Tang Kai was one of the standout performers on a card that pitted China against ‘the rest of the world’.
The 24-year-old put on an absolute clinic to seal a unanimous decision victory against Malaysia’s Keanu Subba. Subba was making his return to the ONE circle following a seventeen month spell out injured. Tang hadn’t fought since November but was riding a five-fight winning streak.
The first round was a tentative affair initially, but Tang looked to have found his rhythm after landing a knee to the face after a failed Subba takedown attempt. He soon began to show off his boxing, landing some clean strikes in what would be a sign of things to come.
Subba again went for the takedown to no avail at the start of the second round and was soon met with a solid right hand from Tang. The Chinese fighter was composed and looked light on his feet. He began to unload some surgical two-punch combinations. Despite Subba looking to circle out of danger, he continued to get caught by countless heavy shots.
Tang once more showed some strong takedown defense as he stuffed another Subba effort and wound up in side control. Having never won a fight via submission, the Chinese fighter gestured for Subba to get back to his feet and swiftly returned to dominating on the feet with some big rights hands.
It was a case of more target practice for Tang in the third. Combinations of stiff, sharp jabs and power right hands continued to do damage.
The pressure only increased from there with Tang switching stances to vicious effect and varying his output with leg kicks, body shots and jumping knees. Tang came into this fight with a 90% finishing rate, so Subba deserves credit for showing incredible resilience.
The Malaysian was still standing when the bell sounded but Tang was the obvious victor in what was a devastating display. He takes his record to 11-2 while Subba falls to 7-5.
Best of the rest
In the evening’s only other MMA bout there was a decision victory for Japan’s Ryuto Sawada. Up against China’s Miao Li Tao, the Japanese fighter showed off his wrestling prowess with some big takedowns and was able to control his opponent for the vast majority of the fight.
Sawada continued to look for submissions with Li Tao somehow surviving numerous rear naked choke attempts. The Chinese fighter did look stronger in the third, and landed some elbows from top position that may have inflicted some damage but it was a case of too little, too late.
Sawada has now won four of his last five and takes his record to 13-5-1 while Miao drops to 5-3. In kickboxing and Muay Thai action there were also wins for Saketdao Petpayathai and Hiroki Akimoto.