The Muay Thai and kickboxing heroes of The Home Of Martial Arts continued to perform at the peak of their powers in the past three months.
A high standard was set in ONE Super Series at the beginning of 2019, but it was matched in July, August, and September as world-class athletes continued to show why martial artists around the world are desperate to join the roster.
Faced with dangerous opponents, these elite competitors delivered when the stakes were high and the pressure was on, and they thrilled fans around the world.
In chronological order, these are the top five displays from the year’s third quarter.
#1 “The Doctor” Leaves No Doubt
The result of the first meeting of Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan and Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON was one of the most hotly-debated in recent years.
That meant both men wanted to leave no doubt about who deserved to advance to the semifinals when they met for the second time at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Petrosyan was far more aggressive than we are used to seeing him as he tried to take out his rival – a multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion – with big punches.
Though he could not land a finishing blow with his hands, a smart game plan meant he had an answer to almost every strike Petchmorakot threw his way. In particular, the Thai star was forced to absorb powerful leg kicks the instant he threw anything in the direction of the Italian.
Over three rounds, “The Doctor” landed with greater force, and more often, to seal safe passage to the next round of the tournament.
#2 Rodtang Rises To The Occasion
Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon had blown through all four of his previous opponents in ONE Super Series, but when he challenged for the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title, he found himself in an unfamiliar position.
At ONE: DAWN OF HEROES, England’s Jonathan “The General” Haggerty started this contest with an excellent strategy as he controlled the distance and picked his shots well. After two rounds, the man from Bangkok, Thailand, had a mountain to climb.
“The Iron Man” was not discouraged by his lack of early success, and he gradually worked his way back into the bout by making small adjustments to his aggressive approach. He started to find a home for his heavy strikes, and in the first of the championship rounds, he dropped his rival with a beautiful right hand to the chin.
That was the turning point, and though Haggerty recovered, he could not find a way to score with a strike that was as significant as Rodtang’s knockdown. That meant the 22-year-old Pattalung native grabbed the gold with a unanimous decision.
#3 Ramazanov’s Perfect Round
The ideal outcomes of a bout for any martial artist are to put on a show, finish your opponent quickly, and take little or no damage. Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov managed all of that in his Muay Thai match-up with Ognjen Topic.
At ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD in Bangkok, the Russian knockout artist took the center of the cage, and after he probed at his opponent for a minute or so, he went after the knockout.
Three knockdowns by the 2:25 mark of the first round were enough to do the job against the Serbian-American, who barely laid a glove on his opponent.
#4 Ennahachi Seizes His Chance
Later that night in the Thai capital, Ilias “Tweety” Ennahachi made a remarkable debut in The Home Of Martial Arts as he entered the lion’s den to capture the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title.
Almost everyone in the Impact Arena was cheering for their local hero, “The Baby Shark” Petchdam Petchyindee Academy, but the Dutch-Moroccan blocked out the noise to take him out.
At first, he had to contend with a typically aggressive approach from the defending World Champion, but he kept his cool in the face of his rival’s signature power left roundhouse kick, and responded with sharp counter strikes.
In round two, Ennahachi started to come forward with his boxing, and he never relinquished command of the contest after he started to score. He looked like he might finish the contest with relentless body blows and headshots, but the man from Bangkok held on for a few moments longer.
The end came in the next stanza as Petchdam wilted under the power of his challenger’s hands. “Tweety” charged forward immediately, landed with speed and accuracy, and sent a message to the rest of his division.
#5 Duy Nhat Steals The Show In Vietnam
As the most famous hometown hero on the bill at ONE’s first event in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, there was a huge amount of pressure on the shoulders of “No.1” Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat.
However, the 30-year-old did not let that stop him from putting on a Muay Thai masterclass at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH as he dismantled Azwan Che Wil before he hit a stunning knockout blow.
Duy Nhat took control from the opening moments, but he came alive in the second round, and dropped his counterpart with a left high kick that sparked euphoric cheers from the fans in attendance.
Somehow, the Malaysian got to his feet, but “No.1” finished the job with just a few seconds to go. Another head kick stunned Azwan, and a huge right hand put on a bow on a memorable ONE Super Series debut.