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Thanh Le vs. Garry Tonon Breakdown

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Thanh Le’s sensational knockout over Martin Nguyen made him the man to beat in the ONE Championship featherweight division. The ONE Featherweight World Champion now awaits his next challenge.

Thanh Le vs. Garry Tonon Breakdown

Among the top challengers is a fellow American, Garry Tonon.

Tonon is the #3-ranked contender in the division and remains undefeated. He also poses one of the most interesting stylistic matchups for Le. The combination of the two things could make him the top choice for the title shot.

Looking forward, let’s theorize a possible meeting of the elite featherweights.

Should Le and Tonon meet inside the Circle, here is everything we know, what to watch, and what ramifications are possible for each man.

What We Know

The breakdown of this potential matchup is clear and concise — it is a striker vs. grappler matchup with Thanh Le’s knockout power against Garry Tonon’s remarkable grappling.

Le’s exciting run through ONE’s featherweight division has been impressive, and it has shown how skilled he is on his feet. The Louisianan cuts angles expertly and rips in his shots with devastating power.

Tonon finished everyone with a submission until his last outing, but even then, he dominated with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and attacked with submissions.

The question will be who can impose their will on the other to get their hand raised.

What To Watch

For Le, fans will want to watch his footwork and takedown defense. How will he establish distance against Tonon pressing forward? How will the Louisiana native stop the takedown if he is pushed against the Circle Wall?

Tonon will be the more interesting party to watch between the two athletes.

We know Tonon’s submission ability, but what happens when his striking begins to catch up bit by bit? While he is unlikely to suddenly become a knockout master, Tonon’s ground threat could make his stand-up that much more dangerous as it will be what is unexpected.

Keeping a close eye on his progression as a striker will be intriguing to watch against someone as talented as Le. He will need to work his way into tight spaces, and striking is how to do it.

What’s On The Line

Yes, the ONE Featherweight World Championship is up for grabs, but there is more for each man that is obtainable should the meeting take place.

For the champion, it’s cementing his status as the champion. If the bout comes next, it will mark his first title defense. The old adage of not becoming a champion until a title is defended comes to mind. But he is the champ. A victory over a top contender cements that status and lays the landscape for future challengers.

What’s up for grabs for Tonon is the continuation of the grappling renaissance.

Reinier De Ridder used his submission game to claim the ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Titles. Charles Oliveira reigns over the UFC Lightweight Division. The list is growing, and the grapplers are once again taking over. If Tonon can become a World Champion with his lineage of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu titles, it would help signal the new era of submission aces is in full effect.


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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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