Capitan Vs. Mehdi Zatout: 4 Keys To World Title Victory
ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Capitan Petchyindee Academy steps into the Circle on Friday, 24 September, to defend his belt for the first time – and it happens to be against the mentor of the fighter he took it from.
The Thai striker faces Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout at ONE: REVOLUTION in what will be an explosive ONE Super Series kickboxing showdown.
Capitan will attempt to keep the World Title at the Bangkok-based Petchyindee Academy. But Zatout – who is out to avenge his student, Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov – wants nothing more than to return the strap to the Pattaya-based Venum Training Camp Thailand.
Before the action kicks off on Friday night, here are four keys to victory for both bantamweights.
#1 Capitan’s One-Punch Finishing Power
In his promotional debut last year, Capitan catapulted his name into the spotlight after scoring the fastest knockout in ONE Super Series history, stopping Petchtanong Petchfergus with a right cross in just six seconds.
The ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion likes to use his right cross to counter his opponent’s offensive push kicks. And when facing a similar technique, Capitan tends to step back and scoop the incoming foot, before firing in with the right cross while his opponent is on one leg.
Zatout, however, is not known for attacking with push kicks. So, Capitan will have to use this elsewhere – against the Circle Wall, for example. He did this in his successful World Championship bid against Ramazanov where he pressured the Russian into the fence and unloaded right hands that damaged the former titleholder.
That said, “Diamond Heart” has been hit by the best of them, including ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, and he’s only been stopped once in his career. Couple that with the fact that Capitan will be wearing kickboxing gloves, and it may be hard for the Thai to score another walk-off finish courtesy of his right hand.
Either way, expect this to be his weapon of choice on 24 September.
#2 Zatout’s Fluid Evades and Counters
When it comes to evading and countering, Zatout is as graceful as they come – and he’ll need to use these skills against the rushing bull in Capitan. The World Champion has a fearless style, where he walks his opponents down and sinks in boxing combinations.
However, as fans have seen, Zatout has masterful evasion techniques that he can combine with lethal counters. When he faced Han Zi Hao in January 2020, the French-Algerian expertly leaned back from his foe’s high kicks before returning with zapping straight lefts and rights.
“Diamond Heart” shouldn’t expect too many high kicks from Capitan, but he could put those skills to good use when the World Champion rushes in with his punches. Against Ramazanov, Capitan was clipped on the chin with a hook that buckled his legs, and this could be something that the challenger focuses on.
If Zatout can string together two or three punches that land, he may be able to score a knockdown – or perhaps even a knockout. But that’s if the Thai doesn’t land his own damaging shots first, starting with his lethal low kicks.
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#3 Capitan’s Legendary Low Kicks
This past January, Capitan grabbed the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title by scoring a second-round TKO with a low kick-right cross combination. But it was his low kicks that brought him to the finish line.
The Thai likes to let rip with these to counter his opponents’ punches. He’ll wait patiently for an attack to come at him, then dip off to the side and sink his shin into the thigh. Also, he’ll throw the low kick just as his rival begins to execute their punches, catching them before they can even extend their arm.
That will be key against Zatout, as the Venum Training Camp representative doesn’t always block low kicks. Instead, he often tries to use his speed and footwork to evade them, which doesn’t always work out in “Diamond Heart’s” favor. And Capitan will try to capitalize on this.
If he lands a few accurate low kicks early on, he will cause valuable damage to the French-Algerian that could slow him down in the later rounds, making it easier for him to connect with his lethal right hand.
However, Zatout can fight from both an orthodox and southpaw stance, so Capitan may have to take out both legs to find this damage.
#4 Zatout’s Ambidextrous Abilities
Zatout begins all of his bouts from an orthodox stance. But as soon as he gets going, he often shifts to southpaw during spurts of action, which gives him the chance to work his kicks from both the left and right sides.
His student, Ramazanov, tried the same tactic against Capitan to no avail, but Zatout is more skillful at maintaining his balance from both stances. This allows him to attack with greater precision and purpose – no matter the side he’s favoring in the moment.
Utilizing this could help “Diamond Heart” wear down both of the Thai’s arms, making it harder for him to punch with power and cover quickly. And this could easily change the trajectory of the fight in Zatout’s favor.
Read more: Capitan Unafraid Of Zatout: ‘I Don’t Think He’s That Dangerous’