ONE Championship will return on July 31st in Bangkok for ONE: No Surrender.
This card is arguably the most anticipated event in the promotion’s history because of the effects of COVID-19.
In my ONE Championship is Back. Sort of article, I argued that ONE wanted to make a bigger splash in their official return.
They did so with this event by announcing three big-time Muay Thai fights and we’ll be going through them all one by one.
The main event is a title fight for the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai belt between Rodtang Jitmaungnon and Petchdam Petchyindee Academy.
Let’s look at the fighters, their history, and make a guess on who’ll get their hand raised at the end of the night.
Baby Shark Comes Home to Muay Thai
After reaching the top of Kickboxing, Petchdam is gunning for a return to the top of his first sport – Muay Thai.
Even though he’s probably better known for his flamboyant hair and eccentric walkouts, Petchdam definitely has skills.
He’s a 2015 Bantamweight Lumpinee and PAT Champion, a 2017 Toyota Marathon winner, and a 2018 WBC Muay Thai Champion.
Before he began climbing the Kickboxing rankings, he successfully knocked out Kenny Tse and Josh Tonna in Muay Thai fights at ONE: Kingdom of Heroes and ONE: Pursuit of Power respectively.
After losing the Kickboxing belt, Petchdam went back to Muay Thai to defeat Kohei “Momotaro” Kodera via decision at ONE: Fire & Fury.
That performance along with the fact that he’s a former champion earned him the #5 spot in the Flyweight Muay Thai rankings.
Baby Shark’s Big Bite
Petchdam’s biggest weapon is the left roundhouse kick.
It’s a devastating technique that ends a fight one way or another. The power he delivers often breaks down the opponent one way or another.
Two of his biggest wins in ONE were due to his persistent use of that kick. The livers of Josh Tonna and Masahide Kudo couldn’t take the punishment that they were constantly put under.
Unfortunately, the reliance on that kick has led to controversy. especially when Petchdam faces orthodox fighters.
When he’s not careful, Petchdam lands some hard shots below the belt and it throws many of his performances into question.
He is Ironman
No real reason to take time on this section.
Everyone who even casually follows ONE Super Series already knows who Rodtang Jitmuangnon is.
Rodtang’s Road to Success
He’s the current ONE Flyweight Muay Thai Champion that restored the honor of Thai fighters after it was ripped apart by the Englishman Jonathan Haggerty.
Other than his current strap, he’s a two-time Rajadamnern Stadium Champion, a 2017 Omnoi Stadium Champion and a MAX Muay Thai Champion.
Rodtang is undefeated in ONE Super Series with a record of 6-0, all exclusively to Muay Thai.
In short, he climbed the ladder and beat the best in the game to get the gold.
When looking at the entire ONE Super Series roster, Rodtang doesn’t stand out as the fastest, most powerful, most experienced or most skilled.
There are at least five other fighters that outclass him in each of those categories. But no one can touch him when it comes to toughness.
No matter how many kicks, punches, knees or elbows he takes, none of them seem to faze him. In fact, he looks to get even stronger the more damage he takes.
Like a Thai version of Hulk Hogan.
When Metal Meets Jaws
The tastiest thing about this match-up is that this is actually a rubber match. These two have met twice before with different results.
Victory and Revenge
The first Rodtang vs Petchdam fight happened at the Rajdamnern Stadium in 2017.
Baby Shark took the win back then via decision after five rounds.
Less than a year later, Rajdamnern was once again the venue for a Rodtang vs Petchdam fight, as Ironman wanted a rematch.
The fight was a good revenge for Rodtang since he won via decision after five rounds.
This upcoming fight will undoubtedly be the biggest either man has set foot upon.
Not only does ONE Super Series reach an audience magnitudes greater than their first two fights ever did, it’s the main event of what’s expected to be the biggest ONE card of the year.
Who Takes It?
There are a couple of things going in each fighter’s favor.
Petchdam obviously has his kick and the hunger of a former champion looking for a new taste of gold.
However, he’s spent much of his recent fights in Kickboxing and not really fought the top tier in ONE Super Series Muay Thai.
Rodtang, on the other hand, has fought exclusively in the sport and categorically beaten the best ONE Super Series has to offer.
Add this to the fact that Rodtang gets more aggressive once he’s sure that he can defeat the man in front of him. It’s hard to see Petchdam’s kicks making a dent in the Champion’s armor.
Obviously, anything can happen in a fight and surprises come out of nowhere. But if everything we know about these fighters are anything to go by, I fully expect the belt to stay where it is.
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Rodtang vs Petchdam