Tawanchai Vs. Nattawut II: 4 Keys To Victory In Muay Thai World Title Fight At ONE 167

Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II faceoff

The main event of ONE 167 on Prime Video will see two of Thailand’s most electrifying fighters throw down in a rematch that has captured the attention of striking fans across the globe.

This Friday in U.S. primetime, reigning ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Tawanchai PK Saenchai will defend his gold against decorated veteran “Smokin” Jo Nattawut at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

The elite knockout artists first clashed in an unforgettable kickboxing battle last October, and even though Nattawut took that fight on just two weeks’ notice, he pushed Tawanchai to the limit.

The PK Saenchai representative won that contest with a razor-close decision, but the thrilling showdown set the stage for an epic rematch under Muay Thai rules – now with 26 pounds of gold up for grabs.

Before the action gets underway in less than 24 hours, we look at the biggest keys to victory for both Tawanchai and Nattawut.

Nattawut’s Big Right Hand

As the righty in this classic southpaw-versus-orthodox matchup, “Smokin” Jo will look to land his thunderous right hand early and often.

In their kickboxing battle, Nattawut’s biggest moments came from his straight right punch – a strike that seemed to wobble Tawanchai on at least one occasion. Notably, he was able to land his right hand as both an offensive weapon and as a counter-strike.

And while the defending titleholder is revered for his massive kicking power, it’s the boxing department where the challenger likely holds the advantage.

For that reason, Nattawut would be wise to fight at medium range – inside of Tawanchai’s trademark kicks but at the perfect distance for punches.

Tawanchai’s Thunderous Left Kick

Tawanchai’s answer to his opponent’s right hand will be his show-stopping left kick – one of the single most dangerous weapons in all of Muay Thai.

Against Nattawut last time, the World Champion frequently threw his left kick to his foe’s lead leg, racking up damage and points as the fight wore on.

However, Tawanchai’s big left kick likely did the most damage when he fired it to the ribs.

Even though Nattawut stayed defensively sound and blocked the majority of those kicks, he absorbed the blows on his right arm, undoubtedly weakening his punches as the fight wore on.

In this five-round World Title battle, fans can expect the defending king to throw his left kick with vicious intent, whether to the legs, head, or body.

Nattawut’s Overwhelming Combinations

Despite his impeccable technique and extensive experience at the highest levels of the sport, “Smokin” Jo still tends to do his best work in chaotic exchanges and wild brawls.

Against a master counter-striker like Tawanchai, he cannot afford to play a patient game or throw just one shot at a time. Instead, he should focus on stringing his strikes together in aggressive combinations that force the titleholder on the defensive.

In their first fight, Nattawut found success when he forced Tawanchai to trade leather at close range – a strategy he should pursue again at ONE 167.

Tawanchai’s Five-Round Cardio

Nine years younger than the challenger and one of Muay Thai’s most gifted athletes, Tawanchai will likely hold a cardio advantage over the 34-year-old Nattawut.

And while “Smokin” Jo has plenty of championship-level experience outside of ONE, he hasn’t competed in a five-round fight in many years.

By comparison, Tawanchai has fought in – and won – three five-rounders since 2022, two of which went the distance.

Look for the defending World Champion to play a somewhat patient game through the opening frames, only to turn up the heat as the contest enters the championship rounds. Ultimately, his ability to press a high pace for 15 full minutes could be the factor that allows him to retain his gold.

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