ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon is coming back to primetime in the United States, and the Thai superstar is ready to elevate the sport of Muay Thai to new heights with a resounding performance.
At ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II on Friday, Aug. 26, “The Iron Man” will take on Savvas Michael in a ONE flyweight Muay Thai world grand prix semifinal matchup.
Ahead of the crucial bout, Rodtang has taken note of his upcoming opponent’s switched-up approach. Though Michael seems to be more patient with his attacks, the flyweight Muay Thai king is sure he’ll be able to handle it when they come face-to-face under the bright lights.
“He was an aggressive fighter like me with body punches and everything. Now, in the World Grand Prix, he has changed his style to be a skillful, tactical one. So, I have to be prepared a lot, as he has changed a lot,” Rodtang told ONE Championship in a recent interview.
“I’m not too worried about Savvas’ changed fighting style. I’ll apply my own style. I’ll try to see the weaknesses of my opponents and deal with each round. And I’ll see how to adapt my style if I fall behind. If moving forward is bad for me, I’ll see how I can change.”
Rodtang has showcased a slightly adjusted style so far in the tournament too.
In his quarterfinal bout against Jacob Smith, he was more methodical, and this helped him dominate the action throughout all three rounds. In fact, it was one of the Thai star’s most impressive showings inside the Circle to date.
The ability to adapt is an important element to success at the highest level, according to “The Iron Man.”
“Whether I get crazy or tactical, I am always conscious. In my last fight against Jacob Smith, people thought I would approach him too aggressively. But in the Circle, I didn’t. I waited for the right timing,” Rodtang said.
“Handling your opponent properly is crucial. That’s the most important skill. As you fight, you should know how you must adapt. If you keep using the same style, anyone can handle you. You need to be a chameleon in order to beat your opponent.”
Another essential element in working towards a win is identifying a rival’s weakness, and ahead of the semifinal bout, Rodtang believes he has identified Michael’s.
He points out that when the Cypriot moves forward his defense is not as tight, and that is an area he is hoping to exploit en route to a highlight-reel finish.
“I see that his defense still doesn’t cover what it needs to cover. I’ll take that as my upper hand. If possible, I’d like to knock him out, as I’d like to gain the bonus from the big boss, [ONE CEO] Mr. Chatri [Sityodtong],” Rodtang said.
ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II airs live on Prime Video on Friday, Aug. 26. The first bout begins at 8 p.m. ET.