Since signing for ONE Championship Sam-A Gaiyanghadao has faced all different types of opponent, winning six fights out of seven and picking up three titles in the process. He has yet to face a fellow Thai on this stage but that will all change next Friday

At ONE: ‘Battleground’ Sam-A is taking on Prajanchai PKSaenchaigym, an opponent who is over a decade younger  and still in his prime. The 26 year old captured the coveted Lumpinee super bantamweight belt only last year.

Sam-A, who turns 38 later this year, believes he is taking on the most dangerous contender in the second defence of his strawweight Muay Thai title,

“Prajanchai is the most dangerous contender in strawweight. He is a well-rounded fighter. He is smart. He is skilled and experienced. This makes him the most dangerous contender in this weight class.”

Combination attacks

Sam-A was not the same weight as Saenchai PKSaenchaigym but they were competing for many of the main awards during the peak of their respective Muay Thai careers. He sees similarities between the Thai legend and his student,

“His performance reminds me of Saenchai with the way he throws a weapon, his tricks, and so on. Saenchai recently trained with Prajanchai (and) Prajanchai learned and absorbed a lot from him.”

Sam-A does not sound too worried about his opponent’s power. Prajanchai does not have a reputation as a puncher but the 38 year old is impressed by his opponent’s speed and fight IQ,

“As far as I see, his weapons are not that heavy, but he has combination attacks and he has speed. He is tricky, and he has many tactics. His strong points are his speed and his combination attacks but his weapons are not heavy.”

Southpaw weapons

Sam-A is a tricky, technical southpaw and he plans to use these weapons to good effect on Friday,

“The thing that I can use to defeat him are my weapons from the left side, the left punch and left kick, which brings me success.”

Sam-A has scored four KO or TKO wins since signing for ONE Championship. But he hasn’t stopped a Thai opponent since 2015 and knows that putting Prajanchai away won’t be easy,

“Fighting with Thais, it’s not easy to knock them out. He is fast and he is skilled (so) it might be hard to do that but if I have a chance, I will grab it.”

Point to prove

Sam-A currently holds the strawweight kickboxing and Muay Thai titles with ONE Championship. But his recent wins have all come at the expense of foreign opponents.

There could be no better way to prove his longevity than by beating a top tier Thai opponent. Prajanchai is a big name on the stadium scene and Sam-A would love to prove that he can still mix it up with the best Muay Thai fighters in Bangkok,

“The only thing that I want to prove is myself. Everyone says that I am too old for fighting. This fight is my proof, the proof that I still can fight or not. I need to prove myself in this fight.”