Thanh Le Vs. Ilya Freymanov: 4 Keys To World Title Victory At ONE Fight Night 15
This Friday, October 6, two of the most dangerous knockout artists in mixed martial arts will go toe-to-toe for the ONE Interim Featherweight MMA World Title at ONE Fight Night 15 on Prime Video
Slated to air live in U.S. primetime, the highly anticipated showdown between former divisional kingpin Thanh Le and surging Russian contender Ilya Freymanov has all the makings of an explosive war on the feet.
Before the action gets underway at the famed Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, let’s take a closer look at each man’s biggest keys to victory – with the eventual winner setting up a future World Title unification bout against current titleholder Tang Kai
#1 Freymanov Attacking First
Freymanov arrived in ONE Championship as a highly touted rising star, already with eight knockouts on his resume and a reputation for highlight-reel knockouts.
Now, after just two appearances in the world’s largest martial arts organization, the 27-year-old has scored another spectacular KO and his first career submission – which also came after finding plenty of success on the feet.
Freymanov does his best work when he’s stringing together dynamic striking combinations, and those combos are most effective when he’s attacking first and pressing the action.
Against Le, he must be the fighter leading the dance, forcing the former titleholder on the back foot and finding holes in his defense.
#2 Le’s Movement And Footwork
Le has some of the finest footwork the featherweight MMA division has ever seen.
Elusive and difficult to pin down, the 38-year-old is a master at movement, setting traps and drawing his opponents forward to create openings for his unorthodox kicks and massive counter-punches.
Le has used that movement to score knockouts in all five of his ONE victories. And just as important, the few times he’s found himself in trouble, it’s been when he’s slowed his feet and allowed himself to be cornered.
When he squares off with the dangerously powerful Freymanov, the Vietnamese-American will need to stay on his bike, never be a sitting target, and use his elite footwork to set up his strikes.
#3 Freymanov’s Leg Kicks
If the Kuznya Fight Club representative wants to track down his speedy foe, he should lean heavily on one of his best weapons – a bone-crushing leg kick.
Throughout both of his first-round victories in ONE, Freymanov has flashed his leg kick as both a range-finder and a damaging strike.
That strike should serve him well against Le, slowing down and limiting the latter’s movement while zapping the power from his kicks.
What’s more, Le has shown weakness against leg kicks. In his World Title defeat to Tang last year, the Louisiana resident was forced to switch stances, and his speed was greatly diminished as a result of the painful damage he took to his lead leg.
With that in mind, Freymanov would be wise to follow the game plan laid out by Tang.
#4 Le’s Long-Range Kicks
A taekwondo black belt and a gifted athlete, Le owns one of the most feared and unpredictable kicking games in all of MMA.
When he clashes with the hard-charging, ultra-aggressive Freymanov, the former World Champion should rely on his dizzying array of kicks, from his stabbing push kick to his lighting-fast head kick and everything else in his deep toolbox.
Moreover, he can utilize his kicks to control the distance, preventing the Russian from attacking at close range, where he throws his thunderous knee strikes and ruthless punches.
Look for Le to employ the full breadth of his dynamic kicking game as he tries to score his 13th career knockout and reclaim 26 pounds of MMA gold.