Miao Li Tao has already beaten one former strawweight champion. At ONE: ‘Enter the Dragon’ he knocked out Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in the opening round.

The Chinese fighter is hoping to defeat another at ONE: ‘Battleground’ Part II which is being broadcast next week. he has been matched with Alex Silva, one of only five fighters to ever hold the belt.

Whereas Dejdamrong was a former Lumpinee champion Silva is a BJJ black belt. Miao understands this will be a different type of challenge but knows exactly what he needs to do,

“I have to do a good job with my takedown defense. I have to try to defend his takedowns as much as possible,” he said.

Well prepared

Avoiding the takedowns will be key for Miao but he has had plenty of practice. In the past year he has fought Silva’s teammate Ryuto Sawada twice, going the distance with the wrestler on both occasions .

The Chinese strawweight lost the first of those fights but won the second which suggests that his takedown defence is improving. His opponent is a veteran of 14 ONE Championship fights so he has plenty of footage to review as he prepares to face Silva,

“When I received news of the match and learned that my opponent was Alex Silva, I wanted to prepare well and go all out, so I watched his fights,” Miao said.

He sees one area of weakness that can be exploited. Silva has never scored a stoppage win due to strikes, the Brazilian is a submission specialist and Miao thinks his opponent offers very little threat on the feet,

“Power is his shortcoming and I think my boxing skills are better than his,” he said.

Title mix

Silva is on something of a slump. He has lost five out of his last seven fights but it is worth noting that the losses have all come by way of decision and at the hands of the top strawweights on the roster.

Miao has fought six times for ONE Championship but has yet to face a ranked opponent. This might explain why the Chinese fighter has never cracked the top five in the strawweight division.

A win at ONE: ‘Battleground’ Part II could be enough to secure him a spot in the rankings but Miao’s ambitions do not end there. If he can beat a former champion for the second time he wants a crack at the actual champion,

“I have to win this match to get a chance to go one step further in my career. Joshua Pacio, you wait!”

Miao is not at the front of the queue for a crack at reigning strawweight king Pacio. But he is coming off an impressive win over Silva’s teammate Sawada and a second straight victory would certainly put his name in the mix.