Cambodian mixed martial artist Rin Saroth went the distance in his Friday night bout with Tial Thang of Myanmar but frustratingly could not pull out a victory at ONE Championship: Reign of Valor.
Thang was awarded a unanimous decision victory over the Cambodian Top Team (CTT) talent in their 68-kilogram catch weight contest in Yangon.
The Kun Khmer specialist had the advantage in the stand-up department on paper, but Thang took the action to Saroth in the opening stanza.
“The Dragon Leg” put the exclamation point on a hugely encouraging round by closing the distance on Saroth, getting a body lock, and spectacularly taking him down to the canvas.
Thang initially continued his striking approach at the start of round two, as he countered effectively and, at times, beat Saroth to the punch. But then, the local hero turned to his wrestling to dominate the clinch and secure multiple takedowns.
The Cambodian looked to use his strikes to rough up Thang at the start of the third round, but the four-time Chin State Wrestling Champion continued his relentless work rate.
He connected with some more of his strikes, and then masterfully changed levels, locked on to Saroth yet again, and drove him down to the canvas once more.
After one such takedown, the Myanmar-native pinned Saroth against the fence, applied immense top pressure, and connected with an assortment of ground strikes.
When the action returned to the feet, “The Dragon Leg” stood toe-to-toe with the Kun Khmer specialist to put the seal on a hugely impressive debut performance as the bout went all the way to the judges’ scorecards.
All three judges awarded the unanimous decision victory to home fighter.
In the main event, Sweden’s Zebaztian Kadestam showed championship heart by defeating Kazakhstan’s Georgiy Kichigin via technical knockout to retain the ONE Welterweight World Championship.
For the better part of the first two rounds, Kadestam was on the wrong end of a grappling clinic from Kichigin, as he was getting taken down and controlled on the ground.
In the dying minutes of the second round however, Kadestam landed a thunderous elbow in the clinch that had the challenger dazed at the end of the round. Visibly still hurt from the elbow, Kichigin was unable to answer the third round bell and the victory was awarded to Kadestam.