ONE: BATTLEGROUND III, which aired from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 27 August, was a night filled with tightly contested bouts and inspiring performances.
After stepping inside the Circle, each athlete left everything they had on the canvas, giving fans an evening they won’t soon forget.
Following the closing bell, there was a lot to break down from the six sensational matches that made up the card. Here are three key takeaways that stood out.
#1 Sitthichai’s Triumphant Return To Muay Thai
If there were any doubts that kickboxing legend Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong could don the 4-ounce gloves and seamlessly transition back to “the art of eight limbs,” he silenced them in a razor-thin victory over rising superstar Tawanchai P.K.Saenchai Muaythaigym.
Tawanchai utilized his speed against Sitthichai’s pressure from the opening bell. However, the Sitsongpeenong veteran made adjustments to even up the score by the end of the first round.
In the second stanza, “Killer Kid” used his elbows – a skill he had not used in seven years while competing under kickboxing rules. In response, Tawanchai mixed up his own artillery to keep his counterpart on his toes. It was anyone’s match heading into the final three minutes, and fans waited with bated breath.
Ultimately, it was the eight-time Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion who found the most success down the stretch. Most notably, a stinging left cross swiped at the chin of Tawanchai, who acknowledged the connection. Sitthichai’s work in the final frame was enough to earn two of the three judges’ nods, clinch the win, and move his overall record to a staggering 124-32-5.
After defeating a dangerous contender, Sitthichai could now turn his eyes toward reigning ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy.
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#2 Dejdamrong Spurns Father Time Again
The former ONE Strawweight World Champion had to weather an early storm from “The Prince,” but as the action drew on into the second frame, he put his veteran savvy to use and took over the contest.
Dejdamrong felt his opponent fading and turned up the pressure. As he backed Banma to the Circle Wall, the striking brilliance from his time as a Muay Thai World Champion came into play with precise elbows and knees. The younger fighter ultimately collapsed to the canvas, and Dejdamrong followed up until the referee pulled him away to end the bout.
The Evolve MMA representative got back in the win column and sent a message that he’s not ready to yield his spot to the next generation. The wisdom that comes with experience proved to be the difference, and it could propel Dejdamrong back into ONE Strawweight World Title contention.
#3 Xie States His Case Amid Stacked Flyweight Division
The flyweight division is absolutely loaded with talent, and a cavalcade of extraordinary martial artists is chasing the gold held by Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes.
“The Hunter” Xie Wei is one of those exciting athletes, and the Chinese star sent a message to the top-ranked contenders in the weight class with a blistering third-round TKO over “Holy Beast” Dae Hwan Kim.
After a competitive first round, Xie began to assert his dominance by staying in the Seoul native’s face. As Kim started to slow, “The Hunter” let rip with powerful strikes. And though “Holy Beast” continued to show his warrior spirit, Xie found his body’s off switch.
The Chinese star connected with a crushing left hook to the liver, and Kim went down to the mat. After a few ground punches to his fallen foe, the referee stepped in, and Xie got his hand raised high.
“The Hunter’s” third straight TKO victory moved him another rung up the ladder. And if he can continue his charge with more body-folding finishes, he could make a case for breaking into the official athlete rankings in the near future.