Asian MMA

Thanh Le Predicts Early Night For Tang Kai At ONE 166: ‘He’s In Trouble’

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Thanh Le said he was ready for Round 6 with Tang Kai after their five-round war for the ONE Featherweight MMA World Championship in August 2022. After over a year of waiting and another bout to become the interim titleholder, he finally gets his shot. The unification bout for the featherweight crown goes down at ONE 166: Qatar on Friday, March 1.

The loss has continually eaten away at him. It has bothered him not so much that he lost but that he did not put forth the performance he wanted to have. He’ll have a chance to rectify that situation inside Lusail Sports Arena.

“I think the last fight was a really good combination of a really great and well-prepared game plan from Tang and his team, and probably the worst performance and decision-making that I’ve made in a really, really long time,” Le told ONE Championship.

After their match, Le thought he’d get an immediate rematch. However, an injury to Tang kept the Chinese star away from action. In the meantime, Le took on Ilya Freymanov and grabbed the interim title. The belt was nice, but Le found the activity and improvement more beneficial as he waited for his time to square off against Tang again.

“But we had a lot of time to get a nice fight in between, to sharpen a bunch of skills, get some specific game plan stuff implemented. And part of the things that I know I can’t mess up in any way, you know, I can’t really can’t mess those things up because we’ve done them so much now. He’s in trouble, man. He’s in trouble this time,” the New Orleans resident remarked.

The MidCity MMA star has flashed both his KO power and his quick submission skills in first-round finishes. That well-rounded finishing ability makes him a threat wherever the action goes and allows him to adapt to any situation. Le credits his coaches and dedication for his never-ending ability to improve all facets of his game.

“You know, we’ve put so much work into my grappling with help from everybody on the team, but especially Ryan Hall and his team and, you know, training, you know I had. Training Fifty/50. All the time bringing in guys like Cory Sandhagen, they’re gonna help as well, who’s, you know, turning into a phenomenal grappler in his own right. But no matter where the fight goes, like honestly, whether it’s clinch, grappling, striking, I feel so comfortable now as a vet and somebody who’s a lifelong martial artist,” Le admitted.

After dropping the unanimous decision to Tang, the New Orleans athlete is clear he never wants to let the judges decide another bout of his. While he will not throw caution to the wind, Le will be more aggressive to ensure a clear result at ONE 166. Unsurprisingly, he envisions an early night for his opponent.

“Yeah, it’s going to be an, it’s going to be an early finish. It’s going to be a finish. I’m not doing another decision in my entire career. So I think whether he was happy with it or not, I’m sure he was because he ended up getting a belt that night. But that’s not happening. We’re going to come in hot, you know, press the action. He’s gonna feel my power early,” the featherweight stated.

Le’s confidence is bringing back his championship aura. His highlight-reel finishes have made him one of the sport’s most exciting athletes to watch. Le is aware of his penchant for finishes and says that is a big reason he is the people’s main event for ONE 166, and every fan needs to be tuned in for his shot at ONE Featherweight MMA World Title unification.

“You know, with a 100% finish rate, it’s hard, it’s hard for everybody else to be in second place. So, you know, the most exciting guy in the company, the 100% finish rate, not many guys have that. I’ve got it in my whole career where I was fighting for ONE, or I fought for a few different organizations, some high-level guys, so that’s all I do. I can’t overstate it because that’s all I’m gonna do is finish,” Le said.

ONE 166: Qatar airs live on Friday, March 1. The action begins at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST. The event is available for free on Prime Video.

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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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