In the blink of an eye, Thanh Le went from being ONE Championship’s #3-ranked featherweight contender to the undisputed king of the division.
The SHOCKING ending to the ONE Featherweight World Title fight between Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen and Thanh Le MMA! #InsideTheMatrix
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, October 30, 2020
At the start of the bout in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Le hopped around the inside perimeter of the Circle, testing the reactions of the defending titleholder with taekwondo side kicks. Meanwhile, Nguyen looked comfortable as he controlled the center and threw occasional punches.
As the tension rose, so did Le’s kicks, as he began to target Nguyen’s head. “The Situ-Asian” managed to block all but one of them, and he was left with a mouthful of toes for his slip in defense.
Just as the bout heated up, an unintentional low kick to Nguyen’s groin paused the action, but the Sanford MMA standout walked it off and was back in the fray within moments.
After the restart, Nguyen began to score with inside low kicks, and when the opportunity presented itself, he started to toss bricks at his challenger’s chin. Le did the same, but neither athlete landed clean enough to do any damage before the round ended.
In the second, Le’s kicks slowed down, but he didn’t. The Vietnamese-American continued to bounce around the Circle as the World Champion stayed right in front of him, often cutting his rival off while trying to land one of his knockout punches.
Le, on the other hand, continued to work his angles, but a right hand from Nguyen about two minutes into the round changed the momentum. With Le getting desperate to land a punch of his own, the defending king continuously evaded and returned fire.
As the momentum turned in Nguyen’s favor, it was the challenger who took an unintentional low blow and the action was again brought to a pause. When the bout resumed, the Vietnamese-American landed two high kicks that sent a stern warning to “The Situ-Asian.”
The reigning titleholder came out for round three throwing blistering right hands. Each punch landed with more precision and more power, sending Le further into trouble and seemingly taking his legs out from underneath him.
But then, just as Nguyen went for a left hook, the challenger tagged “The Situ-Asian” with a short, crisp right hand that dropped him to one knee. Nguyen tried to find his ground by reaching out for the Circle Wall, but Le pounced and launched a knee at his opponent.
Nguyen, showing incredible resolve, twice returned to his feet in the midst of the flurry, all while trying to dip and dodge the Vietnamese-American’s looping punches.
And then it happened. A left hook and right hand from Le stiffened Nguyen, and then a final left sent him crumbling to the canvas. The referee had no choice but to intervene at the 2:29 mark of round three.
The win earned Le the ONE Featherweight World Title and moved his record to 12-2. In the process, he may have become the most feared athlete of the division.