Reigning ONE Featherweight Champion Thanh Le will be defending his title against Tang Kai in the co-main event of ONE 160 on August 26, but as early as now, he predicts a late finish over his newest challenger.
Fresh off an impressive maiden defense of his title against Garry Tonon this past March via a first-round knockout, Thanh Le is ready to fend off another challenger in the form of number one-ranked Tang Kai this August 26.
In his most recent interview with ONE Championship, the Vietnamese-American athlete praised his upcoming opposition by pointing out his strengths, however, he was quick to shoot it down by saying that he is a level higher compared to Chinese contender.
“[Tang] has a lot of the same strengths I do. He’s sharp. His movement is good and developed. His evasiveness is pretty good when he wants to be slick. He’ll engage when he thinks he has the advantage and he’ll bail when he thinks he is on even footing or in a negative position. So some of the things that I do well, he does well also, but I do them better.
“If he wants to whip out some of his wrestling, I think I’ll finish him on the ground. And if he wants to keep this standing, then I think you’ll see the gap between good and elite.”
Le, who still holds an undefeated record under the Singapore-based promotion and a 100% finishing rate also anticipated the potential fight plan from the challenger and offered a few pieces of advice to Kai to not play fire with him as he might find himself unconscious.
“If [Tang] wants to be a sniper and a ninja from the outside, that’s my game. He dies 10 times out of 10. If he wants to go in there and mix it up and make it hectic and crazy, then that is his best chance. But I’m really good at that stuff too, so that’s going to be a problem for him as well. If I hit him, he’s going to sleep.”
Additionally, the Louisianian has explained why Tang Kai is not yet of the same caliber as him which he should try working on moving forward.
Thanh Le says Tang Kai Could be More Disciplined Heading into ONE 160 Showdown
“He looks for the finish everywhere. That’s why he’s an exciting fighter. That’s why he’s fun to match up against. He could be more disciplined. In order to send some of your defenses out to go attack, they’re not at home protecting the castle, right?
“Because he’s a younger, inexperienced guy trying to go and get this belt that means so much to him, he’s going to act like it, and that’s what we’re going to take advantage of.”
Finally, Thanh Le foresees the precise sequence and exact round that he will finish Tang Kai, which will happen in the latter part of the championship bout.
“[My prediction is] we go into the fourth round, he throws that two-three combo and misses. I come up on the backside and he catches a right hand down the pipe and goes to sleep, fourth round.”
Featured image credits to ONE Championship.