Former ONE featherweight world champion Thanh Le has got his sights set on claiming his belt back from Tang Kai.
Le lost the world title in August at ONE 160 following a great performance from his challenger, who executed a flawless game plan. In doing so, Kai made history by becoming the first male Chinese MMA world champion.
In an interview with From The Stands MMA, Thanh Le spoke about his plans going forward and the possibility of an all-important rematch with Tang Kai:
“This is just a hiccup in the path to success. We’re gonna go back, get that belt back, defend it a couple of times, do what we need to do in that division to make sure we’re at the top of the mountain. Then we can start taking a look at lightweight.”
In the interview, Le also spoke about Tang Kai’s game plan in their fight and what surprised him about the contest.
Le mentioned how Kai would give up space and not trade with him after getting an early lead in the fight through his leg kicks. The damage dealt by the Chinese striker’s leg kicks was a huge part of slowing Le down for most of the match.
After damaging the champion’s legs, Tang Kai stuck to his plan and was able to control the pace of the fight en route to victory.
Watch the full interview below:
Tang Kai decisions Thanh Le to become China’s first male MMA world champion
In the ONE 160 co-main event, ONE featherweight world champion Thanh Le looked to defend his world championship and perfect record in ONE against China’s Tang Kai.
The highly anticipated matchup was fueled by plenty of talk in the buildup. Finally, the time for exchanging words was over.
In the opening round, both fighters tried to work out each other’s game plans and timing, with the most significant strikes being landed to the legs of the champion. After landing those leg kicks in the first round, Tang Kai started to take over the pace of the fight and cause clear damage to Le’s legs. He even dropped the defending champ and took away some of his fluid movement.
From that point on, it was clear that Thanh Le was going to need a big shot to change the course of the fight, so he switched to southpaw. Tang Kai remained strict to his game plan, though, and didn’t engage with Le and risk his lead. Instead, he continued to land calf kicks and keep himself out of danger.
After controlling the fight from early on, Tang Kai emerged victorious and made history as China’s first MMA champion following a perfect performance.