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Rithy set for return to ONE cage

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Thai Rithy’s last ONE appearance came in November 2017’s ONE Championship: Legends of the World. Courtesy ONE

ONE Championship announced yesterday that Cambodian Top Team talent Thai Rithy will make a return to the Mixed Martial Arts cage at next month’s ONE: Eternal Glory in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Rithy’s last ONE appearance came in November 2017’s ONE Championship: Legends of the World in Manila. There, he was outmuscled by Chinese debutant Zhao Zhi Kang.

In the first bout on the main card, Zhao needed less than three minutes to put Rithy on the mat and finish the contest by rear-naked choke.

Rithy had come firing right out of the gate and looked for a knockout in the very first exchange of the contest. However, his aggression allowed Zhao to duck under and get a nice takedown against the cage wall.

The 22-year-old Zhao was relentless with his pressure, endlessly looking to advance his position before moving into the mount, as Rithy did his best to play defence from the bottom.

After flattening the Cambodian on the mat, Zhao slipped his forearm under the chin and locked in a rear-naked choke. Rithy had nowhere to go and was forced to tap out at 2:31 of the opening round.

Anthony Engelen is no stranger to Cambodian opposition. Courtesy ONE

Rithy’s first bout on a ONE had come just two months earlier, where he knocked out Jerome S Paye of Liberia in the second round at ONE: Total Victory in Indonesia.

However, Dutch-Indonesian Engelen, an IFC Lightweight Champion, is a dangerous foe who is no stranger to Cambodian opposition. He made easy work of Cambodian Top Team fighter Meas Meul inside 39 seconds of their November bout at ONE Championship’s: Heart of the Lion showpiece in Singapore.

After sizing each other up for the first 30 seconds of the matchup, Meul attempted to uncork a big right hand, but his Indonesian rival timed a right kick to his opponent’s head.

Meul dropped his left hand, and his forward momentum led him right into Engelen’s oncoming shin, which knocked him out after just 39 seconds. His success in the cage has taken his tally of wins to five – all via stoppage.

In next month’s main event, an World Title bout tops the bill, with ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio defending his coveted belt against Japanese contender Yosuke Saruta.

The young Filipino phenom will stop at nothing to claim victory against Saruta, a Shooto Strawweight World Champion who has conquered the Japanese scene.

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