After the anomaly that is 2020 came to an end, a new year in 2021 is upon us and this Friday, Asia’s biggest combat sports outfit look to chalk up their first show with another blockbuster card for us all to enjoy. ONE: Unbreakable sees the return of bantamweight kickboxing champ Alaverdi Ramazanov, who looks to notch the first defense of his gold strap against a man who had one of the best 2020s in the sport, the all-action Capitan Petchyindee Academy. In this preview, I will be breaking down this highly anticipated firefight and giving my two cents as to the game plans I think will be employed.
Alaverdi Ramazanov truly is a force to be reckoned with throughout ONE super series, not only has he demolished his last two opponents in a clinical fashion to claim ONE gold, but he also holds a win over ONE featherweight Muay Thai champ, Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy, a man who we all know is one of the best strikers on the planet. At just 26 years of age, the ‘Babyface Killer’ has reached the heights of kickboxing, especially given the recent influx of super series talent which is forming ONE Super series into the premier striking promotion on the planet.
I can only imagine in due time, like the featherweight division, bantamweight will be reinforced with new talent from elsewhere and I believe Alaverdi Ramazanov has all the skills necessary to prove he’s at the top of the heap on a global scale. A win against someone like Capitan will work wonders for a maiden title defense, he’s a tough, experienced opponent who is coming off a phenomenal year with wins over some of the best strikers in the world. Alaverdi Ramazanov has the chance to make a huge statement to the rest of the division and quite frankly, there’s no reason he can’t.
As I mentioned, on the other side of the battle is Capitan Petchyindee Academy, a man who has a wealth of experience in the striking arts and is riding the momentum of a huge 2020. Although only having one fight under the ONE banner which took place last year, Capitan made a statement that would send the whole combat sports world into a state of shock and awe.
Not only did he finish a Muay Thai/Kickboxing icon in Petchtanong Banchamek, but he also put him out cold in just 6 seconds to notch the fastest KO in ONE history! The frightening stopping power of Capitan was truly on display in that bout, especially in those kickboxing gloves, this man is a monster. This statement-making win was followed up at the end of the year with a definitive victory over Muay Thai standout Sangmanee. Although contested outside of the ONE banner, the win was a huge one, piecing up one of Muay Thai’s golden boys over 5 rounds in a dominant fashion, even scoring a vicious knockdown with a well-placed elbow. A huge 2020 could pave the way for an even bigger 2021 and with a title shot secured on the first event of the year, Capitan the perfect occasion for another spellbinding performance.
The kickboxing game of Alaverdi Ramazanov is absolutely beautiful to watch. He’s all action, sets a very high pace, and has a few key tools in his arsenal which leads him to dominate opponents.
First of all, the hands of the Dagestani man are the main aspect of his game, that lineal boxing which he pitches so accurately and fast down the centreline with such ferocity and volume, it often overwhelms his opponents. This is matched by the pace this guy fights at, it’s never just one punch or one kick, he always follows his attacks up and digs deep with those combinations, never leaving a shot unanswered.
The key to unlocking those hands and allowing them to land is all in the crafty setups Alaverdi Ramazanov employs to keep his opponents guessing. First of all, the stance switch. This is a preferred setup for Alaverdi and acts as a smokescreen for the hands to make the most of the element of surprise. He will often advance toward his opponent with the intention to start a flurry, changing stances at the last second where he will surge in with a barrage of straight shots and those sneaky uppercuts. This is superbly executed in his fight with Ognjen Topic, Ramazanov has his opponent on the ropes, has already secured 2 knockdowns, and is looking to finish the job, as clinical as you like, he advances forward in orthodox as if he’s about to unload a right hand, before switching to southpaw and blasting an instant one-two down the middle to end the contest. The stance switch works very well with another setup he tends to employ, that being the teep feint. Not only does Alaverdi use the teep feint to draw his opponents’ attention to his legs, deceive them and catch them off guard with the hands, he also uses the feint in almost a hope like manner which allows him to come down with momentum and explode into his shots. He uses this in conjunction with the stance switch, coming forward with the teep feint, bouncing into a stance switch before letting those hands go. It’s almost a double smokescreen if you will, very clever. Pair this with the accuracy and hand speed this guy possesses, it’s dangerous. Ramazanov also shifts very well mid-combo too, switching stances after a one-two which allows him to follow up with another cross, much like we see Petr Yan execute in the UFC.
