Asian MMA

Thanh Le Plans To Show ‘Gap Between Good And Elite’ At ONE 160

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Thanh Le is ready for his latest challenger, the ever-confident Tang Kai, at ONE 160: Ok vs. Lee II on Friday, August 26.

Le has been perfect inside the Circle, with knockouts in each of his bouts. The reigning featherweight king will be seeking to extend that streak against an opponent who loves to throw bombs.

In the build-up to the ONE Featherweight World Championship title match, Tang has been brash with his predictions. And the Louisianan welcomes that style of action.

“If he wants to go in there and mix it up and make it hectic and crazy, then that is his best chance. But I’m really good at that stuff too, so that’s going to be a problem for him as well,” said Le.

“What gives him the highest percentage points in the paint is going to be standing in the middle, mixing and trying to make it as hectic and crazy as possible, trading a lot. But don’t get it twisted. I really like doing what he was asking. That’s a lot of fun. And I finished a lot of people like that.”

“If we’re talking about things on paper, we’re talking about the availability of being hit. He’s there. He’s there a lot more than me. If he wants to go out and be a volume guy, I think it’s going to be a quicker fight than he’d expect.”

The MidCity MMA athlete has a good understanding of the talents that Tang brings into the Circle with him. At ONE X, when the Chinese star defeated Kim Jae Woong, Le was in attendance to watch the match firsthand.

But Le maintained that he was not all that impressed with Tang’s performance.

In reviewing film for the matchup, Le also noted his wrestling background. Although Tang has a string of knockouts in ONE Championship, he is preparing for the possibility of showcasing his newly earned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt as well.

“We’ve taken a look at some of his grappling that he’s done after his doubles and his connections. You know, top position, top control, it’s not disciplined enough. But that kind of carries over through a lot of his martial arts in general, a lot of his fighting styles, in general,” said Le.

“He’ll connect and shoot some doubles just to win rounds. And I think if he decides to shoot a double in a moment, that takes me down, that’s a big opportunity for me to finish the fight. Nobody’s really seen me do much on the ground, I haven’t had to really go there and fight, but he’s got a nice sharp little double that can definitely surprise you.”

“So yeah, if he wants to whip out some of his wrestling, I think I’ll finish him on the ground, and if he wants to keep this standing, then I think you’ll see the gap between good and elite.”

The clash of two finishers has Le excited about the prospects of his latest title defense.

Le only wants to compete against the best available athletes and having an opponent who presses the action fits into what he wants to do inside the Circle. Knowing he has to be sharp or else he will be the one face down on the canvas motivates the ONE Featherweight World Champion to enter the Singapore Indoor Stadium on top of his game.

He expects the pressure to be Tang’s downfall at ONE 160.

“I want the best Tang Kai possible that we could possibly meet in the future. And I just see it matching up really well for me,” said Le.

“If he wants to be a sniper and a ninja from the outside, that’s my game. He dies 10 times out of 10. The issue is that we’ve seen him go through matches and connect some of his best shots. In it, like five, six punches in a row and still not have finished people. We’ve never seen that with me. If I hit him, he’s going to sleep. So it’s going to be a problem.”

“We go into the fourth round. He throws that two-three combo -misses. I come up on the backside, and he catches a right hand down the pipe and goes to sleep, fourth round.”

ONE 160: Ok vs. Lee airs live and free on at 7:30 a.m. ET/4:30 a.m. PT on Friday, August 26.

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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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