‘I’m Better Than Him’ – Rui Botelho Ready For Pivotal Clash With Strawweight Kickboxing Phenom Zhang Peimian
Rui Botelho is ready for the biggest opportunity in his ONE Championship career.
This Friday, November 3, the Portuguese striker will make his long-awaited return against former ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title challenger “Fighting Rooster” Zhang Peimian at ONE Fight Night 16: Haggerty vs. Andrade on Prime Video, and he firmly believes he can deliver a statement-making performance that will captivate the U.S. primetime audience.
Zhang, who just celebrated his 20th birthday in mid-October, is a high-volume striker with a forward-pressure style. That, along with his immense speed, has overwhelmed most of his opponents.
However, Botelho thinks that will mesh perfectly with his own skill set when they go head-to-head at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Ahead of ONE Fight Night 16, the Portuguese dynamo said:
“I don’t know much about him, but I know he likes to fight, to go inside and be aggressive, and that fits very well with my fighting style.”
Zhang has brilliantly displayed his stand-up prowess throughout his career, as he holds a 17-2-1 record with three decisive victories in the world’s largest martial arts organization. In fact, his only promotional defeat came against Jonathan Di Bella in their close ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title showdown at ONE 162 in October 2022.
But after facing the likes of ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Superlek Kiatmoo9 and multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Panpayak Jitmuangnon, Botelho is not fazed by the “Fighting Rooster.”
The 28-year-old Portuguese star is confident that his skills will put him a step ahead, and he plans on showing it when they collide in the Thai capital.
“What makes him dangerous, I think, are his hands. But like I said, I don’t know much about him. Anyway, I think I’m better than him and the advantages I may have over him will be seen in the fight.”
Rui Botelho Sets His Sights On Jonathan Di Bella’s Gold
Following a tough campaign in the flyweight ranks, where he threw down with many of the division’s most elite competitors, Rui Botelho has moved down a weight class and feels confident that he can reach the top of the strawweight mountain.
And with Zhang Peimian standing out as one of the strawweight division’s most notable athletes, Botelho thinks a victory would completely alter the course of his career and lead to a shot at Jonathan Di Bella’s gold.
The Mafra native said:
“This fight will be the beginning of my journey toward the ONE [Strawweight] Kickboxing World Title. I think a victory over him could put me in a fight for the World Title next.”
With that goal in mind, Botelho plans on delivering the performance of his life at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in U.S. primetime this Friday.
Though he doesn’t offer too many details on his winning strategy, the Portuguese striker promises he’ll have his arm raised by the referee and that he’ll have a post-fight interview in the ring.
“I think it will be an interesting fight for the public. But, without a doubt, at the end of the fight, I’m the one who will talk to Mitch Chilson.”