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ONE 160 Co-Main Event: Le vs. Kai Breakdown

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Although this weekend is one of the rare times throughout the calendar year where there’s no UFC event scheduled to be held, with the promotion returning to action on Saturday, Sept. 3 in Paris, there will still be plenty of MMA action for your perusal in the coming days, including an appealing bout in the ONE 160 co-main event: Le vs. Kai.

It all begins early this Friday morning (USA time) as Singapore becomes the epicentre of the combat sports world, where three championship fights will be held over the course of approximately 15 hours, give or take.

ONE Championship Begins Championship Tripleheader With ONE 160 Co-Main Event Friday

ONE Championship will return to live action on Friday with the first of two cards to be held this weekend, and barring anything unforeseen between now and then, the first of three championship fights to occur, the ONE 160 co-main event, a contest for supremacy at 155 lbs.

Incumbent ONE Championship Featherweight Champion Thanh Le (13-2 MMA, 5-1 ONE Championship) will put his belt on the line against challenger and No. 1 contender Tang Kai (14-2 MMA, 9-0 ONE Championship) in the ONE 160 co-main event on Friday, a five-round fight at five minutes per round.

One note: Atypical of other MMA organizations, ONE Championship bases its weight classes on a fighter’s normal weight and outright bans dehydration as a method of weight cuts in the aftermath of the 2015 death of Yang Jian Bing from a dehydration-based weight cut.

Live coverage of ONE 160 begins Friday morning inside the United States and Canada at 7:30 am ET/ 4:30 am PT on the ONE Championship Facebook and YouTube with the undercard, followed by the main card at 8:30 am ET/ 5:30 am PT on YouTube.

ONE 160 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the ONE 160 co-main event on Friday, challenger Tang Kai stands as the taller man at 5-foot-10, compared to the 5-foot-9 frame of champion Thanh Le.

However, although the champion has the shorter frame in this fight, Thang Le makes up for it in reach, as he owns a 2.1-inch reach advantage (74 1/2 inches to 72.4 inches) over Tang Kai coming into the co-main.

Champion Thanh Le Wants To Capitalize On Tang Kai’s Pursuit in ONE 160 Co-Main Event

Incumbent champion Thanh Le has posted a record of 5-0 since joining ONE Championship in May of 2019, most recently stopping Garry Tonon (6-1 MMA, 6-1 ONE Championship) back in March during ONE Championship: Lights Out (first-round knockout due to ground and pound shots) in 55 seconds, marking the grappler’s first loss in an MMA fight.

Last month, the champ was interviewed by the promotion, where he had glowing words for the challenger ahead of the ONE 160 co-main event.

“He looks for the finish everywhere,” Le said of Tang. “That’s why he’s an exciting fighter. That’s why he’s fun to match up against. He could be more discipline. In order to send some of your defenses out to go attack, they’re not at home to protect the castle, right?”

Later on, in the same interview, Le predicted another stoppage victory this time around.

“[My prediction is] we go into the fourth round, he throws that two-three combo and misses,” he began. “I come up on the backside and he catches a right hand down the pipe and goes to sleep, fourth round.”

Only time will tell whether or not the champion’s prediction comes true in the ONE 160 co-main event on Friday.

Tang Kai Defending Family Honor

In the other corner, Tang Kai has posted a 5-0 record of his own heading into the ONE 160 co-main event, having won nine fights in a row since his days in the Rebel FC promotion began in September of 2017.

Most recently, Tang scored a first-round knockout against Kim Jae Woong (12-5 MMA, 3-2 ONE Championship) on March 26 during ONE Championship: ONE X, but it’s personal for the challenger heading into Friday’s co-headliner.

“My family and friends all supported me because they know this is what I love,” Tang said. “My mother is afraid that I will get hurt, so she doesn’t watch my matches, but she has never stopped me from pursuing my dream. My parents and my coach give me the right guidance. I can always feel their expectations and love for me. I will fight for them.”

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the ONE 160 co-main event on Friday seems to favor Tang Kai, a wrestler, compared to Thanh Le’s taekwondo background.

Thanh Le Can End ONE 160 Co-Main Event Quickly

One aspect of Thanh Le’s fight game that shows itself on video is his ability to end the fight before the home viewer gets back from the fridge, as he did versus Garry Tonon earlier this year.

Although the fight was scheduled for five rounds, Le needed less than a single minute to dispose of Tonon, as he began by reversing a Tonon takedown attempt to score with a right-handed punch.

While Garry Tonon attempted to advance on a heel hook attempt, Thanh Le was having none of it, pouring it on with relentless right hands, forcing the referee to intervene in 55 seconds.

If Le is able to find a home for his right-handed punches, the ONE 160 co-main event will be over before your second cup of coffee is brewed on Friday.

Tang Kai Also Has a Penchant For Fast Finishes

In the other corner, Tang Kai subscribes to The Gospel, According to Lee Corso:

“Not so fast, my friend.”

Tang also has been known to end the fight early, as he did against Kim Jae Woong in March.

Ahead of the fight, both of these competitors agreed not to go to the cage mat, and it would ultimately prove to be unneeded, as Tang was the aggressor during the contest, landing jabs in the early going, peppering Kim with an outside lead leg kick and another jab.

It would be all Tang Kai, all the time for as long as the fight lasted, as he scored the final blow, a crisp two-punch combo, to knock Kim Jae Woong down and out.

Look for Tang Kai to counterpunch, and if he’s able to disrupt Thanh Le’s gameplan effectively, the ONE 160 co-main event will be his for the taking.

Final Thoughts

Although watching MMA on a workday morning is a tough sell, the ONE 160 co-main event looks to be a fight that’s worth watching at your cubicle on Friday.

Get your coffee brewing before the fight starts, as there might not be much chance to do so during the fight.

Prediction: Thanh Le by First-Round Knockout.

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