Three-time Max Muay Thai World Champion “The Funky Drummer” Fabrice Fairtex Delannon (55-10) is gearing up for one of the most important bouts of his career.
On Saturday, 22 September, he will square off against six-time Muay Thai World Champion Yodpanomrung “The Lightning Knee” Jitmuangnon (230-68-2) at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES.
The ONE Super Series Muay Thai bout, which will be contested at bantamweight, takes place at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.
“He has proved that he’s a great fighter,” the 36-year-old French Guianese athlete says of his adversary.
“I’m a MAX Muay Thai World Champion, and he’s a Lumpinee Stadium World Champion. The fight is going to be interesting. When I fight, you never know how it’s going to go.”
This bout will serve as Delannon’s reintroduction to ONE Super Series after a stuttering start.
Although he made his promotional debut at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER in June, it ended sooner than he anticipated, as two-division Lumpinee Stadium World Champion Petchmorrakot Wor. Sangprapai cut him with a left elbow near his eye.
The ringside physician declared “The Funky Drummer” unable to continue, causing him to lose the bout. It was something he regrets, as it had been a close, technical contest until that moment.
Despite the loss, he does not have the usual feelings of defeat after his performance, and its unfortunate end.
“It felt great to make my debut,” he explains. “I was at the same level as my opponent, and I was doing well.
“Those Lumpinee champions are so good, and I was just close behind him. That was the most important thing. It was encouraging.”
That defeat taught Delannon a valuable lesson on the importance of defense.
As he prepares for his upcoming showdown with Yodpanomrung, he has spent a lot of time fine-tuning this aspect of his game.
“I will be wary of the elbow,” he says. “I will defend the way I have to, and the way I trained. I have trained defense, mostly.”
In Yodpanomrung, the French Guianese competitor draws yet another highly accomplished Muay Thai veteran. Given his 24-year-old foe’s wealth of experience, he is determined to keep his wits about him, and wait for his opportunity to strike.
“I have to fight smart, and boom, find the key to victory,” he continues. “I need to find an opportunity, and blow it up.”
While “The Funky Drummer” is confident his renewed focus will be enough to carry him to victory, he will not share his strategy – primarily because he does not bring one into battle.
Over the course of his life, he has learned that things rarely go the way you anticipate – inside or outside the ring. Because of that, he will just react to what is presented to him.
“I never have a plan on how to win. I just feel it, and go,” he explains.
“I don’t like plans. It’s like in life – sometimes you make plans, and things go differently, so I’ll go into the ring and fight intuitively. I’m an intuitive person.”
If Delannon can defeat Yodpanomrung at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES, it would set him up for other huge opportunities in ONE Super Series, and that is what he is looking for.
“What I want is to fight the best fighters,” he says.
“Nong-O is supposed to be the best fighter. To have the opportunity to fight him, for a belt, would be great.”