I had never seen anyone quite like Ken Shamrock, who at 6 feet 1 inch tall and 217 pounds handily dropped opponent after opponent in World Wrestling Entertainment (then World Wrestling Federation) matches. An Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran, Ken Shamrock brought a unique style to the pro-wrestling milieu in 1997, combining wrestling with martial arts acumen to produce a new kind of gladiator—a combatant whose martial arts agility would launch a mini-revolution in the wrestling world. This crossbreeding has produced interesting results and a host of new fighting styles. Sure, the outcome of pro-wrestling matches may be fixed in advance, but to parrot an old aphorism, it’s the journey, not the destination. These days, the average mixed martial arts fight looks more like a traditional wrestling match than what you might see in a Jean-Claude Van Damme flick. And in pro-wrestling contests, you’re just as likely to see a spinning back kick as the more tried-and-true suplex and clothesline. Martial arts and traditional wrestling have more in common than you might guess. In both, the goal is to get your opponent to submit through physical restraint or to knock him to the ground. Both involve grappling and jostling for position to put your foe off-balance. In this way, judo and wrestling could be said to be first cousins. The relationship between wrestling and martial arts actually reaches back to ancient times. In the Book of Genesis, Jacob grappled with God’s angel; he was renamed “Israel,” Hebrew for he who “wrestles (or strives) with God.” And in antiquity, hand-to-hand combat—both wrestling and formalized martial arts—was popular in the Greek, Etruscan and Roman empires as mass entertainment. Fast-forward to 19th-century Europe. Boxers regularly clashed against more traditional wrestlers in fierce, no-holds-barred fights. The largely unsanctioned contests were as vicious and brutal as their historical counterparts, with the loser often winding up in the hospital or worse. In England, a style called bartitsu was founded; many consider it the first formalized mixed martial art because it incorporated elements of Japanese and European disciplines. In America, the first fight between a wrestler and boxer probably occurred in 1887 when heavyweight boxing champ John L. Sullivan was bested by his trainer, William Muldoon, a Greco-Roman wrestler, in less than three minutes. Around the same time in the Far East, MMA contests came to be known as merikan, a Japanese word that loosely translates to “American-style fighting.” MMA largely faded from view after World War I, with wrestling diverging into two categories—real or “shoot” matches, and “show” contests, the forefather of scripted bouts. It would take four decades, but eventually the divorce of martial arts and wrestling began to crumble. In 1986 WrestleMania 2 saw Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. T duke it out in a boxing match in New York. (Rowdy Roddy Piper lost by disqualification.) Later in the ’80s, Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling was founded in Japan to showcase more extreme combat, but in 2002, the organization ran into financial troubles and went bankrupt. Despite those false starts, MMA returned solidly with the debut of the UFC in 1993. Boxers, martial artists and wrestlers were all tossed into the ring, with no one style or discipline providing a clear advantage. It wasn’t about training but about how that training was applied against each opponent. As Royce Gracie trounced the competition to become the first champ, there was instant recognition that something very new (or very old) was happening. Since then, MMA has experienced a meteoric rise in the United States, where its popularity often comes close to that of pro wrestling. And for those who favor martial arts over traditional wrestling, take a look at the stats: Wrestlers won five of the first 10 UFCs, while Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters took three. Even former heavyweight champ Randy Couture competed in collegiate and Greco-Roman wrestling before coming into his own in MMA. As with Ken Shamrock, many MMA fighters eventually leave pro wrestling entirely. Former All-American Brock Lesnar shot to overnight WWE fame and was arguably Vince McMahon’s biggest star for a stretch in 2002 and 2003. After legal battles with the WWE, Brock Lesnar jumped to the UFC. (At the time of this writing, Brock Lesnar was scheduled to fight Randy Couture on November 15, 2008.) So, as in ancient times, wrestling and the martial arts have once again united. No less an authority than Bruce Lee said, “The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style.” Perhaps that’s why in 2004, UFC President Dana White called Bruce Lee the “father of mixed martial arts.” (Eric Althoff is a freelance writer with 20 years of martial arts experience. He holds a third-degree black belt in isshin-ryu karate and has studied modern arnis.)
Headlining the 11-bout event will be three World Championship encounters featuring six of the best martial artists on the planet.
In the main event, ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian "The Warrior" Lee will attempt to add to his historic records for wins and finishes by defending his crown against the fast-rising Ok Rae Yoon.
ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Capitan Petchyindee Academy defends his gold in the co-main event against Mehdi Zatout in a title tilt guaranteed to create fireworks.
And the third World Championship bout features rivals Joshua Pacio and Yosuke Saruta colliding in a trilogy bout for the ONE Strawweight World Championship.
These are just six of the 22 athletes competing, and their highlights alone are worth checking out. The rest of the card features heavyweight power between Amir Aliakbari vs. Anatoly Malykhin, the return of Victoria Lee, flyweight warriors Petchdam Petchyindee Academy vs. Taiki Naito in a Muay Thai battle, and the debut of Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida.
Ahead of ONE: Revolution, ONE has released a compilation video detailing the most memorable knockouts from the stars of ONE. You can watch it right here in preparation for all of the excitement.
Get prepared for one of the year's most stacked events by watching the crazy KO highlights because undoubtedly, more will be added to the reel following the closing bell at ONE: Revolution.
ONE: Revolution airs live and free across all Bleacher Report platforms on Friday, September 24, at 6:30 a.m. EST/3:30 a.m. PST.
CRAZIEST KNOCKOUTS From ONE: REVOLUTION Stars 🤯Get HYPED for ONE Championship's stacked 24 September card by reliving the wildest knockouts from the stars of ONE: REVOLUTION, featuring Christian Lee, Capi...
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Though Chelmiah pressed the action through much of the bout, Mardhi seemed to land the cleaner blows getting the better of many exchanges with quick punching combinations. He used intelligent movement and a stiff sidekick to keep Chelmiah off him early on, though Chelmiah did have his moments scoring a couple of flash knockdowns when Mardhi found himself off balance from missed kicks. While Mardhi's strikes seemed sharper overall and he limited the damage Chelmiah did on the inside clinching whenever the action got close, he slowed a bit in the final round and it was enough for Chelmiah to even it up. It goes down as a TKO victory for the Irishman due to Mardhi's failing to come out in the extra round.
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This time they were on, hitting almost everything perfectly including a slightly unusual final "break" that saw several performers smashing bouquets of roses into a shower of petals with acrobatic jumping kicks. Judge Howie Mandel called them the best act of the night while fellow judge Simon Cowell declared, "That was bloody brilliant!"
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