Thanh Le plans to knock out Tang Kai at ONE 160 and he knows exactly how he is going to do it. The current featherweight king thinks the fight will get into the championship rounds.

But that’s when he sees Tang making the sort of mistake that will cost him the fight,

“We go into the fourth round, he throws that two-three combo and misses. I come up on the backside and he catches a right hand down the pipe and goes to sleep, fourth round.”

It is a surprisingly specific prediction given that Le’s fights do not typically last this long. He tends to finish opponents early but believes Tang possesses a lot of the same qualities,

“(He) has a lot of the same strengths I do. He’s sharp. His movement is good and developed. His evasiveness is pretty good when he wants to be slick. He’ll engage when he thinks he has the advantage and he’ll bail when he thinks he is on even footing or in a negative position. So some of the things that I do well, he does well also, but I do them better.”

One way

But whatever tricks his opponent tried to pull Le can only see the fight ending one way. He showed in his win over Garry Tonon at ONE: ‘Lights Out’ just how devastating he can be when an opponent tries to take him down,

“If he wants to whip out some of his wrestling, I think I’ll finish him on the ground. And if he wants to keep this standing, then I think you’ll see the gap between good and elite.”

He doesn’t see Tang having much success fighting from longer range either,

“If (he) wants to be a sniper and a ninja from the outside, that’s my game. He dies ten times out of ten.”

Hectic and crazy

He thinks his opponent has only one possible path to victory. Tang needs to get on the inside and turn it into a brawl and even then Le sounds very confident he can prevail,

“If he wants to go in there and mix it up and make it hectic and crazy, then that is his best chance. But I’m really good at that stuff too, so that’s going to be a problem for him as well. If I hit him, he’s going to sleep.”

It sounds like Le believes his opponent will fight like he has nothing to lose which could make for a very entertaining matchup,

“He looks for the finish everywhere. That’s why he’s an exciting fighter. That’s why he’s fun to match up against.”

But Le believes that being a fun fighter brings with it a great deal of risk. He expects Tang, who has called him an ‘old man’, to leave openings and when that happens the champion plans to exploit them ruthlessly,

“Because he’s a younger, inexperienced guy trying to go and get this belt that means so much to him, he’s going to act like it, and that’s what we’re going to take advantage of.”