Muay Thai ace Liam Harrison produces $100,000 comeback in 'Round of the Year' at ONE 156
England's "Hitman" produced a stunning comeback in one of the most thrilling rounds ever seen inside the ONE Championship circle.
English Muay Thai contender Liam Harrison is a familiar face to regular watchers of ONE Championship, with the Yorkshireman producing high-octane, exciting action every time he steps into the ONE circle.
But nobody was quite ready for what took place when the "Hitman" faced off against former Lumpinee Stadium champion "Elbow Zombie" Muangthai PK. Saenchai in Singapore on Friday.
To put it mildly, things did not go according to plan for the Brit in the early going, as he found himself twice on the deck and staring a first-round TKO defeat in the face.
But, after suffering two heavy knockdowns, Harrison regrouped, bit down on his mouthpiece and fired back in thrilling fashion to claim one of the all-time great victories in ONE Championship history.
After both fighters traded punches and leg kicks early, Muangthai struck the first major blow when he connected with a huge head kick that went through Harrison's guard and sent him crashing to the canvas.
Harrison regrouped, got back to his feet and went straight back into an exchange with the Thai, who promptly decked him again, this time with a big straight left.
With three knockdowns in one round securing a TKO, Muangthai was eager to pounce, while Harrison was faced with a decision. Should he get on his bike and try to make it to the end of the round, or should he fight fire with fire and turn the tables on his opponent?
Incredibly, Harrison opted for the latter, and what followed will live long in the memory.
With Muangthai pressing forward in search of a third, fight-winning, knockdown, Harrison countered superbly and stuck his man with a big right hand that halted his opponent in his tracks. The Brit then followed up with more punches before a left hook sent Muangthai to the canvas.
"Elbow Zombie" did not appear too badly hurt as he jumped straight back to his feet and told the referee he was good to go. But Harrison had seen enough to know the comeback was on, and he didn't let his man off the hook.
When the action resumed, Harrison stepped straight back into the pocket and unloaded a vicious combination that finished with a left hook that dropped Muangthai to the mat.
By this point ONE Championship play-by-play man Michael Schiavello was having kittens in the commentary box and those present in the arena were on their feet, knowing that another knockdown for either man would end the fight.
And it was Harrison who would not be denied as he poured forward again and unleashed another furious flurry of fists that sent an overwhelmed Muangthai to the canvas for a third straight knockdown. The comeback was complete, and Harrison charged around the cage in celebration of one of the most incredible rounds ever seen inside the ONE Championship circle.
The entire fight lasted just two minutes, 16 seconds, and saw five knockdowns as Harrison staged a comeback that stunned veteran commentator Schiavello, who was almost lost for words after the one-round thriller.
"I tell you what, folks. I've been commentating kickboxing and Muay Thai since 1994," he said.
"I thought I'd seen it all. I'd never seen anything like that!"
Harrison's celebrations continued during his post-fight interview with ONE co-commentator Mitch Chilson, who informed the Brit that he had earned a $100,000 bonus from ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong – a sum that equated to twice the usual post-fight bonus amount.
"What did I say? What you see is what you get. And what you get is knockdowns, knockouts, blood, sweat, guts, drama and excitement!" he said.
"I come here on this stage (and) I want to entertain. And if that doesn't entertain you, nothing will!"
Harrison was then told that his victory had also earned him a shot at ONE bantamweight Muay Thai champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao.
It means the 36-year-old, who has held multiple world titles in both Muay Thai and kickboxing during his career, will get his first shot at a ONE Championship title.
"That performance then, that wasn't down to a six-to-eight week camp. It was 23 years of hard work, dedication, sacrifice and determination, and it's been leading me to this moment now," he said.
"It is my destiny to hold this title, I truly believe that. (It's) the greatest title in combat sports.
"I love this stage, and listen, I'm under no illusions at the minute, I'm coming to the back end of my career. All this isn't going to work soon. I'll be a gammy little old geezer sitting in a wheelchair, who won't be able to get out of bed.
"But right now, I am a beast, so don't have me waiting too long. Let's get me back out there. I'm ready to entertain the world!"
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