Roman Kryklia Vs. Alex Roberts: 4 Keys To Victory In Heavyweight Muay Thai World Title Fight
The headline attraction of ONE’s historic all-Muay Thai card will see reigning ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia battle Australian sensation Alex “The Viking” Roberts for the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Muay Thai World Title.
Slated for the main event of ONE Fight Night 17 on Prime Video this Friday, December 8, that clash of titans will air in U.S. primetime from Bangkok’s iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
For Kryklia, it’s a chance to claim two-sport gold and secure his place as one of the planet’s top pound-for-pound strikers.
Roberts, meanwhile, hopes to turn himself into a global superstar overnight and take out one of the organization’s most feared knockout artists in his ONE debut.
Before the fight card gets underway beginning at 8 p.m. ET tomorrow, we take a closer look at each man’s biggest keys to victory.
#1 Kryklia’s Potent Knee Strikes
Standing 6-foot-7, the towering Ukrainian masterfully employs knee strikes from all angles, and he’d be wise to use them liberally against Roberts.
Whether he’s stepping in to target the head from long range or punishing his opponent’s ribs in close, Kryklia’s knees have proven to be devastating weapons.
They should be particularly effective in this Muay Thai showdown, as the kickboxing titleholder will now be permitted to hold onto his foe’s head in the clinch, making these concussive blows easier to land.
#2 Roberts’ Powerful Clinch Game
While Kryklia may look to attack with knees in close, he could find himself at an overall disadvantage in the clinch.
That’s because even though the Gridin Gym representative has gone 5-0 in ONE so far, each fight has been contested under kickboxing rules, in which the clinch is prohibited.
Roberts, on the other hand, is a WBC Muay Thai European, International, and World Champion, having spent the vast majority of his accomplished career competing under the Muay Thai rule set.
Importantly, he’s a brutally strong clinch fighter who’s capable of controlling and overpowering even the biggest opponents, and he will likely aim to press this potential advantage against Kryklia.
#3 Kryklia’s Commanding Jab
Kryklia is a ruthless long-range striker, and the centerpiece of that game is his piston-like jab.
With a significant reach advantage over the powerful but plodding Roberts, he should throw his jab early and often.
Not only does the strike cause real damage each time it lands, but it also creates openings for even bigger show-stopping blows.
If the 32-year-old hopes to claim 26 more pounds of gold and score his fifth stoppage victory in the organization, he should make the jab the foundation of his approach.
#4 Roberts’ Thudding Body Punches
Because Kryklia is so tall and possesses excellent head movement, “The Viking” might struggle to land cleanly on the jaw. For that reason, Roberts should break down the giant by first attacking the body with gut-munching body blows.
Throughout his career, the Australian has utilized a picture-perfect shovel hook targeted at his opponent’s liver, and that punch should serve him well at ONE Fight Night 17.
With a heavy body attack, Roberts could slow Kryklia’s movement, zap him of his energy, and eventually draw his hands down away from his chin – exposing him for a knockout opportunity.