Nattawut, Menshikov, Ghazali, Smith Score Wild Victories At Knockout-Filled ONE Fight Night 17

Dmitry Menshikov Mouhcine Chafi ONE Fight Night 17 37

ONE Championship’s first all-Muay Thai lineup promised fireworks, and the athletes certainly delivered in U.S. primetime on Friday, December 8.

The undercard of ONE Fight Night 17: Kryklia vs. Roberts on Prime Video featured insane action from start to finish, as all but one matchup ended with a knockout and the other produced a Fight of the Year candidate.

Before the World Title main event between Roman Kryklia and Alex Roberts, we recap all the earlier action from a thrilling showcase of “the art of eight limbs” at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Nattawut Outguns Lessei In Epic Three-Round War

“Smokin” Jo Nattawut went through hell and back to outlast the durable Luke “The Chef” Lessei via unanimous decision in a pulsating three-round featherweight Muay Thai thriller. 

The 34-year-old knockout artist promised aggression from the onset, and aggressive he was, as he repeatedly closed the distance and fought the American in the pocket to set the tone for a barnburner. 

Action revved up in the second round as Lessei caught Nattawut in the corner and unloaded multiple elbows. The Thai veteran ate those shots well, though, and then returned the favor by cornering “The Chef” and connecting with an elbow and a push kick.

With the fight up for grabs in the third, both strikers aimed for the finish, and it was the 27-year-old Lessei who nearly got it. A right hand near the end of the final framed wobbled “Smokin’” Jo, but the ONE Championship newcomer couldn’t finish the job for his “Rocky” moment.

After three rounds, Nattawut’s impressive work rate was rewarded. He earned the nod from all three judges to get back on the winning track and protect his #4 ranking in the stacked featherweight Muay Thai division.

Rabah Stuns Saemapetch In One-Round Firefight

Promotional newcomer Mohamed “The Eagle” Younes Rabah left the Bangkok fans speechless with his surprising first-round knockout of Thai fan favorite and #3-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender Saemapetch Fairtex in their 151.75-pound catchweight bout.

The pair wasted no time exchanging vicious blows at a furious pace, each scoring a knockdown in a span of just 30 seconds early in the opening stanza.

The action only picked up after that. Large and impressively powerful, the Algerian blitzed Saemapetch with a terrifying combination to score the fight-ending knockout at 2:29 of the first frame, capping an unforgettable debut and a wild brawl.

The victory also pushed Rabah’s career record to a pristine 14-0 overall.

Menshikov Wrecks Chafi With First-Round KO

Foreigners made the phrase popular, but Dmitry Menshikov embodied it. The Russian striker was “cold as ice” as he finished Mouhcine “The Assassin” Chafi in the first round of their lightweight Muay Thai tilt.

Menshikov scored an early eight-count on his Spanish-Moroccan opponent, but that knockdown only fired up the latter. Chafi began to retaliate with knees, punches, elbows, and the occasional kick that backed Menshkov into the corner.

But the man from Kuzbass Muay Thai and Empire Club found an opening – and he took it. With Chafi wilding, the ruthless Russian sent him down with a devastating left hook that lifted the fans in attendance out of their seats.

The calculated walk-off knockout came at 1:59 of the opening frame, improved the 26-year-old’s professional record to 29-2, earned him a US$50,000 bonus, and moved him closer to another shot at divisional king Regian Eersel.

Smith Shocks Goncalves With First-Round Knockout

Jacob Smith scored his first ONE Championship victory by folding #2-ranked contender Walter Goncalves in the first round of their flyweight Muay Thai bout. 

It was a highly physical encounter, with both fighters looking to impose their will in the clinch from the start of the match. 

But it was Smith who landed the big shot, connecting with a short elbow and then a left knee to the body, sending the Brazilian down for good at 2:54 of the opening frame. 

With the massive victory, the 31-year-old Englishman rebounded from his debut loss to ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon. Smith will also head home with an extra US$50,000 after being awarded the first performance bonus of the night. 

Ghazali Melts Tabares In Just 36 Seconds

Johan “Jojo” Ghazali certainly didn’t disappoint in his U.S. primetime debut.

The 17-year-old Malaysian-American phenom hardly broke a sweat in his 141-pound catchweight Muay Thai clash with former ONE World Title challenger Edgar Tabares, quickly dispatching him with a soul-stealing body punch.

Ghazali pressed forward behind heavy punches early and then backed the Mexican striker into the corner, where he unleashed a massive left hook to the liver that finished the battle after just 36 seconds.

With the highlight-reel victory, “Jojo” improved his ONE record to 5-0 with four knockouts. His career slate now stands at 24-6, and he looks poised to take on the planet’s greatest flyweight strikers in ONE Championship.

Puric Counters Duy Nhat For Second-Round Knockout

Denis “The Bosnian Menace” Puric upped his career KO count to 22 by evaporating “No.1” Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat in the second round of their 139.75-pound catchweight Muay Thai bout.

The 38-year-old Canadian-Bosnian traded punches with Duy Nhat’s kicks in round one, setting up his defining moment in the following segment.

Puric, who represents Team CSK and Soi Dogs MMA, entered the second frame like a Muay Thai Mike Tyson, bobbing this way and that while closing the distance on the Vietnamese superstar.

And when Duy Nhat launched his signature left kick, “The Bosnian Menace” countered with a powerful left hook to floor his foe and finish the content at 1:35 of the round.

With the impressive win, Puric bumped his professional striking record to 40-13 and handed “No.1” his first loss in ONE Championship.

Barboza Stops Thongpoon In Smashing ONE Debut

Ellis “El Jefe” Badr Barboza had himself a debut to remember, as he gave Thongpoon PK Saenchai his first loss in ONE Championship, finishing the Thai wrecking ball in the third round of their 132.25-pound catchweight Muay Thai bout. 

The English striker had to weather the storm early on, fighting on the back foot for much of the first round as Thongpoon walked him down with his trademark pressure. 

But things changed near the end of the second round, as Barboza countered and dropped an over-aggressive Thongpoon with a cracking right elbow. 

After turning the tide with that knockdown, Barboza put on the finishing touches in the third round. Once again, he weathered Thongpoon’s aggression while waiting for his chance to make him pay. 

That opening came with less than a minute remaining in the fight.

“El Jefe” connected with a barrage of strikes before finally putting the Thai away with a crushing body blow at 2:21 of the third round, upping his overall record to 17-5 and emphatically announcing his presence in the organization.

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