Breaking Down Superlek’s Incredible Fight IQ

Superlek Kiatmoo9 throws a round kick at Taiki Naito at ONE 157

Superlek Kiatmoo9 is one of the most cunning athletes in ONE Championship, thanks in part to his excellent fight IQ. In fact, his in-ring smarts have helped him become the #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender and have earned him a professional striking record of 128-29-4. 

In his last outing in the quarterfinals of the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix, “The Kicking Machine” picked apart #4-ranked flyweight kickboxer Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito to score a unanimous decision victory and advance to the semis, where he’ll battle #5-ranked Walter Goncalves next.

Even before his successful outing in the Grand Prix, however, the four-time Muay Thai World Champion has consistently used two of his greatest strengths to propel him toward victory — counter-attacks and powerful kicks.

The King Of Counter-Attacks

In addition to his smart offensive tactics, Superlek can be just as tricky even when fighting off the back foot.

There is no better example of this than when he took on compatriot and #3-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender “The Angel Warrior” Panpayak Jitmuangnon at ONE: NO SURRENDER in July 2020.

For every shot that Panpayak lobbed Superlek’s way, “The Kicking Machine” had an immediate response. Throughout the fight, Superlek patiently waited for his opponent to make his move so that he could retaliate with flurries of combinations. 

Superlek demonstrated another instance of his fantastic counter-attacks when he faced Portuguese striker Rui Botelho a year earlier at ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT.

“The Kicking Machine” moved confidently around Botelho, seemingly unperturbed by his opponent’s attacks. When Botelho did land, Superlek seized the opportunity to counter by closing the distance and blitzing with his own strikes, all before his opponent could get out of range.

Despite Botelho’s best efforts, he bore the brunt of the two-time Lumpinee Stadium World Champion’s deft counter-attacks.

A Right Kick That Doesn’t Quit

Superlek isn’t called “The Kicking Machine” for nothing. The Thai warrior is famous for his intense kicks, which he put on display against Naito in the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot this past May.

Superlek force-fed “Silent Sniper” everything from head kicks to low kicks to push kicks, while the Japanese athlete could do nothing but absorb them. And just when it appeared that Naito knew what to expect next, “The Kicking Machine” surprised him by landing a kick where he wasn’t defending.

The Thai also used push kicks to set up head kicks before “Silent Sniper” could react. At times, he’d close the gap between them and aim for hard low kicks. Superlek had completely exhausted Naito’s legs and worn his spirit down by the end of the three-round bout — and it was all thanks to his right kicks.

Superlek displayed similar skills against Fahdi “The Gladiator” Khaled at ONE: A NEW BREED II under kickboxing rules. He showed no mercy toward his Turkish opponent, pushing the pace even while fighting backward. “The Kicking Machine” landed body kick after body kick as Khaled attempted to advance.

At one point during their match, Superlek landed several kicks in succession without missing a beat, even as Khaled adjusted and tried to counter.

With counter-attacks and right kicks like Superlek’s, it’s no wonder the Muay Thai phenom is known as one of the smartest fighters in the game.

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