Over the past few years there have been a few names that have dominated the international Muay Thai scene. Fighters like Buakaw, Yodsanklai, Saenchai, Sudsakorn, and Saiyok have made a name for themselves by beating up foreign competition.
While these fighters have been cleaning up their foreign competition for the better part of the last decade, there have been relatively few newcomers to enter the international scene. Fortunately for Muay Thai fans, the next generation of Muay Thai has arrived in the form of Sittichai Sitsongpeenong.
At only 23 years of age, Sittichai is the next big fighter to come out of Thailand. Like all of the top fighters from Thailand, Sittichai possess good boxing skills – something needed to beat foreign competition.
While Sittichai has been cleaning up competition for the past few years, he has only recently started to become recognized by casual fans.
The following is a breakdown of Sittichai’s first Glory fight against Davit Kiria. The fight takes place under Glory rules with no elbows, limited clinching, and no throws allowed.
Before reading the breakdown, you can watch the full fight here:
Fight Breakdown: The Next Muay Thai Superstar
In his Glory debut, Sittichai was put up against former Glory champion Davit Kiria. Kiria is a fighter who is known for his crisp punches and unorthodox techniques. Even though Davit gives away a reach advantage to most of his opponents, he makes up his lack of reach with his punching power.
Sittichai Sitsongpeenong is a Southpaw fighter, which means his strongest weapons are his left sided techniques: left body kick, left straight punch and left knee. To beat Davit, Sittichai would have to take advantage of his reach advantage with strong left kicks, left knees and punches, while keeping a strong defense and avoiding the heavy hands of the Kickboxer.
If you want to learn how to beat Southpaw fighters make sure you read this Guide: How to Counter Southpaw Fighters
Round 1: Setting a Fast Pace
Knowing that he would have to use his punching skills to win the fight, Davit Kiria comes out applying pressure with strong punch combinations right off the gate. Given his strong punches and unorthodox Kickboxing techniques, David is at his best when he is being aggressive.
This punch combination from Davit shows of his strategy of being the aggressor and pushing his Muay Thai opponent against the ropes. To counter Davit’s aggression, Sittichai takes advantage of the 5 second clinch allowed in Glory to neutralize his punches every time he moves forward.
Using Head Movement and Footwork
While Davit starts off throwing good combinations, Sittichai’s defense is up for the task. Utilize a combination of good head movement and footwork, he is able to nullify most of Davit’s offense early in the fight.
The following clip showcases how advanced Sittichai’s movement is. Notice how he is able to stay on the outside of his opponents lead leg. When Davit fires a kick, Sittichai uses footwork to move to the side. Putting himself in a better position to return strikes against Davit.
Here is another clip of Sittichai using brilliant footwork to stay on the outside of his opponent’s lead leg. A strategy that is very effective to take away the power of someone who is pushing forward.
Maintaining the Right Distance
Anytime you are facing a dangerous puncher like Davit Kiria, it is important to stay on the outside of that punching range or close the gap and get on the inside. You never want to put yourself in a position where you are staying in their power zone.
In this sequence Sittichai showcases his great head movement as he ducks under his opponents punches to close the distance. By closing the distance, he is able to avoid Davit’s power punches.
Once Sittichai gets inside of his opponents range he is able to land knee strikes to his body. Because Davit keeps his hands up high in a Kickboxing guard, there are a lot of openings for knees to his body.
Round 2: Turning up the Heat
After the first round, Davit Kiria is clearly behind on points. He was unable to find his range against the very technical Sittichai. Between the rounds, his corner would have told him that he needed to turn up the heat and go for his punches.
Wasting no time, at the start of the second round Davit comes out firing, catching Sittichai with a nice left hook and right straight punch. Sittichai is able to weather the storm and stop the assault by engaging in the clinch.
The Beginning of the End
After Davit gets away with a nice flurry at the start of the second round, Sittichai begins to find his rhythm and completely dominate his Kickboxing opponent. Given his clinching and kneeing abilities, he is able to exploit these techniques to take full advantage of his opponents fighting style.
While some Glory referees don’t allow fighters to take advantage of the 5 second active clinch allowed in Glory, this referee allows Sittichai to go to work against his opponent.
This sequence showcases the beautiful step forward knees that Sittichai utilizes throughout the fight. He scores the knees and then clinches his opponent, following it up with more knees. This is where he starts to pull away and completely dominate his Kickboxing opponent.
Once Sittichai sees how effective his knees are, he begins to completely dominate his opponent with left body kicks, left knees, and crisp punching. Davit Kiria is visibly starting to look tired from all of the punishment from the body.
This eventually leads to this beautiful left straight punch, left knee combination that puts away Davit Kiria for the count. A great fight finishing move from a future superstar.
In his Glory debut, Sittichai cemented himself as one of the top fighters in the world of striking. Regardless of the rule set, Sittichai is able to adapt and utilize superior timing, techniques and speed, to beat his Kickboxing opponents.
Unlike some Thai fighters who fail in Kickboxing because of poor boxing, this Southpaw fighter possess a skill set that is complete. He has the perfect combination of power and skill on offense, while having great defensive skills. His head movement and footwork are some of the best you will see utilize in the ring.
Sittichai Sitsongpeenong is the next big Superstar in Muay Thai. Make sure you pay attention to this young fighter as he continues to make a name for himself around the world.
(After defeating Davit Kiria, Sittichai went on to face Josh Jauncey from Canada in the next round. Watch the full fight below)