The highly anticipated Muay Thai super fight between Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Superlek Kiatmoo9 finally went down at ONE Friday Fights 34, and it delivered in spades.
For three rounds, the two massive Thai stars threw every strike they had in their arsenal. And after nine minutes, Superlek got his hand raised in the catchweight contest.
The deciding factor occurred in the second round when Superlek pressured Rodtang near the ropes and then scored a knockdown. It was counted by the judges, but many fans felt that the flyweight Muay Thai was merely knocked off-balance.
ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong commented on the bout when speaking to South China Morning Post after the event, and he made it clear that he understood why some saw it as closer than the judges’ unanimous decision ruling.
“The fight was so close. In some people’s eyes it was a draw. If it was a draw it would have gone to Rodtang because of the cut on Superlek’s head, because you go by the criteria we use, because of damage,” the ONE co-founder told Nicolas Atkin.
Although the showdown mesmerized audiences around the world, it did not come without some disappointment.
Originally slated to be a battle for the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship, Superlek missed weight in the leadup. Sityodtong discussed how they tried to keep it a five-round affair even without the belt on the line, but “The Iron Man” and his camp refused.
“The irony is, when Superlek missed weight, we talked to both camps and we wanted to keep it a five-round fight, and actually Rodtang’s camp said, ‘No, we don’t want a five-round fight because he’s so big, five pounds is a lot to give, we’d rather a three-round fight’. So I think they made a strategic error,” he said.
Following the epic contest, Sityodtong mentioned that he would like to see a rematch at the upcoming ONE 165 event in Qatar.
He even suggested that ONE would find a nutritionist for Superlek to make sure he would make weight so that the flyweight title could be put on the line.
ONE Friday Fights 34 delivered in a major way, but it is apparent that the Rodtang vs. Superlek matchup still has a lot of meat left on the bone – and the higher-ups in the world largest martial arts organization is ready to give fans another bite very soon.
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