ONE Championship has done a very good job constructing a solid kickboxing/Muay Thai roster since they announced its launch last year. It shows in their next card as the main event is a very good match up for a kickboxing title and the major fights on the rest of the card are kickboxing or Muay Thai bouts rather than MMA, notably the semifinals of their 70kg Grand Prix, involving arguably the greatest kickboxer of all time, Giorgio Petrosyan. But without further ado, let’s take a look at the fights.
21-year-old Petchdam Petchyindee was a ranked fighter at Rajadamnern Stadium when he signed with ONE, where he scored three easy KOs against overmatched competition until he passed his first kickboxing test when he beat French action fighter Elias Mahmoudi for the ONE title. He is a southpaw with decent hands, but the bread and butter of his offense is his teep and his excellent left leg. His adaptation to kickboxing has gone rather smoothly, though his defense probably still suffers a bit from not having the option to clinch out of exchanges.
ONE signed an excellent fighter for his first defense in Ilias Ennahachi, a top 3 kickboxer at 60kg in my opinion. Mostly known for being the Enfusion champion, Ennahachi is a tremendously versatile offensive fighter, able to fight effectively from both stances. He’s got solid hands, knees and kicks, particularly his left high kick, and mixes them up very well. Defensively, he tends to rely on his quick feet to get him out of harm’s way, which works the vast majority of the time but can land him in precarious positions sometimes against good ring cutters.
The clash of styles should produce a fast paced and exciting fight but I expect Ennahachi’s quick in and out movement and offensive variety to carry him to a decision win.
Giorgio Petrosyan really shouldn’t need an introduction with kickboxing fans at this point. He is the best fighter in the history of the best weight class of the sport. Stylistically he is a defensive genius and one of the most fundamentally sound fighters you’ll ever see. Since his KO loss to Andy Ristie in 2013, he’s tweaked his style a little bit and upped his boxing output and aggressiveness. He’s looked to beat up his competition lately rather than just looking to outclass them as he had done earlier in his career.
Petrosyan’s road to the semis has been rocky, he originally lost a questionable split decision to Petchmorrakot in the quarters which was later overturned to a no-contest over alleged illegal clinches from the Thai. A rematch was booked, which Petrosyan won. Ultimately, Petrosyan making the semi-finals isn’t really a scandal to me as I thought he won both fights despite poor performances by his standards, but the pretext used to justify the rematch was definitely suspect and I doubt anyone but Petrosyan would have gotten the chance for a do over.
Anyway, I think Petrosyan’s underwhelming showings against Petchmorrakot came down to a tough match up rather than a decline and I expect him to get past Jo Nattawut, a good fighter whom he’s already beaten soundly last year, rather easily.
Samy Sana threw a wrench in ONE’s plans for a much anticipated Petrosyan vs Yodsanklai final when he upset the Thai great in a tremendous upset and Fight of the Year contender. Sana has long been one of the best fighters in France but didn’t quite live up to his potential internationally until the Yodsanklai fight.
He’ll be fighting veteran Dzhabar Askerov, who has fought pretty much anyone worth fighting in kickboxing for the last decade. He hasn’t won a lot against the elite but his relentless pressure fighting has given fits even to some of the best. These two should have brawl which I’ll pick Sana to win due to his size advantage and recent form, but if he doesn’t show up at his best Askerov will make him pay for it.
Muangthai has been the best elbow specialist in Thailand for the last few years and though his stadium career is starting to slow down, he should be able to deal with Japanese veteran Kenta Yamada.
Savvas Michael is one of the most promising foreigners currently fighting in Thailand, achieving a top 10 ranking at 135 lbs at Rajadamnern stadium. In ONE, he’s faced a first good test when he beat past his prime former Lumpinee champion Singtongnoi. He’ll take on another faded legend in Lerdsila Phuket Top Team.
At 38 Lerdsila is a decade removed from his Stadium career, but he’s since embarked on a respectable international career, going 20-4-1 and picking up notable wins over Matt Embree, Wei Rui, Deng Zeqi and Wei Ninghui. He’s one of the hardest fighters to hit in Muay Thai (earning him nicknames like “The Mayweather of Muay Thai” or my personal favorite, “The Eel On A Skateboard”) and even at his ancient age for a Thai, remains a treat to watch.
Lerdsila can probably make Michael look dumb for the start of the fight but I expect the cypriot’s youth and size advantage to allow him to get his hands on Lerdsila and slow him down with his excellent body work and earn a decision or late stoppage.
Russia’s Alaverdi Ramazanov emerged as a prospect when he upset Petchmorrakot in 2018, he’s since lost debatable decisions to Saemapetch Fairtex and Kongsak Sitboonme. The Kongsak fight in particular was a robbery in which Ramazanov showed his good strike selection, fast hands and nice knee feints to set them up.
Ognjen Topic for his part, is the best kept secret in American Muay Thai. Probably the best US fighter in full rules Muay Thai, he’s a very solid, experienced mid tier fighter at a stacked weight and should provide a good test and a fun fight for the Russian prospect.
This should be a very entertaining card, with compelling matchups from top to bottom. ONE Championship: Dreams Of Gold’s main card airs in the US on Bleacher Report Live and Youtube internationally at 9:30am ET / 6:30am PT on Friday, August 16th. The preliminary card starts at 6:00am ET / 3:00am PT on Bleacher/Report Live and Youtube.
Main Card, 9:30am ET / 6:30am PT
Petchdam Petchyindee Academy vs. Ilias Ennahachi – Muay Thai
Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Jo Nattawut – Kickboxing
Nong Stamp vs. Asha Roka
Samy Sana vs. Dzhabar Askerov – Kickboxing
Alex Silva vs. Stefer Rahardian
Muangthai vs. Kenta Yamada – Muay Thai
Thanh Le vs. Kotetsu Boku
Preliminary Card, 6:00am ET / 3:00am PT
Lerdsila Phuket top Team vs. Savvas Michael – Muay Thai
Yusup Saadulaev vs. Shuya Kamikubo
Chan Rothana vs. Gustavo Balart
Liam Nolan vs. Bangpleenoi – Muay Thai
Ryuto Sawada vs. Aziz Calim
Alaverdi Ramazanov vs. Ognjen Topic – Muay Thai
Zhikang Zhao vs. Paul Lumihi
Getu Hexi vs. Ramon Gonzales
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