ONE Super Series is home to the most exciting Muay Thai action on the planet, and the second half of 2021 looks set to deliver more memorable moments.
The divisions continue to grow in both strength and depth, which means elite athletes from “the art of eight limbs” will meet inside the Circle with increasing regularity.
Given all that talent, we’ve chosen five Muay Thai matchups that we’d love to witness before the end of this year – including some pivotal bouts for World Title gold.
Rodtang Jitmuangnon Vs. Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy
ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and rising contender Mongkolpetch Petchyindee Academy are on a collision course, and while the reigning titleholder thinks his countryman needs to continue building his name on the global stage, Mongkolpetch feels he is ready to challenge for the belt.
Rodtang is undoubtedly one the hottest stars in ONE, with a perfect 10-0 promotional record and a fan-friendly style that makes him a must-watch fighter every time he steps inside the Circle.
On the other side, Mongkolpetch has posted a 4-0 slate in The Home Of Martial Arts, and he would be a fresh challenger for “The Iron Man,” who’s already taken out multiple top-ranked contenders.
First-ranked contender “The Kicking Machine” Superlek Kiatmoo9 might be the most deserving challenger on paper, but it’s likely he’ll face Ilias “Tweety” Ennahachi in a rematch for the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title next, giving Mongkolpetch a chance to jump the line.
Stylistically, Rodtang’s marauding style of punches and low kicks would blend perfectly with his compatriot’s sharp elbows and knees, resulting in an intense battle where both men would want to fight toe-to-toe — and who wouldn’t want to see that?
Sam-A Gaiyanghadao Vs. Prajanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym
As the reigning World Champion in both the kickboxing and Muay Thai strawweight ranks, Sam-A Gaiyanghadao needs some new blood to try and loosen his grip on the weight class.
And recent signee Prajanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym might be the man who can push the legendary striker to his limits.
With a 6-1 record in ONE and an unblemished 4-0 slate since moving down to strawweight, Sam-A’s impeccable style has seen him remain a step ahead of his opponents.
But Prajanchai is a fearsome striker in his own right, having won multiple Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai World Titles and earning impressive boxing accolades, such as the WBA Asia South Title.
The promotional newcomer’s explosive arsenal would pose many new questions to Sam-A, as the younger athlete is full of momentum and has everything to gain. If the reigning king could pull off another win, it would help cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.
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Nong-O Gaiyanghadao Vs. Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym
Nong-O Gaiyanghadao is another dominant ONE World Champion who’s fended off all of his challengers to date.
He is 7-0 on the global stage, including four successful defenses of his bantamweight Muay Thai gold against the leading contenders in the division.
On top of that, the Bangkok resident has already beaten superstars like “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai and “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Klong SuanPluResort, so there’s no doubting his legitimacy.
The ice-cold Tawanchai would not be overwhelmed by Nong-O, and his speed could cause problems for the heavy-hitting ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion.
Still, many others thought they had the tools to defeat the Evolve veteran, but each of them came up short, as Nong-O somehow manages to look even better with every outing 25 years into his Muay Thai career.
Jonathan Haggerty Vs. Superlek Kiatmoo9
After falling short in two exciting showings against Rodtang, former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty got back on track with a dominant victory over Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito in December.
The Brit knows he must continue taking out top-ranked stars to earn his way back toward the belt, and if he could deliver against Superlek, it would be hard to deny his claim.
Superlek’s unbeaten run in ONE was halted by the narrowest of margins when he lost a ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title challenge to Ennahachi, but he is also within touching distance of the flyweight Muay Thai gold.
“The Kicking Machine” might want to even the score with the Dutch-Moroccan first, but if he could be enticed into a battle against Haggerty, it would have the potential to make him the standout contender for Rodtang’s belt.
The rangy Haggerty has sharp kicks from the outside, heavy hands, and scything elbows, while Superlek’s punishing shins are enough to ward off even the most determined offense. In this intriguing stylistic clash, both men would have to navigate dangerous strikes to land their own and claim the win.
Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy Vs. Jamal Yusupov
It’s been a long time coming, but after several false starts, a bout between ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy and #1-ranked contender Jamal “Kherow” Yusupov has to happen before the year is out.
Yusupov announced himself with a bang when he knocked out “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex back in November 2019. He then dropped the hard-as-nails Samy “AK47” Sana en route to a unanimous decision win.
His punching power makes him a potent threat at any moment, and Petchmorakot would not be able to lose his concentration for a second if he wants to stay safe against the Russian slugger.
However, the featherweight Muay Thai king has looked unstoppable since he acquired the crown in February 2020, and if “Kherow” thinks he can just charge in with punches, the Thai’s fierce knees would argue otherwise.
Both world-class athletes have many tools at their disposal, yet the key factor would be whether Yusupov can get through the Petchyindee Academy man’s long limbs to safely reach his jaw with his fists.
And if he does get inside, can “Kherow” survive getting tied up and blasted with Petchmorakot’s devastating knees and elbows?