Thanh Le Assesses ONE Fight Night 15 Victory, Predicts A Different Outcome In Tang Kai Rematch

It had been 14 months since former ONE Featherweight MMA World Champion Thanh Le parted with the divisional crown. But this past weekend, in the main event of Fight Night 15, he took a pivotal step in his bid to return to the top of the mountain.

The Vietnamese-American star battled Russian powerhouse Ilya Freymanov with the ONE Interim Featherweight MMA World Championship last Saturday, 7th October, inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. 

After a fast-paced affair on the feet, the prolific knockout artist shocked the world when he wrenched on a heel hook to submit the #3-ranked contender after just 1:02 of action. 

The finish came as Le’s first submission victory in nine years, and after amassing five knockout wins in as many fights in ONE, tapping Freymanov came as a welcome change of pace for Le. 

“We were just talking about that backstage actually. I still like hitting people. That’s a really good feeling. You know comes from my roots and my taekwondo background. But, man, it really feels good to rip a limb off,” Le divulged.

“Obviously, my thoughts and my heart goes to Ilya. I hope he heals quick and gets back in there and knocks a bunch of people out. But personally and selfishly, that s*** felt good too.” 

Le’s mind has been focused on reclaiming the division’s World Title since losing it to Tang Kai at ONE 160 in August 2022. 

He was initially set for a rematch with the Chinese star this past July at ONE Fight Night 12, but Tang’s knee injuries continue to keep him on the sidelines. 

Thus, an interim World Title came into play. And while it might not have been the ideal return for Le, it gave him a chance to return to winning ways against one of the most dangerous rising stars in the featherweight division. 

With victory secured, Le can now prepare for the fateful rematch against Tang. Their first encounter saw the Chinese phenom edge him out over five rounds. But the new interim king insists his improvements will make all the difference the next time. 

“Obviously, I’m going to take my time and spend time with my family and reassess. But quick for me might be different than quick for ya’ll. And so what I mean by that is have a different definition, but we’re going to turn around, and you know, I won’t stop training,” Le said.

“So we’ll start working towards the Tang Kai rematch, so I’m getting my actual belt back and do round six since we’ve got an ugly, disgusting, nasty, unfinished fight that we’ve got to finish. But yeah, I’m excited to get back in there, and he’s obviously very, very good. The fight’s going to look a little different, so we’ll let you see when the time comes.”

Severe MMA Staff

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