Thanh Le returns for his second World Title defense at ONE 160 on August 26, and the ONE Featherweight World Champion is confident that he will have no issue making light work of surging Chinese KO artist Tang Kai.
In his last promotional appearance, the Vietnamese-American defended his gold against then-undefeated submission grappling specialist Garry Tonon in emphatic fashion by knocking him out in only 56 seconds.
The performance sent shock waves through the combat sports world, and Le is confident the story will remain the same in his upcoming fight.
However, the American star sees the fight with Tang going longer.
“[My prediction is] we go into the fourth round, he throws that two-three combo and misses, I come up on the backside, and he catches a right hand down the pipe and goes to sleep, fourth round,” Le said.
“Because he’s a younger, inexperienced guy trying to go and get this belt that means so much to him, he’s going to act like it, and that’s what we’re going to take advantage of.”
Le may not possess the speed and striking power of the top-ranked challenger, but his dexterity and ability to strike when it matters most have made him one of the most exciting fighters on the ONE roster.
In fact, the 36-year-old utilized the very tools he foresees using against Tang when he claimed the featherweight crown from Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen in October 2020.
The Louisiana native became the first person to knock out the Australian-Vietnamese superstar on that occasion, and he’ll be looking to carry on that form on August 26.
Le isn’t underestimating his opponent, however. He recognizes Tang’s impressive skill set and knows he has to be careful.
“He looks for the finish everywhere. That’s why he’s an exciting fighter. That’s why he’s fun to match up against,” he said.
“He could be more disciplined. In order to send some of your defenses out to go attack, they’re not at home protecting the castle, right?”
Tang enters this tilt on a nine-fight winning streak, including three consecutive first-round KOs against Ryogo Takahashi, Yoon Chang Min, and Kim Jae Woong.
While primarily known as a knockout specialist, the 26-year-old has an equally dangerous ground game.
In the end, though, Le isn’t too concerned about what his rival will be bringing to the Circle. If anything, facing an athlete like Tang has fired him up, and he plans to make the most of his return to the global stage next month.
Mixed martial arts, One fc, Mma, One championship
Black Belt Magazine
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