Image credits: ONE Championship
Muay Thai superstars Rodtang and Superlek both emerged victorious in their bouts at ONE Championship’s Flyweight Muay Thai Grand Prix quarterfinals at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot, last Friday, May 20.
As a result, the two will move on to the semifinal round of the all-striking tournament to determine the best 135 lb fighter in Muay Thai.
Rodtang was able to earn an exciting but decisive victory over his opponent, Jacob Smith of the UK. The Iron Man displayed an impressive blend of brutal efficiency and technical mastery throughout the three-round fight. He took control of the fight right from the opening bell, completely neutralizing what Smith had to offer.
It was one of the most flawless performances from Rodtang in his appearances in ONE Championship. He did through his kicks and lead hooks, but perhaps what caused the most damage to Smith were the elbows that Rodtang unleashed with frightening power and precision. He suffered from cuts due to the elbows and the blood poured freely for most of the fight, further hampering the Englishman’s chances.
Smith displayed tremendous heart throughout the match, never giving up even though it was clear that he was getting thoroughly overwhelmed. In the end, it wasn’t enough as Rodtang got the well-deserved unanimous decision victory. In fact, Rodtang’s dominance was such that he was awarded a $50,000 performance bonus by ONE’s chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
With his victory, Rodtang’s ONE Muay Thai Super Series record remained perfect at 11-0 while his overall record improved to 268-42-10. He’ll be facing Savvas “The Baby Face Killer” Michael in the semifinals. Michael advanced to the next round by besting Amir Naseri in their own quarterfinal match.
Superlek’s victory was just as impressive. The match between “The Kicking Machine” and Taiki Naito was somewhat competitive at the start. Still, as the fight progressed, Superlek’s superiority in skills and experience just became too apparent for all to see. He set the tone early by throwing leg kicks at Naito and that would continue throughout the entire three rounds. Naito did score a couple of sweeps in Round 1 but they didn’t faze Superlek at all.
The next couple of rounds saw Superlek impose his technique and pinpoint accuracy. He visibly ramped it up after an inadvertent groin strike from Naito at the start of the second round. That might have served as a signal to Superlek to start dominating his game Japanese foe. He doubled down on his kicks while mixing them up by adding a nice dose of knees, elbows, and hooks to the body.
In the end, Superlek proved his superiority over Naito and was declared the rightful winner via unanimous decision. By getting the win, Superlek’s record improved to 129w-29l-4d and moved on to the semifinal round. His next opponent is Walter Goncalves of Brazil, who advanced by defeating Josue “Tuzo” Cruz vis 1st-round KO. Cruz was a replacement for Jonathan Haggerty and stepped in for the fight on 24 hours' notice.
Held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, all four quarter finals matches were featured during the event. However, the results showed why the two modern Muay Thai legends are the favorites to meet for the tournament’s final. Stay connected with us on social media for details of the next round of the Muay Thai Grand Prix.