Yodlekpet Or.Atchariya, Pongsiri PK.Saenchai Earn Captivating Victories In ONE Friday Fights 2’s Early Action
Following the inaugural event at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium last week, there were lofty expectations for ONE Friday Fights 2. Ultimately, the athletes competing on the card tried their best to live up to them and as a result, they created several unforgettable moments.
With four Muay Thai bouts and two MMA matchups kicking things off in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, January 27, there was something for combat sports fans of all stripes, and it was clear that the fighters were keen to impress in the second installment of the weekly ONE Friday Fights series.
Here’s the quick recap of all the early action that went down at the world-famous arena in the Thai capital.
Yodlekpet Or.Atchariya Scores TKO In Short-But-Sweet ONE Debut
Clearly, Romania’s Vitez was not intimidated by “The Destroyer’s” reputation as a four-time Muay Thai World Champion, and he fired in with ferocious boxing combinations in the first stanza. The Thai veteran kept his cool and battered his rival’s legs with low kicks. Still, the Romanian charged in, landing an inch-perfect left high kick and going airborne with his knees.
Yodlekpet was unfazed by the spirited opening from his adversary, however, and picked up the pace in round two. He carried on with his low kicks and upped the ante with his left hand. Then, with his man pushed up against the ropes, the 28-year-old sent a left elbow crashing through Vitez’s guard.
The elbow opened up a cut on the Romanian’s head, and the ringside physician decided it was severe enough to end the 140-pound catchweight tilt via TKO at the 2:10 mark of the second frame.
Pongsiri PK.Saenchai Survives Early Scare
Pongsiri PK.Saenchai loves himself a good old-fashioned scrap. If fans didn’t know it before Friday night, they sure do now.
The former ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title challenger survived an early scare to defeat Ferzan Cicek by unanimous decision in their 152-pound catchweight fight.
Round one kicked off with Cicek battering the Thai star’s rib cage with body hooks. He then stunned Pongsiri with uppercuts, momentarily ejecting the PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym star from his game plan.
Having survived the first three minutes, though, Pongsiri marched back into the fray for round two. He launched punches like curve balls at Cicek’s head, and the Turkish athlete was forced on the back foot for three straight minutes under the sound of a raucous crowd.
The fight was up for grabs going into the final frame, but Pongsiri continued to smother Cicek like a wet burlap sack. Hurt but determined, the PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym representative kicked and punched at his foe until the final bell rang.
The victory bumped Pongsiri’s Muay Thai record to 157-33-11 and put him back on the bantamweight map.
Harry Grech Draws Red Card, DQed In Fight With Arash Mardani
An Olympic-qualifying wrestler, Mardani showcased his evolving stand-up arsenal immediately in the opening stanza, pulverizing his foe’s lead leg with thunderous kicks that put the Australian on unsteady ground in the first couple of minutes.
The Iranian continued to attack with leg kicks through most of the first and second frames, causing Grech to fall to his back a number of times.
Midway through round two, referee Justin Brown issued a yellow card to “Kimura” for his failure to engage. Unfortunately, Grech only picked up the pace for a few seconds at a time and repeatedly fell back each time Mardani blitzed forward.
In the final stanza, both men were issued a yellow card, again for passivity. Mardani did increase his aggression and output seconds later, rushing forward with massive punches.
Exhausted, Grech fought almost entirely on the defensive through much of the third, forcing the referee to issue him a red card for inactivity with two minutes left to go in the matchup. As a result, Mardani was awarded the victory by way of disqualification, giving the 38-year-old his first professional win at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
Elias Ghazali Takes Nod Over Ayad Albadr In Flyweight Thriller
The Malaysian pressed forward from the opening bell, looking to find a home for his punishing kicks to the body and head. Albadr was content to let the Rentap Muay Thai Gym representative march into his range while he fired off hard counterpunches.
This trend continued as the match wore on, with the taller Ghazali walking his Iraqi rival down with kicks and chopping elbows. However, Albadr responded with sharp punches, thudding low kicks, and even some spinning elbows.
It was always going to be a close call when the final bell rang, but it was Ghazali who earned the unanimous decision victory for his forward aggression and strong kicking game. The win elevated the Malaysian’s record to 31-10-5.
Marie Ruumet Outpoints Thai-Ngan Le
Thai-Ngan Le’s aggressive offense, coupled with Marie “Snow Leopard” Ruumet’s precision and fight IQ, made this 119-pound catchweight Muay Thai tilt a back-and-forth battle from beginning to end. But after the final bell rang, it was the Estonian veteran who left Lumpinee Boxing Stadium with a unanimous decision victory.
Ruumet imposed her will from the start, throwing push kicks and jabs to set up her trademark overhand rights. However, Le kept her defense tight, absorbed damage, and replied with combinations of her own.
After a competitive first round, both women came out of their corners looking to make a statement. The Estonian star was forced to work on the back foot against the relentless American debutant, though. Still, the 23-year-old found plenty of success from close range, hammering away with a couple of roundhouse kicks, left jabs, and overhand rights.
In the third and final stanza, Le’s eagerness to outpoint her rival made it difficult for Ruumet to advance and land anything significant. Despite having to work from the ropes on most occasions, “Snow Leopard” managed to find flaws within her opponent’s guard, chopping away with body shots and blows to the face.
After nine minutes of action, the judges gave the nod to Ruumet, who moved her record to 33-10.
Jakub Wayman Punishes Riccardo Cantindig-Stagg
In the show’s opening bout, American rising star Jakub “Superjoke” Wayman brought a grappling clinic to the Thai fans in attendance at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
The undefeated 20-year-old sensation showcased his top-end wrestling throughout his bantamweight MMA contest with the United Kingdom’s Riccardo Cantindig-Stagg, and ultimately, he left the ring with his second consecutive finish in the all-encompassing sport.
With both men making their promotional debuts, they wasted no time in getting right after each other from the opening bell. But within the first 30 seconds, Wayman had secured a takedown, settled into half guard, and looked to advance his position.
“Superjoke” would repeat this process through much of the second and third frames, dominating the Phuket Top Team representative with positional control and a constant stream of relentless submission attempts.
With less than a minute remaining in the final round, Wayman opened up with a flurry of punishing ground strikes. Cantindig-Stagg gamely tried to defend, but the blows quickly added up, prompting the referee to call an end to the bout at 4:21 of the third stanza.