Martin Nguyen Picks Superbon To Beat Tawanchai; Breaks Down Each World Title Contest At ONE Friday Fights 46
This Friday, December 22, martial arts fans around the world will tune in to ONE Friday Fights 46: Tawanchai vs. Superbon – the organization’s blockbuster final event of 2023.
Set to go down at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, the Asia primetime card is topped by a trio of intriguing World Title fights, each showcasing the planet’s top strikers.
One man who’s sure to be watching is former two-division ONE World Champion and current #3-ranked featherweight MMA contender Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen.
While the 34-year-old is currently in the U.S. preparing for his high-stakes clash with Garry Tonon at ONE 165: Rodtang vs. Takeru in Tokyo, he took some time out of his rigorous training schedule to break down each World Title bout at ONE Friday Fights 46.
Tawanchai Vs. Superbon
In the main event, two of the most dangerous pound-for-pound strikers on the planet will throw down, as reigning ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Tawanchai PK Saenchai defends his gold against former ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion Superbon Singha Mawynn.
Nguyen expects the 24-year-old Tawanchai – widely regarded as one of the sport’s most devastating knockout artists – to hunt for the finish early and often:
“Just from watching the guys in the last few fights, I feel that Tawanchai is going to come out hard. He’s going to swing hard, throw hard, and try to finish Superbon.”
Even though that strategy will likely fire up the Bangkok crowd, “The Situ-Asian” believes that an overly aggressive game plan could backfire for the defending titleholder.
He thinks that Superbon’s dynamic and explosive kicking game is likely to gain the advantage if and when the Thai megastars begin trading heavy strikes:
“If that doesn’t work, I feel that Superbon will definitely have the fight all over the place, so Superbon is my pick. He’s someone that you don’t want to get kicked by, especially with a kick that you don’t see coming. That’s his specialty. He’s got good kicks and good strikes.”
What’s more, Nguyen says that for all his world-renowned power, Tawanchai’s defense is suspect.
In his most recent outing, for example, the PK Saenchai representative was pushed to the limit in a wild kickboxing battle with “Smokin” Jo Nattawut:
“Tawanchai gets hit a lot. You obviously can tell from that last fight against Jo Nattawut. Everyone thought Tawanchai was going to walk through Jo Nattawut, but I thought Jo won that fight. But it is what it is.
“That happened, and you can see in that fight that Tawanchai gets hit a lot. And getting hit by Superbon, he is not someone you want to get hit by.”
Joseph Lasiri Vs. Prajanchai
The Italian-Moroccan stunned the Thai superstar when the pair first met in 2022. But since then, Lasiri has fallen to flyweight Muay Thai kingpin Rodtang Jitmuangnon in his quest for two-division glory and then remained on the sidelines for much of 2023 due to injury.
Nguyen believes the extended layoff and the crushing defeat to Rodtang will be the deciding factors in this World Title unification bout:
“I feel Prajanchai gets it done. Only because of the inactivity of Joseph Lasiri, and also the way he lost. For Lasiri, the last fight [against Rodtang] was kind of a complete domination. It could be demoralizing as well.”
That doesn’t mean “The Hurricane” should be entirely counted out. Given how their first fight ended – with Prajanchai quitting on his stool – Nguyen thinks Lasiri could have the mental edge this time.
But ultimately, he views the Thai as the superior overall striker and expects him to claim the undisputed divisional gold this Friday:
“If Joseph Lasiri comes out and fights the way he did the first time, where he put the pressure on Prajanchai and made him feel that pressure. I mean, the way that he finished the first one, he made a champion quit. And that’s something you don’t see ever happening.
“But I’m pretty sure if the fight is going to go toe-to-toe, Prajanchai gets it done. Technique, pure technique.”
Anissa Meksen Vs. Phetjeeja
In the first World Title tilt, pound-for-pound kickboxing GOAT Anissa “C18” Meksen will take on surging Muay Thai phenom “The Queen” Phetjeeja for the ONE Interim Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Title.
While the 21-year-old Phetjeeja has been flawless and dominant through her four fights in the world’s largest martial arts organization, Nguyen agrees with the pundits in labeling Meksen – with her vicious power and refined technique – as the best striker in the sport.
For that reason, he’s siding with the French-Algerian legend:
“I feel that Anissa Meksen is the best in the world, regardless of who she fights. Anyone she fights, she beats. She’s pound-for-pound, for me, number one in the world. Obviously, her style, her pressure, and her power that she possesses, she can knock Phetjeeja out.”
No matter how the matchup plays out, “The Situ-Asian” is picking this contest as his “sleeper” fight of the night – all but guaranteed to produce fireworks for as long as it lasts.
“I’m really proud of both of them. Hopefully, they give us a better fight than all the other guys.”