The promotion’s all-striking league saw new World Champions crowned, debutants break into the rankings, and successful transitions from one sport into the other.
The new year brings new possibilities, though, and we’ve compiled a list of five ONE Super Series fights we’d love to witness inside the Circle over the next 12 months.
#1 Nong-O Vs. Rittewada
Before that matchup, Saemapetch had only lost once in ONE since joining the promotion in 2018, and that was at the hands of Nong-O. So, it makes sense that Rittewada should get the next crack at the longtime divisional king.
If that bout does happen, it would pit Nong-O against a tall, explosive bantamweight who is equally crafty. The champion would not only have to be fast; he’d also have to close the distance to touch an opponent who holds a 15-centimeter reach advantage.
Rittewada’s wingspan would make it easy for him to land his trademark elbows on Nong-O as the latter tries to get close. This would put the titleholder in a predicament that ONE Super Series fans have yet to see.
#2 Saemapetch Vs. Tawanchai
After losing to Rittewada, Saemapetch will be looking to rebound with a win over another elite bantamweight.
Meanwhile, Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym dropped out of the top five this year after falling to #3-ranked kickboxer Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong – albeit at featherweight – so he’ll be looking to re-enter the rankings.
All of that would make the timing of this fight perfect, with the stakes high for both men.
If Saemapetch wins, he’d remain in the #1 spot and keep his hopes for a second World Title run alive. But if Tawanchai defeats the Fairtex athlete, he’d prove his loss at the heavier weight was a fluke and grab a prominent position in the bantamweight rankings.
Saemapetch versus Tawanchai would be a battle of two highly respected Muay Thai tacticians who have a knack for exploiting their opponent’s mistakes. And if either makes one of their own, the other would surely capitalize – and go for a devastating finish.
#3 Janet Todd Vs. Allycia Hellen Rodrigues
ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet “JT” Todd had a 2021 to remember. After taking the kickboxing gold from former two-sport queen Stamp Fairtex at the end of 2020, she returned to Muay Thai this year – and scored two impressive wins.
Allycia Hellen Rodrigues, on the other hand, has competed just once in ONE Super Series, but it was a monumental debut. In August 2020, the Brazilian scored a shocking upset over Stamp to earn the ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title, which she holds to this day.
Rodrigues is now preparing to return after becoming a mother, while Todd is hoping to earn two-sport gold after becoming the #1 atomweight Muay Thai contender. That means this World Champion vs. World Champion clash is a must-happen matchup in the upcoming year.
Adding to the intrigue, Todd is a quick starter with heavy hands, whereas Rodrigues tends to ramp things up in the later rounds and favors countering with her kicks. There’s no doubt those tactics would produce an enthralling battle of contrasting styles.
#4 Felipe Lobo Vs. Hiroki Akimoto
Lobo defeated #3-ranked Muay Thai contender Rodlek “The Steel Locomotive” PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym under kickboxing rules at ONE: NEXTGEN III in November, while Akimoto beat Chinese kickboxing superstar “The Tank” Qiu Jianliang at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS in December.
As a result, Lobo earned the #5 contender spot in the bantamweight kickboxing division, while Akimoto moved up one place to #2.
With #1-ranked Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov now focusing on Muay Thai after losing his kickboxing gold to Capitan Petchyindee Academy, #3-ranked Nong-O sitting on the bantamweight Muay Thai throne, and #4-ranked Petchtanong Petchfergus already going down to Capitan, this is the perfect time for Lobo and Akimoto to square off for a shot at the belt.
This fight would be an instant classic between the methodical Brazilian and the combination-heavy Japanese striker.
#5 Rodtang Vs. Nong-O
ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and bantamweight king Nong-O have been unstoppable in their respective divisions.
Rodtang has gone 10-0 in ONE Super Series, and Nong-O is on a 7-0 streak. Neither megastar has come close to being finished – but both have tremendous knockout capabilities – which would make this matchup absolutely riveting.
If the fight does take place in 2022, it might happen at a catchweight, as Nong-O is a small bantamweight, while Rodtang could easily put on a few kilos. The outcome would depend heavily on who can impose their style on the other.
Rodtang would walk forward and swing at his compatriot. But Nong-O, who is a muay femur, would refuse to play into “The Iron Man’s” emotional games. Instead, he’d smartly counter the ferocious striker.
Of course, Nong-O also has the power to match. He stopped both Saemapetch and Rodlek by TKO, and he could be the first man to take out Rodtang under the ONE Super Series banner.
Read more: 5 MMA Fights We Want To See In 2022