Typically, ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon blasts out the gate with punches every time he fights and that approach has helped him win all his Muay Thai fights, powering him through five World Title defenses in The Home of Martial Arts.
However, he showed a different strategy during his ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix quarterfinal bout against Jacob Smith last Friday (May 20) at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot.
While Rodtang expressed concern about the Englishman's striking prowess, he didn't give his opponent a chance. It's as if the Thai titleholder didn't even break a sweat as he overwhelmed Smith.
"The Iron Man" controlled every exchange and punished his rival with right punches and elbows. Rodtang's relentless pace gave Smith little-to-no room to throw punches of his own. The one-sided contest ended with the current World Champion scoring a unanimous decision victory.
In the semifinals of the Grand Prix, he'll face Savvas Michael, who also had an impressive showing against Amir Naseri in the quarterfinals at ONE 157. But Rodtang will no doubt have the advantage in terms of skill and power.
The finals could be a different conversation, however, because Superlek Kiatmoo9 might be waiting in the wings if he beats Walter Goncalves and Rodtang makes it past Michael. "The Kicking Machine" had an impressive quarterfinal performance against Taiki Naito by pressuring his Japanese foe.
Superlek could be the fighter who thwarts Rodtang's goal of winning the World Grand Prix. His strikes have the same tenacity, especially his leg-weakening low kicks.
But while Rodtang might have a hard time against his compatriot, people are still picking the World Champion as the favorite because he can efficiently channel his aggression.
ONE Championship returns to action with ONE 158 on June 3. The event will be headlined by a ONE Strawweight Championship title bout between champion Joshua Pacio and title challenger Jarred Brooks.
Source: Media Release