Nong-O Gaiyanghadao continues to defy Father Time with his increasingly devastating performances.
Next, the 35-year-old will defend his ONE bantamweight muay Thai world title against Liam Harrison in the co-main event of "ONE 161: Moraes vs. Johnson II," and he's in the best form of his storied career heading into the U.S. primetime show on Friday, August 26.
After returning from retirement in 2018, Nong-O has put together an 8-0 slate in ONE. And incredibly, his last three world title defenses ended with highlight-reel knockouts.
Here, we recap the Thai legend's impressive streak before he battles the English superstar at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
1. Stops Saemapetch's surge with stunning KO
After winning the division's inaugural gold against Han Zi Hao and then successfully defending it against Hiroaki Suzuki and Brice Delval, Nong-O kick-started his concussive run against Thai compatriot Saemapetch Fairtex.
Saemapetch earned his shot with a 3-0 hot streak in ONE, and he challenged the reigning king at "ONE: Edge of Greatness" in November 2019.
Things got off to a promising start for the Fairtex man with a back-and-forth first round, but that success didn't last. In the second frame, Nong-O dropped Saemapetch twice with furious volleys of punches that looked sure to end the match.
However, the Pattaya resident held on, battled through the third round, and then came out firing in the fourth. Unfortunately for him, so did Nong-O.
The Evolve representative absorbed Saemapetch's pressure before darting in with a lightning-fast right hand that decked the challenger and left him looking up at the ceiling lights, wondering how he'd gotten there.
2. Derails 'The Steel Locomotive' with massive right hand
Nong-O returned against Rodlek PK.Saenchai at "ONE: Collision Course" in December 2020, with "The Steel Locomotive" boasting an impressive 4-1 slate in the organization.
Beyond the hard numbers, Rodlek was recognized for his superhuman ability to absorb damage and keep moving forward – at least until he met his legendary opponent's right hand.
The challenger tried to walk the defending king down in trademark fashion during the opening frame, but Nong-O was not fazed and picked him off with jabs and kicks.
Rodlek stayed true to his hardheaded game plan in round two – though it ultimately led to his demise.
When "The Steel Locomotive" tried to wade in with a looping right hand, Nong-O was ready and waiting with a sharp right of his own. The strike slipped inside and crunched into his rival's jaw, separating Rodlek from his senses.
3. Ends Felipe Lobo's Cinderella run
The bantamweight muay Thai king's last outing came at ONE X in March, where he dispatched Brazilian upstart Felipe "Demolition Man" Lobo with a chin-swinging uppercut in the third round.
"Demolition Man" was coming off back-to-back upset wins over Rodlek and Yodpanomrung Jitmuangnon in ONE, and those shocking results led to a feeling that anything could happen in his world title challenge.
Nong-O carefully kept the Brazilian at bay with his jab, low kicks, and body kicks in the first two rounds, forcing Lobo into more desperate measures as the match wore on.
When the third stanza got underway, the challenger tried to step in behind his jab and thrusting elbows.
In response, the Evolve star offered up some clues about his game plan, but "Demolition Man" had no choice but to stay on the offensive.
And when Lobo came forward behind a final jab and stayed too close, Nong-O took his chance to launch a thunderous uppercut through his rival's guard that ended the battle in an instant.
This story first published at ONEFC.com.