Days before “ONE on TNT 1,” I did predict that Iuri Lapicus, 25, of Moldova and Italy would beat Edward “Eddie” Alvarez, 37, of the United States via knockout in either first or second round. I predicted that if the lightweight fight went the distance, it is very likely that Alvarez would win via unanimous decision.
ONE Championship held “ONE on TNT 1” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore on April 7, 2021. Justin Brown served as the referee of the fight between Alvarez and Lapicus.
Indeed, Lapicus won but not via knockout. Brown stopped the match after 1 minute and 2 seconds in the first round and later gave Alvarez a red card due to illegal punch to the back of the head.
There is still no confirmation from ONE Championship if there is a possibility for Alvarez’s disqualification to be overturned. On April 9, 2021, I checked up on Lapicus.
“Yes, I’m fine,” Lapicus told me. “Thanks. I’m still in the hospital.”
Winning at “ONE on TNT 1” improved the professional MMA record of Lapicus to 15 wins and 1 loss. On the other hand, Alvarez now has 30 wins and 8 losses.
After watching the video of the fight, Alvarez was adamant that he did not land any illegal punch so he would ask ONE Championship officials to review the fight and reverse his disqualification. During the post-fight press conference, I asked him to give a message to the members of the mixed martial arts community who were having a debate about his disqualification.
“Just be honest,” Alvarez said. “That’s all. I don’t care what people’s opinions are as long as they’re honest. If you think it was a DQ, go online and say I should be DQed. Go online. Voice your opinion. Your opinion matters.”
“And if you don’t think it was, go online, please, and let people know what happened,” Alvarez continued. “Either way, I’m not mad at either person. I just want the truth. Whoever is honest, I’ll take that. That’s all I want.”
Then I was caught off guard when Alvarez asked me what I personally thought about his disqualification. At that time, I have yet to thoroughly review a replay of the fight so I just gave a safe answer by saying I am not expert so I just respect the experts’ decision.
But if Alvarez asks me the same question now, I would say yes, I did see at least one punch land at the back of Lapicus’s head. What I am not confident about, however, is whether or not it was illegal. I do not have the expertise to determine whether or not the condign punishment is disqualification.