When it came to crunch time, the highly anticipated Muay Thai fight of 2023 did not disappoint.
Fans have been clamoring for a showdown between Rodtang „The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and Superlek „The Kicking Machine” Kiatmoo9 for years, and the pair finally squared off at ONE Friday Fights 34 on September 22.
Although Superleg's weight cut meant that Rotong's one flyweight Muay Thai world title would not come his way, the two superstars fought for the ages at the Lumbini Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Despite being friends outside the ring, the pair showed no signs of it when the first bell rang for the 140-pound catchweight bout.
Superleg, the one-time flyweight kickboxing world champion, tried to slow down „The Iron Man” with body and leg kicks, but Rotong was undeterred.
The Jitmuangnan Jim athlete responded by taking aim with punches and elbows, opening a large cut on „The Kicking Machine's” head.
Instead of being intimidated by the damage, Superleg took it as a catalyst to continue his own attack in the second round.
For a brief spell, the king of kickboxing flipped the script and put his opponent on the back foot, where he dropped Rotong with a knee and then a right elbow for the count of eight.
„Iron Man” jumped up and protested, but now that the tide was against him, he had to turn on the gas for three laps – and he gave it his all.
Rotong scored with heavy kicks and knees to counter the 26-year-old's aggression.
When the final bell rang, they embraced in the middle of the ring before „The Kicking Machine” was declared the winner by unanimous decision for his precision striking and second-round knockdown.
With the win, Superleg ended Rotong's five-year, 14-fight winning streak in ONE's striking streak, while extending his own streak to eight straight.
After such an epic battle, the only regret is that there aren't two more rounds.
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