The teep is another huge part of Alaverdi’s game, a tool that he packs a lot of power behind and uses for a few different reasons and instances. First of all, Ramazanov knows that the perpetual threat of the teep is there and he generates an incredible amount of power behind it, hence why he uses it as a feint also, it’s often bitten upon because of the threat it poses. He often thrusts it to the body of his opponents to eat away at that gas tank as well as maintain his preferred range and control the pace. The consistent body prods open up those battering ram-like thrusts to the head which often catch his opponents off guard scramble their radar and penetrate the guard. Often, we see the teep used mainly for range maintenance and disruption of rhythm but Alaverdi uses it in a considerably more offensive manner and it certainly pays off. If he fights like we know he can and uses those crafty setups, a consistent draining pace, and puts those pinpoint hands to work, there is no reason why he can’t walk away on Saturday with the first defense of his belt.
Capitan Petchyindee Academy
No doubt, Alaverdi has a very difficult style to combat, but Capitan will be more than ready come fight night to execute his game plan and secure ONE gold in just his second fight with the promotion.
Capitan definitely has experience on his side in this one, most of which being under Muay Thai rules. Although the ruleset is different, he took to it like a duck to water in his ONE debut. Yes, he may have scored a sensational KO but we didn’t really get to see much of the Thai under kickboxing rules and how he actually would have fared in a drawn-out bout, especially given that all of his fights last year, bar that, were Muay Thai bouts.
Huge development in Capitan’s game since his early days in Muay Thai is definitely his boxing. He has started to use his hands a lot more in conjunction with his kicks and the power he possesses in them makes for a dangerous recipe. Even in the short six seconds, he was in the ring with Petchtanong, it was Capitan’s craftiness and explosiveness which opened up and executed that killer blow in the first place. He advances towards his opponent, executes a simple jab feint which his opponents attempt to parry, the speed and explosiveness of Capitan capitalize on the vacancy of the lead hand and blasts and venomous one-two down the center which ends the night in devastating fashion. Even little things like the feint and the execution with the hands, especially against a guy as experienced as Petchtanong in both kickboxing and Muay Thai, is very promising, especially when we look at the Capitan from years ago who hadn’t refined his hands nearly as much.
With the confidence in the hands comes the pressure and footwork, something that Capitan has started to employ a lot more. He may not be as aggressive in the pressure fighting department as Alaverdi, but he does slowly wade in and box off the ring using his footwork, opening up opportunities to utilize the boxing and power he packs in his punch. This was seen in his bout with Sangmanee in December, he pens you in and surges in with the hands, maybe not with the best technique but he puts them in your face and gives you something to think about, all the while trying to take your head off. Also contributing to that hard nose style is the granite chin of Capitan. This guy can take a punch and he backs his chin when surging forward in these exchanges, knowing full well that if you hit him, you better be ready to take a belter right back.
I do think a refined defense is needed when facing a guy like Ramazanov, especially given the diversity in his attacks and boxing heavy approach. Although the boxing in Muay Thai has increased and thus the awareness for it has as well, we do see Capitan often carrying his hands not as high as they ought to be against a well-versed boxer. This might be different when he gets in there against someone like Ramazanov and I think it needs to be. The kicking game is no issue for the Thai coming from that Muay Thai background, he can throw them in volume and throw them damn hard with variety. They will most likely be the key to victory for him in this matchup but I think more specifically, the leg kicks will need to implement at an early stage. Alaverdi explodes a lot and surges in, moving with his punches and pushing the pace of the fight, if Capitan can blast his legs and perpetually do this through the fight, his mobility will be hindered and he will be a much easier target. This lack of mobility will allow Capitan to get in close and land those power shots, as well as opening up the opportunity for kicks and some pressure of his own. If he lets Ramazanov control the pace for the whole fight, it’s going to be a long night. Ramazanov
Alaverdi Ramazanov is a tough matchup for anyone, his boxing, illusiveness, and intensity has proven very challenging for his opponents under the kickboxing ruleset so far. Capitan packs a punch and has some venomous kicks which we have seen fellow Thai trouble Alaverdi Ramazanov with in the past, but with no elbows or clinch work in a new ruleset, how will he fare against the elite? Does Alaverdi Ramazanov secure his first title defense or will Capitan continue his 2020 momentum and secure ONE gold in just his 2nd promotional fight? Ramazanov Ramazanov
Promotional and Featured Images Credits to ONE Championship
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