submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2, 2:13