ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao will defend his belt against #2-ranked bantamweight contender Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym in the co-main event of ONE: COLLISION COURSE this Friday – and one man will be watching with extra interest.
That man is #1-ranked contender Saemapetch Fairtex, who’s thrown heat with both competitors and is eager to see whether Nong-O will continue his dominant reign or if Rodlek can knock off the legend after winning the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament.
“Before I fought with my big bro, Nong-O, I believed I had the advantage with my age, but it turns out I was wrong,” Saemapetch says of the fighter eight years his elder. “His stamina never ran out and all of his skills were superior to mine.”
That bout went down in November 2019 when Saemapetch faced Nong-O at ONE: EDGE OF GREATNESS. After a tough battle, the bantamweight king stopped the young phenom in the fourth round with a life-draining right cross.
It was a punch that Saemapetch never saw coming – one that he believes defines the Thai legend’s impressive style.
“Nong-O has mastery level [of striking], he’s good with both his fists, and he has [a high fight] IQ. If he can see an opening in his opponent, he will attack immediately, repeat, and nail it right there. That moment is like a golden opportunity for him,” the Fairtex standout says.
Due to those incredible striking skills, Saemapetch doesn’t think the Evolve representative must add anything to his game for Friday’s matchup.
“I won’t leave any advice for him against Rodlek because I think he is already perfect in every aspect,” he adds of Nong-O.
Meanwhile, Saemapetch fared better in his clash with Rodlek at ONE: NO SURRENDER II this past August.
The #1-ranked contender scored a thrilling majority decision win over his compatriot, which propelled him into the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament final against “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai.
Unfortunately for Saemapetch, he was forced to withdraw after sustaining an injury. Rodlek took his place and made the most of his second chance, defeating Kulabdam by unanimous decision in a three-round war at ONE: A NEW BREED.
Having defeated Rodlek, Saemapetch sees a few areas that the PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym representative should focus on if he hopes to dethrone the king.
“Rodlek is strong and tough, and he never stops moving or using his footwork,” the Fairtex star says.
“But those things will still not be enough when he fights Nong-O. He has to throw out his attacks faster and attack in combinations so he can stand a chance against the World Champion.”
With that said, Saemapetch is not necessarily counting out Rodlek. In fact, given what happened in the tournament, he won’t be surprised if it’s the challenger who wows the martial arts world on Friday night.
“The first one who makes a mistake will go down, especially since they’re fighting with ONE’s MMA gloves,” Saemapetch offers.
“Anything can happen, like with the matchup between Sangmanee and Kulabdam [in the tournament semifinals]. Muay Thai fans might see an upset from Rodlek.
“Since I was defeated by Nong-O but I beat Rodlek, many people might think that I would pick Nong-O as the winner for sure. But anything can happen in fighting, so who knows – maybe Nong-O will be vulnerable against Rodlek.”