As the weather outside continues to cool down, expect things to heat up inside the ONE Championship circle.
ONE 161 and ONE on Prime Video 2 will air in Asia primetime on September 29 and U.S. primetime on September 30, respectively – and each fight card will feature high-level muay Thai action.
From a world title showdown to a battle between former champs to a highly anticipated debut, here is why we're looking forward to each muay Thai bout later this month.
Petchmorakot Petchyindee vs. Tawanchai PK.Saenchai
Without a doubt, the biggest matchup is the ONE featherweight muay Thai world title fight between reigning king Petchmorakot Petchyindee and No. 1-ranked contender Tawanchai PK.Saenchai in the main event of ONE 161.
Petchmorakot's reign dates back to February 2020, but he's had a few scares along the way. Particularly, his defenses against Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex and Jimmy Vienot were close and showed that with a little extra oomph, he could've been defeated.
Tawanchai has that oomph – and more.
In fact, all of his three wins inside the ONE Championship circle have ended by knockout. But despite his supreme skill set, the Thai star has never won a muay Thai world title, so expect a little extra motivation.
Capitan Petchyindee vs. Alaverdi Ramazanov II
Capitan Petchyindee and Alaverdi Ramazanov first met in January 2021 for the latter's ONE bantamweight kickboxing world title, and Capitan needed just a round-and-a-half to dethrone the Russian.
Now, the two will rematch in the lead-card headliner at ONE 161, but under entirely different circumstances.
The strikers will compete under muay Thai rules, and Capitan – who lost his kickboxing strap to Hiroki Akimoto earlier this year – will look to crack the top-five rankings by taking out No. 4 contender Ramazanov.
Zhang Chenglong vs. Sangmanee PK.Saenchai
Zhang Chenglong started his ONE career by scoring three straight wins in the bantamweight kickboxing division.
He fell short of becoming the world champion, though, by losing a challenge to then-titleholder Ramazanov and then dropping his next three bouts.
However, Zhang recently switched sports and is motivated to leave a mark in muay Thai. At ONE 161, he'll begin that charge against a man who once looked just as promising – Sangmanee PK.Saenchai.
For his part, Sangmanee blasted through his first two ONE opponents using his muay femur style, but he hit a roadblock in Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai.
Since then, the Thai has changed gyms, refocused, and is ready to make a run in one of the deepest divisions in the promotion.
Han Zi Hao vs. Ferrari Fairtex
Han Zi Hao is one of the more experienced fighters in the organization, having competed in ONE Championship 11 times under muay Thai and kickboxing rules.
Since 2018, he's faced top-level opposition and even battled legendary striker Nong-O Gaiyanghadao for the inaugural ONE bantamweight muay Thai world title.
However, the Chinese star will be in tough at ONE 161 against debuting phenom Ferrari Fairtex.
Ferrari is a 135-Pound Channel 7 Stadium muay Thai world champion who's defeated many of the sport's best. His extensive list of victims includes Sangmanee, No. 2-ranked bantamweight muay Thai contender Rittewada Petchyindee, Muangthai PK.Saenchai, and others.
Now, the Thai wants to continue winning those big-name fights in ONE, and he can make a strong first impression by getting past Han.
Anissa Meksen vs. Dangkongfah Banchamek
ONE on Prime Video 2 will showcase only one muay Thai bout, but it promises intense action from start to finish.
Anissa Meksen is one of the greatest pound-for-pound strikers on the planet, and she's scored back-to-back wins since joining ONE – a dominant decision over Marie Ruumet under muay Thai in April and a TKO of Cristina Morales in kickboxing last September.
Meanwhile, promotional newcomer Dangkongfah Banchamek is one of the more experienced female muay Thai stars in Thailand.
Not only is she a WBC muay Thai world champion, but she's defeated reigning ONE atomweight muay Thai world champion Allycia Hellen Rodrigues twice outside of ONE.
This story first published at ONEFC.com.