Superlek Vs. Tagir Khalilov: 4 Keys To Victory In ONE Fight Night 12 Main Event

Superlek Kiatmoo9 faces Tagir Khalilov at ONE Fight Night 12

Thai superstar “The Kicking Machine” Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Russian phenom Tagir “Samingpri” Khalilov will headline ONE Fight Night 12 on Prime Video in an intriguing matchup that’s designed to deliver action.

This Friday, July 14, the elite flyweight strikers will throw down in a high-stakes Muay Thai tilt at the famed Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Both men have serious firepower in their arsenals, but they also have very different tools from one another – giving this all the makings of a stylistic battle for the ages.

Here are four keys to victory for #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender Superlek and the surging Khalilov before they go head-to-head in North American primetime.

#1 Khalilov’s Heavy Hands

Given the nature of his back-to-back knockout wins over Thai strikers Chorfah Tor Sangtiennoi and Black Panther, it’s clear that Khalilov’s biggest threat will be his concussive punches.

“The Thai Killer” builds behind strong straight shots and throws solid combinations that are less frequent in Muay Thai than in other striking sports. 

Once he has his rhythm, he can unleash his more powerful shots, like hooks and uppercuts, which can scythe through or around his opponent’s guard with smaller 4-ounce gloves. 

In his last victory over Black Panther, Khalilov showed he can be even more dangerous when he adds body shots into his output, meaning Superlek will have to be even more wary defensively.

The Russian also blends punches well with his other skills, punching into the clinch and elbow range, or punctuating his combinations with low kicks. 

#2 Superlek’s Right Kicks

The antidote to a big puncher is often a big kicker, and that is Superlek’s bread and butter.

Also the reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion, “The Kicking Machine” can use his thudding right leg to stifle the punching attacks of his foe. It’s so destructive that not blocking it carries huge risks, so Khalilov will have to keep his left arm in position as much as possible. 

The body is the most damaging target, but even if “Samingpri” defends, Superlek will wear him down with repeated impacts to his arms, making it harder to defend in the later rounds. 

The Thai icon’s right kick is formidable offensively, but he also makes good use of it to defend and counter. 

If Khalilov steps forward, he’ll open himself up to low kicks. And when he starts swinging, his body will be ripe for the picking from Superlek’s accurate and well-timed counters. 

#3 Khalilov Countering The Kicks

There isn’t much that can deter Superlek’s right kick, but Khalilov must try to make his adversary think twice by making him pay for throwing it.

Repeatedly absorbing the shot will only make the top-ranked contender more confident, so it’s imperative that “Samingpri” fires off his replies early.

Trying to intercept it is risky business, but if Khalilov can move to his right when Superlek’s kick comes, he can lessen the impact and put himself in a position to fire back.

The 30-year-old underdog has a good eye to catch and counter, often hitting back with his right hand or using trips and sweeps with his opponent on one leg. 

With these tools, Khalilov can potentially score by countering “The Kicking Machine’s biggest weapon. 

#4 Superlek Fighting On The Front Foot

It’s tempting to back away from a big puncher, but Superlek works best on the front foot and won’t want to concede ground to Khalilov. 

The two-sport superstar has looked most at risk when he’s allowed the likes of Ilias Ennahachi and Daniel Puertas to come at him – and “Samingpri” has that same potential. 

Conversely, the 27-year-old has a wealth of dangerous strikes to use when he moves forward and varies his shots and targets well. 

If Superlek can press behind his longer punches and kicks, he’ll open up opportunities to land his hard knees and elbows.

Being constantly pressured would put Khalilov in a much less favorable spot, with less time to set and sit on his punches. And if “The Kicking Machine” can stay on the offensive, he’ll have a strong chance to defend his spot in the rankings and continue his march toward a ONE Muay Thai World Title.

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