Li Kai Wen Anticipates ‘Bout Of The Year’ In Malaysia

“The Underdog” Li Kai Wen is making a quick turnaround.

Just three weeks after his record-breaking knockout in Macau, the Chinese warrior will return to action on Friday, 13 July.

He is scheduled to meet fellow featherweight contender Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER, which takes place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The last time Li competed in ONE Championship was on 23 June. He faced promotional debutant Rodian “The Redeemer” Menchavez at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, and knocked him out in 10 seconds.

By doing so, he set the record for the fastest knockout and finish in the featherweight division’s history.

“This is only a start,” the 22-year-old Tianjin Top Team product says. “There will be more record-breaking performances in the future.”

Even if he cannot write his name into the record books again in Kuala Lumpur next weekend, he expects to deliver an unforgettable performance. He talks about that, and much more, in this exclusive interview.

ONE Championship: What was your game plan against Rodian Menchavez at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER?

Li Kai Wen: My game plan was to utilize my aggression and explosiveness, and to make a statement in the first couple of exchanges of the fight. I wanted to see how he would react.

ONE: Did you expect to knock him out so quickly?

LKW: Well, I believe every fighter has visualized a quick finish in their head. I would not say that I expected it against Rodian, but yes, I visualized it.

ONE: How did you celebrate this historic victory?

LKW: Food, food, and more food (laughs). My father and my team’s managers were there for the fight. I think they celebrated more than me. I did go to the afterparty that was hosted by ONE, but because I had an early flight to catch, I did not stay long.

ONE: You will face Emilio Urrutia at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER – just three weeks after that win. Why did you decide to accept this match?

LKW: I decided to take the fight, while my team and coaches objected. I have been systematically training since January, and I was fortunate to end my fight with Rodian early and not get hurt. Therefore, it is just like prolonging my training camp.

Also, I am a ONE employee, and my attitude has always been never to back away from a fight. Even the CEO (Victor Cui) asked me whether I would be willing to fight in Kuala Lumpur when he congratulated me after my victory. How could I say no?

ONE: You also asked for a bout with two-division ONE World Champion Martin Nguyen in your post-bout interview. How far away do you think you are from a title shot?

LKW: Like I said in the interview, Martin is a great champion, and I am a great challenger. I feel that I am not that far from a title shot. But I do not want to think about Martin now. My focus is on Emilio.

ONE: What are your thoughts on Urrutia as an opponent? 

LKW: Emilio is a formidable opponent. He is a seasoned veteran. He is strong and powerful,  and he has good ground skills. He is a very well-rounded mixed martial artist.

On the other hand, I also possess these skills, and I am an up-and-coming young lion.

ONE: Do you think a full training camp would have been more beneficial?

LKW: Of course, a full training camp is ideal, but we do not live in an ideal world. I do feel that I am prepared – not because of Rodian, but because of my training that started in January this year.

ONE: How do you envision this match playing out?

LKW: This will be a barn burner of a fight. It will be ‘Fight Of The Night’ – even a ‘Fight Of The Year’ candidate. Emilio and I are friends on Facebook, and we share many mutual friends. He and I both agreed to entertain the fans.