Muay Thai legend Nong-O Gaiyanghadao’s last time in the ring was nearly three years ago, when he decided to leave his competitive lifestyle behind in order to teach full time at Evolve MMA in Singapore.
Despite the extended time away from competition, the calling of the ring beckoned, and Gaiyanghadao once again found himself in the thick of the action.
This time around, he would be participating in the revolutionary ONE Super Series, and it appears as if the multi-division Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai world champion hardly missed a beat.
Making his ONE Championship debut, Gaiyanghadao took on WBC and Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai World Champion Fabio Pinca in a spirited match-up at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR, which took place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, on Friday, 20 April
After three intense rounds of world-class striking action, Gaiyanghadao won via unanimous decision.
In the first round, action started off at a slow but deliberate pace, as both the Thai and the Frenchman sized each other up. They tested the waters before diving in completely.
Gaiyanghadao, however, would soon make his presence known, as he scored on one of his patented sweeps that sent Pinca falling to the canvas. As he got back up to his feet, the Thai connected on a high kick, which shook the Frenchman.
Although Pinca had his moments, like when he landed a couple of inside leg kicks and punching combinations, Gaiyanghadao appeared a step quicker than his adversary in the first few minutes of the contest.
The action increased exponentially in the second frame, as both warriors looked to pick up the pace. Gaiyanghadao and Pinca stormed out of their respective corners at the sound of the bell, looking to engage immediately. As they were entangled against the ropes, the two began to trade knees in the clinch. Gaiyanghadao would then connect with two thudding left kicks to Pinca’s ribs, which obviously did damage.
In the final round, Pinca upped the pressure. He operated with a sense of urgency, and snuck in a short right elbow to the Thai’s face. The Frenchman continued to apply the pressure, but just when he started to find his groove, Gaiyanghadao connected on a straight right hand that swung momentum back in his favor.
It was a spirited performance from both competitors, who showed fans in Manila what they can expect from the ONE Super Series moving forward. But in the end, Gaiyanghadao emerged victorious, and eagerly awaits his next clash.