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“Styles makes fights, and the styles that me and him possess, it’s themed for fireworks”. This is what the reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion, Martin Nguyen said in an interview with Overtime Heroics. Martin Nguyen is set to defend his belt against a dangerous foe in the name of Thanh Le.
Martin Nguyen has been vocal about pushing to defend his belts against the top contenders. He even gave the ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong a shortlist of top-ranked fighters, to get him matched up in his next title defense.
With this comes Thanh Le. Since signing with ONE, Thanh Le has been on a tear going 3-0 with all those wins coming by spectacular knockouts. These 3 consecutive finishes put him into the position to challenge for the ONE Featherweight World Championship.
The fight was originally scheduled to take place on April 17. With all contracts signed, the fight was ready to go until the COVID-19 pandemic took over. Leading into October 30, it was all about staying in shape and being prepared for both men.
Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen has proven his place at the top of the hill. He has beaten fighters with different styles. With already 3 title defenses, Nguyen proves to be unbeatable in the featherweight division. Here are 4 ways that may lead Thanh Le to a victory.
Attack the lead leg
Martin Nguyen often is heavy on his lead leg. He uses this style for his counterattacks. He often draws the opponent’s attack and then slips, or just time and throw’s his signature powerful overhand right. Capitalizing on attacking the lead leg would give Thanh Le favorable advantages when the fight goes into the later rounds.
In this way, Le can make Nguyen uncomfortable being on this stance. This will slow Nguyen down and make him susceptible to his burst of attacks. Also, he eliminates Nguyen’s best weapon, the overhand right. However, Thanh Le should be careful and not be predictable when throwing these leg kicks. Martin Nguyen is an excellent counterpuncher, he can land that powerful right hand any second.
Thanh Le will be enjoying a significant height advantage in this match. He also is the bigger man in terms of body frame. Coming from a Taekwondo background, Thanh Le should pick Nguyen apart. Being the bigger man, Thanh Le should constantly throw strikes. Keep the distance by throwing jabs and push kicks. Whenever it goes inside, use dirty boxing and be the more physical man. With these, he is accumulating points and at the same time, building up damage to Nguyen.
Waiting and settling to land a one-punch KO would be foolish. Martin Nguyen is too smart to be caught by that. Martin Nguyen is an expert at destroying his opponents with punches and kicks from all angles. Thanh Le should bring the fight to his pace.
In a battle between elite strikers, we expect both men to be on point with every movement. In this clip, Martin Nguyen had a very small mistake, putting weight on his lead leg while entering his opponent’s striking distance, thus eating a right hook. Also, there are times where Martin overextends and telegraphs on his attacks. Thanh Le should capitalize on these mistakes, read Nguyen’s movement, and set up a perfectly placed counter.
But Thanh Le should also be careful about not being countered. There’s a reason why Martin Nguyen is called “The Situ-Asian”. Aside from having that powerful right hand that he carries even in different divisions, Nguyen has a very high fighting IQ. Martin Nguyen has been into different sorts of trouble but was able to reverse the situation and willfully win. To put it simply, both should have a very little margin of error in this match.
Win the exchanges, Land First
The beauty of this matchup is that both fighters are explosive. Both fighters pack a powerful punch that can end the night quickly. As Martin Nguyen has said, “My explosive finishing potential should mesh well with his own and deliver a spectacular fight for the fans”. What is more interesting in this match is that Thanh Le normally fights with a southpaw stance, while Martin Nguyen with an orthodox stance. This makes both of them directly straight into the centerline of their power hands.
We will never know how the fight would go on until the fight actually happens. Both fighters may adjust their usual style to suit each other. But one thing is for sure, whoever lands first wins. It may not directly be a KO win for Thanh Le but landing first and winning the exchanges will do damage and eventually will put Martin Nguyen to sleep.
Martin Nguyen is the heavy favorite here. It is easy to say that as a people’s champion, fans worldwide are eyeing for him to get the job done and take the belt home once again. Thanh Le will have to step up big time to be able to beat the champion who is in his prime. Else, Martin Nguyen will be too fast, powerful, explosive, and unpredictable for Thanh Le.
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