Thanh Le Excited To Test Ilya Freymanov’s Heart At ONE Fight Night 15

Former ONE Featherweight MMA World Champion Thanh Le is on a quest to reclaim the divisional gold. But to do that, he has to overcome fellow finisher Ilya Freymanov in his upcoming fight.

The Vietnamese-American star squares off with Freymanov for the ONE Interim Featherweight MMA World Title in the main event of ONE Fight Night 15, which goes down in Bangkok, Thailand’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium this Saturday, 7th October.

Le had been scheduled to face ONE Featherweight MMA World Champion Tang Kai this past July at ONE Fight Night 12 – in an immediate World Title rematch of their battle last August – but Tang was forced to pull out due to an ongoing knee injury.

With that fight nixed, the 38-year-old knockout artist didn’t want to let his preparation go to waste. And when a chance to take on Freymanov for the interim crown came along, he grabbed it with both hands.

Le has been keeping his eye on the Russian powerhouse’s handiwork since he arrived in ONE last year. And seeing how quickly Freymanov has risen up the ranks, he felt that a matchup between them was bound to happen sooner or later.

“I knew that was a fight that was eventually going to happen no matter what. Whether I beat Tang Kai and was champion, or maybe I had to work my way back or something like that,” Le said.

“I just knew it was going to happen. I would have 100% preferred that fight before I called it quits.”

Freymanov may have back-to-back first-round finishes of former two-sport ONE World Champion Martin Nguyen and Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg in his pocket in the world’s largest martial arts organization, but Le has made his own firepower known across his six promotional outings, and he fears no man.

The 50/50 and MidCity MMA standout racked up five knockouts in as many fights in ONE, and he took out divisional mainstays along the way, including a World Title win over former two-division king Martin Nguyen in October 2020 and a first-round KO of grappling great Garry Tonon in his first defence at ONE: LIGHTS OUT last March.

In fact, Le hadn’t looked human up until he parted ways with the gold against Tang at ONE 160, and he still has yet to be finished in ONE.

In comparison, Freymanov suffered an early knockdown to Zoltsetseg in his last appearance at ONE Fight Night 11 this past June. The 27-year-old had looked untouchable in his debut and throughout the four-fight winning streak he was enjoying, but the Mongolian star did manage to rumble him before he fell to a submission loss.

Le has taken solace in that, and he believes that his skill set will be too much for Freymanov to handle.

“If he does happen to make a mistake or two and feel some of the power that I present, I don’t know that he’ll be as aggressive and as forward as normal. But I’m very excited to see how his reaction, his pivots, and his adjustments, kind of, come into play,” he said.

“The main thing is we’re looking to beat him up from top to bottom for five full rounds, but you know the deal, you know the story. If he lets me land one or two shots, he won’t be able to take a punch like he did when he got his broken orbital from me and still be standing.”

Severe MMA Staff

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