Indochina is gaining a solid reputation as a hotbed for martial arts talent.
The region, consisting of Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, has a deep history and tradition in martial arts.
Fans in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia have seen their athletes compete and achieve success on the global stage for martial arts.
Three such athletes scored big at the spectacular card of ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD, which was held last Friday, 16 August in Bangkok, Thailand.
We examine their respective performances to understand why they are among the exciting talent that the Indochina region has to offer.
Thanh Le Moved Up In The Featherweight Division
Since debuting in ONE Championship, Vietnamese-American warrior Thanh Le has made quite a splash in the featherweight division.
At ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD, Le scored another big win in his career by knocking out former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu “No Face” Boku in 88 seconds.
This marks his second straight knockout victory in the past three and a half months, following a phenomenal knee knockout of Yusup “Maestro” Saadulaev in May.
Le’s penchant for highlight-reel finishes – he has nine KOs and one submission for a 100-percent finishing rate – has drawn comparisons to reigning featherweight king Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen.
Even though he has his sights set on the featherweight belt, the MidCity MMA representative is willing to earn his way to a World Title shot.
Le’s father, who migrated from Vietnam to the United States, did not want to lose his love for martial arts. He opened a taekwondo studio in Louisiana, which quickly became the perfect training environment for both Le and his brother to shape themselves into fine martial artists.
An LFA Featherweight Champion, Le credits his father for imbuing in him values of hard work, dedication, respect, and honor. All eyes in Vietnam will continue to trace Le’s exciting rise to the top of the division.
If a World Title match with Nguyen comes to fruition, it will be a pivotal moment in the nation’s history, with both athletes of Vietnamese heritage featuring in such a high stakes bout.
In the meantime, Vietnamese martial arts fans will be pleased to see some action on home soil, when ONE’s first-ever promotional event ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, comes to Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, 6 September.
Chan Rothana Became The Standard-Bearer For Cambodian Mixed Martial Arts
Seeing Cambodian flyweight Chan Rothana in action feels like watching an action movie.
At ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD, Rothana entertained fans inside the Impact Arena with his unanimous decision win over Gustavo Balart.
Most memorably, the Phnom Penh resident went all out in the last stanza of their three-round thriller. He launched a dazzling combination of straight rights and thunderous kicks aimed at Balart.
This is little surprise for those who understand Rothana’s history and his journey into mixed martial arts.
The 33-year-old had an early start in the Khmer martial art of Yutakhun Khom, an ancient art that incorporates striking, wrestling, and weapon techniques.
Rothana’s father, Lok Kry Chan Bunthoeun, was a grandmaster in Yutakhun Khom and brought his son into the family tradition.
The flyweight is proud to be an international representative of Cambodia on the global stage, and he is also grateful to serve as an ambassador to share the Khmer martial arts with the rest of the world.
A former ONE Cambodia Featherweight Grand Prix finalist, the kingdom’s standout mixed martial arts star has a 7-3 record and is currently on a three-bout win streak.
With his dynamic striking style and power, Rothana’s feats on the global stage will continue to keep the Cambodian flag flying high.
Stamp Fairtex Transitioned To Leading Icon For Mixed Martial Arts In Thailand
Two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex’s prodigious success is nothing short of phenomenal.
She headed into unchartered territory at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD and emerged with a stunning submission victory against previously undefeated Indian knockout artist Asha “Knockout Queen” Roka.
The ONE Super Series striker has established herself within the dominion of Muay Thai and kickboxing – her two World Titles are testaments to her success.
Yet, Stamp continues to challenge herself by transitioning into mixed martial arts, taking full advantage of youth and opportunity since her breakout on Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series.
Whether it is her striking, takedowns, or submissions, Stamp improved in each contest to become one of the most dangerous competitors in The Home Of Martial Arts.
There is little doubt that Stamp’s quest to become the country’s first-ever three-sport ONE World Champion will be a positive tale of hope and inspiration for many young girls in Thailand.
If the 21-year-old star continues to build upon her impressive resume, she will likely become the frontrunner to represent mixed martial artists in her country for the foreseeable future.
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