After a memorable first experience inside the ONE Championship cage last January, Muay Thai living legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao (365-46-9) is grateful to have an opportunity to challenge for another World Championship.
On Friday, 18 May, the Thai warrior will face Dutch-Surinamese kickboxer Sergio “The Samurai” Wielzen (46-18-2, 1 NC) at ONE: UNSTOPPABLE DREAMS, which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The victor of this epic clash will be crowned the inaugural ONE Super Series Muay Thai Flyweight World Champion, which is something Gaiyanghadao – a multi-time Lumpinee Stadium World Champion – would be honored to win.
“Even though I have won many Muay Thai world championships, I am still very excited about the chance to win the ONE Championship belt,” the 34-year-old says.
“I am thankful that ONE Championship has chosen me to take part in the first world title fight for ONE Super Series. I will do my best to make my family, my fans, and all of Thailand proud.”
Gaiyanghadao meets a tricky opponent in Wielzen, a two-time W5 World Champion, and Lion Fight Lightweight World Champion.
The 30-year-old Amsterdam, Netherlands resident is known for his knockout power, sharp striking, and keen ability to switch-up his style. That has led to victories over the likes of Ognjen Topic, and the legendary Anuwat Kaewsamrit.
“My opponent for this fight is very strong,” Gaiyanghadao offers.
“He is experienced, and has a lot of power. I am not taking this fight lightly, and I am fully focused. I do not have a particular game plan. As always, I will go in and see how the fight develops. It is going to be a fun fight.”
The Thai had fun when he made his promotional debut four months ago. He participated in the organization’s first-ever Muay Thai bout against Italy’s Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES in Manila, Philippines.
With a capacity crowd at the Mall Of Asia Arena, and potential billions watching around the world, it was the biggest audience the legend has ever competed in front of.
“The feeling is still fresh in my mind,” the Thai recollects.
“Competing in front of such a huge crowd, and then being able to showcase my skills, it was an amazing feeling. I felt nervous, but excited at the same time.”
If nerves were a problem for Gaiyanghadao, it certainly did not reflect in his performance.
Gaiyanghadao blasted the Italian striker with his trademark power, fierce kicks, and sharp elbows, accentuated by a monstrous left hand that dropped his opponent on numerous occasions. Lasiri tried his best to survive the onslaught, but the Thai was in peak form, and authored a spectacular technical knockout in the second round to cap off a masterful showcase.
After the victory, he credited the smaller, more compact ONE Championship gloves as the reason for his increased power.
“Fighting in those small gloves was a new thing for me. I felt sharp and powerful,” he explains. “And then, remembering how massive the arena was, it makes me even more excited now to come back and do it again.”
However, this time, the stakes are higher.
Gaiyanghadao knows this bout is a historic contest, as it will not only declare the first-ever world champion in ONE Super Series, but also set the pace for the striking-only contests moving forward.
The Thai, who has been practicing Muay Thai for 25 years, is preparing at Singapore’s Evolve MMA in anticipation of this groundbreaking moment, and believes he has what it takes to defeat Wielzen for the gold in emphatic fashion.
“I am in the best shape of my life, and I feel great,” Gaiyanghadao says. “I am faster, stronger, and more experienced. It is going to be an exciting contest for sure, but I am looking to end it quickly.”