ONE: Dangal comes this Saturday, bringing with it the best of MMA and Muay Thai. Co-headlining the card is the bantamweight Muay Thai face-off between Tawanchai PK. Saenchai Muaythaigym and Sean Clancy. Tawanchai vs Clancy shows a clash of styles and a battle between two greats in the sport, so let’s take a look at the matchup and where the advantage lies.
Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym
Tawanchai is no less than a Thai superstar. This is his first bout in ONE, but he has a plethora of achievements under his belt, including multiple Fighter of the Year awards, victorious in two out of three bouts versus “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Klong SuanPluResort, and three out of three times versus “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai. Kulabdam is ranked number three in the ONE bantamweight division at the moment, and it was Tawanachai’s efforts against him in 2018 that scored him the Fighter of the Year awards.
Even his training partners are highly ranked, including number two ranked Rodlek, Pongsiri, and “The Elbow Zombie” Muangthai. With teammates like that, Tawanchai is in a fantastic position to make a run at the Bantamweight crown.
His style is reserved, but powerful, tending to hang back and let his opponent come forwards before he lands the big shots. He doesn’t proactively engage in the clinch, but is happy to do so if his opponent pushes it, and has dominating rear leg kicks of all kinds. Versus Sangmanee Sor Cafemuaythai this was on display, landing some fantastic teeps on his opponent. This style has seen him to a clear victory versus his past two opponents.
The last time Tawanchai struggled was against China’s Jia Aoqi. Here, he came up against a punching focussed opponent and appeared to struggle while on the back foot. Tawanchai’s best work, oddly, was when he pushed the pace against Jia. Though he eventually suffered a TKO in the second round, it is an interesting point to note before the upcoming Tawanchai vs Clancy.
Sean Clancy is a champion in his own right, and the reigning WBC Muaythai Super Lightweight champ. He scored the 2019 Muaythai Male Fighter of the Year, and has won forty-four of his sixty-two bouts. His record and skills are nothing to be sniffed at, and Tawanchai vs Clancy promises fireworks.
Clancy is a punching focused fighter, and though he has struggled in his past few fights there are some key takeaways to look at. He’s tough, tends to push forwards, and loves to finish his combinations with leg kicks. He doesn’t seem to engage in the clinch much and prefers to frame and strike while maintaining distance.
This is actually his second bout in ONE, and fought Tawanchai’s teammate, Pongsiri, in his first bout. That was a barn burner in its own right, and though Clancy demonstrated a lovely jab and some beautiful uppercuts, Pongsiri’s pressure ultimately won out. Before that, he came up against Ramesh Habib in a hard-fought fight, again pushing the pace with his hands, but struggled with Habib’s teeps and could not keep up.
Tawanchai Vs Clancy – The Matchup
So, where does that leave us with Tawanchai vs Clancy? The first thing I’d say – don’t read into the past two fights too much, this could go either way. The last fight Tawanchai struggled in was a very hand-focused fighter, and that’s just what Clancy brings to the table. Neither push for the cinch, so I would be surprised if the fight ends up there, but the most telling part early in the fight will be how Clancy’s pressure works.
The best way for Tawanchai to keep the fight at kicking range will be teeps – which Clancy did struggle with versus Habib. But should Tawanchai start to wilt, he needs to come forwards and change the pace. That’s where the really interesting part of Tawanchai vs Clancy takes place, and where the questions will be answered. Will we see a repeat of Tawanchai vs Aoqi, and Clancy’s punches finding a home, or will we see the teeps and round kicks of Tawanchai win out? Watch Tawanchai vs Clancy this Saturday to find out.
Featured Image Credits to ONE Championship Tawanchai Vs Clancy