ONE Championship returns to action on July 31st, in Bangkok, Thailand.
ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion, Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon, will defend his belt in a trilogy bout against a familiar foe, Petchdam “The Baby Shark” Petchyindee Academy. Petchdam Petchyindee Academy, the #5 ranked ONE Flyweight Muay Thai contender, defeated Rodtang via unanimous decision on May 2017. On February 2018, Rodtang Jitmuangnon gained redemption as he evened the score with a unanimous decision win against “The Baby Shark”. Having scored a win against each other, they are on a mission to settle the score. With both facing their biggest match yet, let us take an in-depth analysis at how they match up.
Like many Muay Thai fighters, both Rodtang and Petchdam started training at a young age.
Rodtang Jitmuangnon started practicing Muay Thai at a very young age of 7 years old. Wanting to help provide his family with basic needs, Rodtang was inspired to pursue training as he could earn through fighting. He had his first professional Muay Thai bout at the age of 10. At age 14, he moved to Bangkok to join the Jitmuangnon gym. With his visions of becoming a World Champion, he made his move permanent in order to train full-time. After years of facing tough competition against the best Muay Thai fighters, Rodtang has amassed over 260 wins, including capturing the Omnoi Stadium World Title twice.
“The Iron Man” made his ONE Championship Muay Thai Super Series debut on September 22, 2018 against Sergio Wielzen and won via unanimous decision. Since then, Rodtang went on a 4-fight win streak to earn his shot at the ONE Muay Thai Flyweight Title. On August 2019, Rodtang Jitmuangnon finally captured his dreams as he defeated Jonathan Haggerty to claim the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title. Rodtang furthermore solidified his place at the top when he beat Jonathan Haggerty via TKO in their rematch. Rodtang remains undefeated in his ONE Championship.
Petchdam Petchyindee Academy
Petchdam Petchyindee Academy started training Muay Thai when he was 8 years old. Training out of the famed Petchyindee Academy in Bangkok, he quickly amassed over 90 wins packed with impressive knockouts. Petchdam has accumulated various titles over his young career. “The Baby Shark” was the former Lumpinee Stadium Bantamweight Champion, Thailland Bantamweight Champion, and WBC Muay Thai World Featherweight Champion.
Petchdam made his ONE Championship Kickboxing Super Series debut on July 18, 2018 against Josh Tonna and won via KO in the second round. Petchdam would continue to dominate his next 3 opponents and finish them all by KO, which earned him the shot at the inaugural ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship. With a golden opportunity to claim the pinnacle of the striking world, Petchdam defeated Elias Mahmoudi via Technical Decision.
After losing the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship, Petchdam returned to Muay Thai and bounced back with a victory over Kohei Kodera.
This is a fight between two elite flyweights. Looking at the resumes of both fighters, there isn’t anything big that separates the two. In terms of skill set, both have proven that they possess the mastery of the “art of eight limbs”. Experience wise, the two have already tasted gold in different tournaments and competitions. In addition, fighting each other twice only makes them more knowledgeable about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. With that being said, the only factor that will determine the winner, the division’s rightful king, is with their styles.
Rodtang Jitmuangnon is the perfect epitome of a brawler. Rodtang comes with immense forward pressure. He walks his opponents down and strategically cuts the ring so he is always in front of his opponent. Rodtang is known for his aggression and overwhelming pace, he just comes forward and smothers his opponents with punches and kicks in different angles. Rodtang’s nickname “The Iron Chin” comes from his ability to absorb powerful shots from opponents. Rodtang absorbs shots just to fire back and counter.
Rodtang’s key to success is to be able to close the distance, fight on the inside, and make Petchdam fight with his back against the cage. Rodtang is very good at throwing low kicks. If he can capitalize early on landing leg kicks, it will limit Petchdam’s lateral movements and will make it easier to press Petchdam back. Rodtang is definitely the more powerful fighter. If he can get to land some nasty combinations, it will be an easy night for the defending champion.
Petchdam Petchyindee Academy
Petchdam Petchyindee Academy is like a sniper. “The Baby Shark” is a powerful southpaw striker. Petchdam is very good at keeping his opponents at range, he effectively uses his reach advantage to score and utilizes his jab to maintain distance. “The Baby Shark” also has a powerful and accurate left hand that catches opponents off guard. Petchdam’s biggest weapon is his devastating left kick, which is responsible for the majority of his wins. Once he finds his distance and starts letting go of his left kicks, it always causes problems for his opponents.
Petchdam’s key to success is keep Rodtang at the end of his punches. Petchdam has to avoid being caught in Rodtang’s aggressive combinations. He has to constantly pop the jab and land his deadly roundhouse kicks. For Petchdam, it’s all about footwork and reach. Petchdam should keep distance to avoid Rodtang’s powerful hits or get hit as little as possible. He has to control his emotions and remember not to get caught in Rodtang’s brawling games.
WHO WILL WIN?
It all comes down to Power vs Length. With the match being fought with 4-ounce gloves, there is no room for error. The one that will control the pace of the match will much likely take the win. If Rodtang is able to be aggressive and close the distance easily, he will punish Petchdam with powerful combinations, just like what happened in their second fight. However, if Petchdam is able to keep Rodtang at bay, it will nullify Rodtang’s power. Petchdam is a master in point fighting, if he keeps scoring while maintaining distance, There will be a new king in the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai division.
Who do you think will have the upperhand and force his will into victory?
This trilogy match will surely be an exciting war.
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