Chingiz Allazov is certainly well-positioned to dissect the ongoing ONE flyweight muay Thai world grand prix.
After all, "Chinga" recently fought his way through the ONE featherweight kickboxing world grand prix to earn the coveted silver belt and the next shot at divisional king Superbon Singha Mawynn.
It wasn't easy to win such a high-stakes competition, but Allazov made it seem that way with a pair of first-round knockouts and then a dominant unanimous decision over Sitthichai "Killer Kid" Sitsongpeenong in the championship final at ONE X in March.
Now, the Belarusian is eager to see how the final four flyweight strikers fare in their own tournament.
In the semifinals, ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Rodtang "The Iron Man" Jitmuangnon will take on No. 4-ranked contender Savvas "The Baby Face Killer" Michael, while No. 1-ranked Superlek "The Kicking Machine" Kiatmoo9 will meet No. 5-ranked Walter Goncalves.
"The Iron Man" is widely considered the favorite, but while Allazov respects his accomplishments, he believes the Thai should be more careful in his approach.
"I'm not a fan of Rodtang’s style," Allazov said. "He's a good guy and I've talked with him, but I don't like his style. He has 'The Iron Head.' He fights only forward."
Of course, Rodtang's aggressive mindset also led him to join the ONE flyweight muay Thai world grand prix in the first place.
Instead of waiting on the sidelines while the top contenders battled in the tournament, he decided to participate in hopes of pairing the silver belt with his golden world title strap.
But while the Thai megastar usually likes to pressure his opponents – eating punches and kicks to bulldoze his way toward a win – he showcased a more calculated game plan against Jacob Smith in the quarterfinals.
"The Iron Man" picked his shots and looked comfortable coasting toward a unanimous decision victory, and that's exactly the kind of strategy Allazov feels he should use in the rest of the grand prix.
"If Rodtang goes forward the whole time, that is no good," the No. 1 featherweight kickboxing contender said. "(When I compete), I love fighters who like to go forward because it will be an easy fight for me. I love fighters who like to fight forward with me because it gives them a problem."
Allazov Analyzes potential grand prix final between Rodtang, Superlek
Allazov is one of the organization's fiercest strikers, and he's no doubt preparing for his future world title challenge against Superbon Singha Mawynn.
However, that doesn't mean he won’t be watching the rest of the ONE flyweight muay Thai world grand prix as a fan.
In fact, "Chinga" is already envisioning a tournament final between ONE flyweight muay Thai world champion Rodtang and No. 1-ranked contender Superlek Kiatmoo9.
And because the Thais are so evenly matched, he expects their potential contest to be decided by preparation and execution.
"I know Rodtang is a good fighter," Allazov said. "He likes to go forward. Superlek will do the same. He is a two-time Lumpinee Stadium champion. But I think it will (come down to) who has (better) tactics, who has a good gameplan. That's who will win."
Superlek earned his upcoming semifinal date with Walter Goncalves by picking apart No. 4-ranked flyweight kickboxer Taiki "Silent Sniper" Naito in the opening round. "The Kicking Machine" chopped at his Japanese foe's legs for most of the bout, earning a unanimous decision win.
If he surpasses the Brazilian in the next stage – and if Rodtang beats Michael – the two will throw down in a firefight that every fan has clamored for.
It would be a closely contested clash, but the majority of observers would likely pick "The Iron Man" to emerge victorious.
And while Allazov may not agree with the flyweight muay Thai king's forward style, he would still lean toward him if the striking world is blessed with such a matchup.
"I don't know who will win – it would be a match between (two) styles," Allazov added. "When Thai people fight each other, I don't know who will beat who. (But) I’d say Rodtang has a 55 percent (chance of) winning, and Superlek has a 45 percent (chance of) winning.”
This story first published at ONEFC.com.