Rodtang, Superlek, Michael, Goncalves Win Muay Thai Grand Prix Quarterfinal Fights At ONE 157
ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot kicked off a historic all-striking tournament on Friday, 20 May.
The entire quarterfinal round of the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and featured established stars, rising contenders, exciting debutants, and the reigning divisional king.
Here, we recap all four matchups from the opening round of the biggest global Muay Thai tournament ever assembled.
Rodtang Dominates Smith In One-Sided Affair
Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon might have produced his slickest display inside the ONE Championship Circle as he outclassed Jacob Smith in the night’s last quarterfinal bout.
Despite his concern about the Englishman’s arsenal, the 24-year-old megastar made it look easy, breaking down every inch of Smith’s defense on his way to a unanimous decision victory and a US$50,000 performance bonus.
The reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion controlled each exchange from the start, keeping the Thaifist and Bad Company standout at the end of his kicks. And when Smith did find a path through, Rodtang made sure his lead hooks and right hand connected in return.
If that wasn’t enough, “The Iron Man’s” knees and elbows piled more misery onto the 29-year-old Birkenhead native as the bout progressed.
The blond-haired Thai ripped through his rival’s defense with heavy artillery down the middle and ensured that it was all one-way traffic until the final bell.
The win improved Rodtang’s record to 268-42-10, extended his unbeaten streak in ONE Super Series to 11-0, and pushed him closer to the tournament’s coveted silver belt, which he hopes to pair with his World Title gold.
Goncalves Stuns Cruz With 35-Second Knockout
Walter Goncalves will go back to his hotel room tonight and probably wonder what was more surprising – stepping into the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix quarterfinals against a new opponent on 24 hours’ notice or finishing that opponent in just 35 seconds.
The #3-ranked flyweight kickboxer welcomed ONE newcomer Josue “Tuzo” Cruz to the Circle with a thudding first-round KO finish, which pushed his professional record to 66-7 and propelled him into the tournament semifinals against Superlek “The Kicking Machine” Kiatmoo9.
When the opening bell rang, Goncalves stormed center Circle but walked into a jab-straight right combination. Cruz moved in to continue attacking with punches, but the Brazilian evaded most of the attempts.
Then, just as Goncalves started to motion for a right hand, the Mexican debutant raised his own hands to shell up and protect the head. When he did, Goncalves instead went to the body and followed up with a left hook that disappeared into Cruz’s rib cage.
As Cruz began to sink where he stood, Goncalves lifted him with two knees, causing referee Elias Dolaptsis to intervene and begin an eight-count. The Mexican failed to answer, though, and the match was waved off after just 35 seconds of action.
Superlek Backs Up The Hype In Dominant Win Over Naito
Superlek “The Kicking Machine” Kiatmoo9 showed why many consider him the favorite to win the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix as he overwhelmed Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito en route to a convincing unanimous decision in their quarterfinal bout.
“The Kicking Machine” lived up to his nickname as he chopped away at Naito’s lead leg all night long while mixing in some lethal elbows each time he got into the pocket.
The #2-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender also nearly scored the finish midway through the second round with some clean elbow shots, though Naito survived the flurry.
While the Thai didn’t get the KO, he took home a dominant victory, lifted his record to 129-29-4, and advanced to face Walter Goncalves in the tournament semifinals.
Michael Overwhelms Naseri To Score Unanimous Decision
Savvas “The Baby Face Killer” Michael promised to “give everything” when he battled Amir Naseri in the Grand Prix quarterfinals – and he stayed true to his word.
The Cypriot star outclassed Naseri across nine minutes of work to earn a clear-cut unanimous decision and advance to the Grand Prix semis.
While his opponent attempted to bring pressure, the WBC and WMC Muay Thai World Champion’s composure, fight IQ, and precision proved too much for the debuting Iranian-Malaysian star.
Every time Naseri stepped into the pocket, “The Baby Face Killer” either leaned back or pivoted away and replied with chopping leg kicks or short right hands aimed at the midsection.
In the second round, Michael even caught his rival’s chin with a couple of crisp right hands.
To his credit, Naseri never backed down. Despite missing more than he landed, the 30-year-old was game to leave an impression in his first ONE Super Series fight.
After emerging victorious, “The Baby Face Killer” improved his professional slate to 44-4 and advanced to a massive semifinal clash against reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon.