Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym is undefeated in ONE Championship, and if he can extend that flawless run in his next two bouts, he’ll earn a crack at his division’s title.
But first, he must defeat a longtime rival.
This bout will also serve as a semifinal match-up in the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament, with the winner of the four-person bracket getting an opportunity to challenge reigning ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao.
Rodlek, also known by his nickname “The Steel Locomotive,” knows his upcoming opponent very well. They’ve previously fought three times, and he holds the upper hand in that heated feud.
When the two warriors initially squared off in the Suratthani province, Saemapetch was still fairly young in his Muay Thai career. It showed, as the PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym representative took the victory in his hometown.
Saemapetch won their second contest in the Songkla province via decision to even the score in July 2014, but Rodlek regained the lead when he won their trilogy bout – also via decision – a month later.
Although Rodlek holds the edge, he highly respects his foe and understands just how dangerous he is.
“He is one of [the most] skilled boxers I have ever known. His punches are powerful, and he has powerful weapons and cannot be underestimated,” the 30-year-old says.
“His deadliest weapon will be his left kicks and left punches. [I’ll need to] keep my guard up, and study his strategies, styles, and patterns.”
Following their previous meetings, both athletes went on to achieve success and then eventually joined ONE Championship.
Saemapetch, an MTGP Welterweight Muay Thai World Champion, has done fairly well in the promotion. He masterfully demonstrated his thunderous left strikes and overall skill set during his first three matches in The Home Of Martial Arts.
The 25-year-old Fairtex representative beat Deividas “The Lithuanian Savage” Danyla, future ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov, and Serbian-American striker Ognjen Topic. However, he was knocked out by his idol, Nong-O, last November.
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Meanwhile, Rodlek, a Channel 7 Stadium Muay Thai World Champion, has been perfect in The Home Of Martial Arts, as he earned three consecutive victories over Chris Shaw, Saemapetch’s teammate Andrew “Maddog Fairtex” Miller, and the #4-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender Liam “Hitman” Harrison.
The Suratthani native feels sharper than ever, especially since he’s maintained his fitness and tightened his skills during the global COVID-19 pandemic. He also believes there are a few things working in his favor.
“I might have more weapons, and my gut is better. That will be my advantage,” Rodlek says. “If I want to win, I need to approach him first, keep the pressure on him, and not let my guard down.”
Rodlek knows a victory in this match will not only extend his lead in his series with Saemapetch, but it will also bring him to the tournament final and a step closer to a ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship opportunity.
A lot is at stake, and taking a single strike could ruin all of his hard work. That’s why he will do everything in his power to leave the Thai capital with a victory.
“If I win this fight, there will be a higher chance to get [a title shot], and if I lose, I will need to start from the beginning,” Rodlek says. “So, I will not let my guard down.”