Thanh Le And Martin Nguyen Share Thoughts On Tonon Vs. Gasanov At ONE Fight Night 12

Featherweight MMA stars Martin Nguyen and Thanh Le

Top-ranked featherweight MMA contenders Garry Tonon and Shamil Gasanov will square off in a highly anticipated feature bout at ONE Fight Night 12: Superlek vs. Khalilov on Prime Video.

Just like the masses of fans who can’t wait to see it play out, former ONE Featherweight World Champions Thanh Le and Martin Nguyen are excited for the contest to get underway live in North American primetime this Friday, July 14.

Both former titleholders know the result will have an impact on their own futures – with Tonon ranked #2 and Gasanov at #5 – so they’ll be tuning in with particular interest.

Here’s what #1-ranked Le and #4-ranked Nguyen had to say about this battle of elite grapplers at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Thanh Le Gives Edges To Former Foe Garry Tonon

Thanh Le is eagerly waiting for his rematch with current ONE Featherweight World Champion Tang Kai, but he’ll have his eyes on Garry Tonon vs. Shamil Gasanov while he prepares to redeem his decision loss to the reigning king. 

The Vietnamese-American previously triumphed over Tonon, successfully defending the gold with a stunning first-round KO last year, so he’s more familiar with the BJJ legend.

But from what he’s seen of Gasanov, he knows that grappling is the Russian’s go-to, and he’s looking forward to some great technical exchanges if the action gets to the canvas.

Le said: 

“I haven’t gotten a chance to really break Gasanov down and see his fights in depth. I’ve seen highlights, and it’s mainly pictured as a grappler-versus-grappler scenario. And what I think will happen is – this always plays out with grappler versus grappler – it’s going to play out on the feet a little more than fans really want to see, to be honest with you. 

“And then, towards the later part of the fight, I think we’ll wind up getting into the ground and in watching these guys in action. It’s going to be a really fun one, man.”

From an experience standpoint, Gasanov owns a 13-0 MMA record, although only one of those victories has come in ONE. Meanwhile, “The Lion Killer” holds a 7-1 professional slate, with all of those appearances coming against world-class competition in the organization.

Combined with Tonon’s elite coaches and training partners, Le thinks his former opponent will be better equipped to score the victory this Friday.

He said:

“Garry’s got a great team behind him. They’re making the right adjustments. And then going in there with – not to downplay anybody’s striking at all – but somebody who is not a super scary striker, I think it’s gonna give him a little more confidence.

“I think Garry’s definitely got the tools to be set up properly for that matchup. I’m leaning towards Garry on this one, with his overall well-rounded skills and his level of competition for the last however many years.”

Martin Nguyen Ready To Call Out Winner Of Gasanov Vs. Tonon

Former two-division ONE World Champion Martin Nguyen shares a similar view to Thanh Le, believing that the ground acumen of both men might initially force a stalemate on the feet.

“The Situ-Asian” is not confident this will bring the best out of Garry Tonon or Shamil Gasanov, but when the grappling threat is so high, it might be the route they opt for.

However, if it does hit the deck, Nguyen expects “The Lion Killer’s” world-class BJJ pedigree to shine through.

He explained:

“I feel that it’s going to be more of a stand-up fight. And if anything, if it does go to the ground, it would be Gasanov who initiates that. But it’s a dangerous game to play when you’re fighting someone like Garry Tonon. 

“He’s come from a complete grappling and jiu-jitsu background, and the leg locks are a huge factor, not only just the normal chokes and arm locks and all that. So it’s something that he’s got to watch out for. If it does hit the ground, Garry Tonon would take that one.”

As he eyes a route back to the featherweight MMA throne, Nguyen has a plan of action whichever way the result goes.

In fact, the Vietnamese-Australian will be asking for whoever comes out on top this Friday – hoping to face the most in-form contender in the division when he returns to action.

He added:

“The moment they fight, I’ll be calling one of them out. I don’t usually do the callouts, but I’m hungry for this paycheck. I want one of those guys that’s going to get me straight to the top, straight to that title shot. So they’re my next step.”

More in News

Sean Climaco Josue Cruz ONE Fight Night 22 44
American MMA fighter Jarred Brooks
Danielle Kelly Jessa Khan ONE Fight Night 14 62
Shamil Gasanov Oh Ho Taek ONE Fight Night 18 19
Songchainoi Kiatsongrit Rak Erawan ONE Friday Fights 41 77
ONE Championship MMA fighters Christian Lee and Alibeg Rasulov
Focus PK Wor Apinya Stephen Irvine ONE Friday Fights 70 8
Muay Thai fighters Focus PK Wor Apinya and Stephen Irvine
Adrian Lee Antonio Mammarella ONE 167 76
Mark Sangiao stands in Carlo Bumina-ang's corner
IBJJF World Champion Mayssa Bastos
Reinier de Ridder Anatoly Malykhin ONE 166 39