Reliving The Drama Of Saemapetch Vs. Rabah Before Their Big Rematch At ONE Fight Night 19
ONE Fight Night 19: Haggerty vs. Lobo on Prime Video will play host to a high-stakes rematch steeped in drama.
On February 16 in U.S. primetime, Thai fan favorite Saemapetch Fairtex will look to avenge his controversial December 2023 loss to Algerian sensation Mohamed “The Eagle” Younes Rabah in a can’t-miss bantamweight Muay Thai tilt.
These warriors will run it back in the same ring as their first showdown at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Before Saemapetch and Rabah square off once again, we take a closer look at exactly what happened in their memorable first encounter.
Rabah Steps In As Late-Notice Replacement
Then ranked #3 in the stacked bantamweight Muay Thai division, Saemapetch was initially slated to face Felipe “Demolition Man” Lobo at ONE Fight Night 17 with a potential World Title shot on the line.
But just days before that event, Lobo withdrew from the bout due to injury. Stepping in was Rabah – an undefeated phenom with elite skills that had yet to be tested in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
As one of the sport’s most promising rising stars, “The Eagle” represented a stiff test for the veteran of 147 fights and posed a serious threat to his World Title hopes.
That contest was slated to take place at a catchweight of 150 pounds, but Rabah was unable to make that weight while hydrated, so the pair agreed to compete at 151.75 pounds.
For the 26-year-old debutant, the bout marked the biggest opportunity of his career – the chance to take out one of Muay Thai’s most feared and established superstars.
The Fight: A Wild War With A Controversial Ending
Fans were treated to two-and-a-half minutes of chaotic, white-knuckle action when Saemapetch and Rabah went toe-to-toe.
Tall, long, and lanky, “The Eagle” pressed forward throughout the opening moments, showing little fear as he waded into his foe’s punching range. For his part, the shorter Saemapetch welcomed the aggression and fired off venomous counter-punches.
After just 75 seconds of action, one of those punches landed with brutal accuracy, sending the Algerian crashing to the canvas and bringing the Bangkok crowd to a roar.
Seemingly unfazed – or perhaps even more fired up – Rabah quickly bounced back to his feet and charged forward behind a thunderous jab-cross punching combination that dropped Saemapetch to even the score at one knockdown apiece.
What followed was nothing less than high-paced action, with the promotional newcomer pursuing his opponent with ruthless aggression and Saempetch throwing thunderous counter-strikes.
With less than one minute left in the fight, Rabah pressed his man against the ropes, where he unloaded a flurry of strikes, crumbling the Thai to his knees for a second knockdown.
Before the referee could rush in to separate the fighters, and while Saemapetch was grounded on the canvas, Rabah landed a vicious knee strike that looked to hurt the 30-year-old veteran even more.
The Fairtex Training Center representative would somehow regain his feet, but he was still dazed and on wobbly legs, forcing an end to the contest.
When the replay played on the big screen at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, the knee looked to be borderline illegal, drawing the ire of the Thai fans and setting the stage for the dramatic grudge match.
The Rematch At ONE Fight Night 19
Given that background, both Rabah and Saemapetch will come into their rematch on February 16 with something to prove.
For “The Eagle,” he wants to show that his victory was far from a fluke and that he belongs among the world’s best Muay Thai athletes.
What’s more, a second consecutive win over an established veteran like Saemapetch could land him in the division’s top five and kick-start his climb toward divisional gold.
The Thai, meanwhile, is almost certainly out for revenge.
Fourth-ranked Saemapetch hopes to hand Rabah his first career defeat, right the wrongs of the first fight’s dramatic ending, and restart his own journey toward the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title.