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ONE: No Surrender II Preview: Rodlek Vs Saemapetch

Rodlek vs Saemapetch headlines No Surrender 2 this Friday, and the exciting return of ONE with their second post-lockdown card.

This is a semi final match up for the ONE Bantamweight Tounament, and there’s a lot on the line here. This isn’t the first time these two have met, but it’s not one way traffic; two of the bouts went to Rodlek, and one to Saematech, so it’s all to play for. Let’s have a look at the matchup and who’s going to be one step closer to ONE Championship gold.

Rodlek – Blistering Pressure

Rodlek comes into this fight on a winning streak against a trio of British men – Shaw, Miller, and Harrison. It’s been almost two years since his last loss so he’s surely riding high, despite not having fought since January this year. The odds are in his favour, but he’s got a lot of respect for his opponent and isn’t coming in unprepared.

Rodlek believes that he needs to keep up the pressure. He can’t let Saemapetch breathe, and needs to watch for the left kick and left cross – the classic southpaw double attack. The ‘Steel Locamotive’ has also described his opponent as one of the most skilled boxers he has ever known, so he’ll have to keep his guard up.

Rodlek is nothing if not tough – he barely moves backwards, and barely seems to feel strikes. His latest couple of fights show the short range low kick as one of his best weapons – he drops it behind punches, hidden till it’s too late. If he keeps Saemapetch on the back foot and keeps up the attacks from short range Rodlek can take it.

Saemapetch – Redemption and Glory

For Saemapetch, this tournament is a redemption oppurtunity – it’s a chance to even the score against his three time foe, and for him to have another crack at Nong-O Gaiyanghado. Saemapetch last faced the champ at the end of 2019, losing by a right cross KO. Two more wins, and it’s his chance to even the score.

Saemapetch has described his opponent as a ‘tank’, who throws knees and kicks to apply massive pressure. It’s been a long time since they’ve met though, so that might not ring true again. Saemapetch has done a lot to incorporate more weapons and techniques into his game plan; there have been plenty of fights in the meantime, and that experience could mean a lot.

Saemapetch’s hands may be fast, but without a setup they struggle to find their targets. Setting up punches will be key, and not being on the defensive as he was against Nong-O. He’s also got a bad habit of keeping his hands low at short range. If he can fix these two issues, he might be in good stead to take this one.

The Bout

Expect excitement. The first round might be measured, and really turn up in the second, but neither of these start off particularly slow and neither are lacking heart. Rodlek vs Saemapetch has never disappointed before, and unless one is unconcious on the canvas it’ll be too early to call the bout.

Momentum and history might be with Rodlek, but I wouldn’t read into that too much. It’s been eight years since their last bout and a lot can happen in the meantime. One is coming off a title shot, the other off a 3 fight streak. Both are going in confident this time around.

To look a Saemapetch’s last match vs Nong-O, I’d say pressure is the name of the game for Rodlek. Even as an orthadox fighter, Nong-O utilised the double attack (right cross and right body kick) to really pressure his opponent. While on the back foot, Saemapetch was unable to launch offence and struggled to counter, and almost always came off worse in exchanges. Saemapetch had a lot more luck on the front foot.

Saemapetch is going to need Rodlek’s respect from early in the fight. If not, expect damaging short range shots at to exploit Saemapetch’s low hands, followed by cracking leg kicks. There are adjustments that Saemapetch can make, but the style match up favours Rodlek more naturally. If both come in similar to their recent performances my money is on Rodlek all the way. Whatever the case, Saemapetch vs Rodlek promises fireworks.

Follow me on Twitter @DiserensRobert or @CombatThoughts, or Instagram @DiserensMMA or @CombatThoughts. Follow @OT_Heroics for more great content, be sure to check out the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!

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