In Muay Thai there is a constant battle between skill vs power. Fighters that can strike the perfect balance of skill and power can rise to the top of the ranks. This fight between Superlek and Pornsanae demonstrates a classic example of a technical fighter vs an aggressive fighter who goes out with guns blazing. While Sitmonchai’s style has been effective throughout his career, there are certain downsides to being an aggressive fighter.
In Thailand, most fighters prefer to use technique over power. It is considered more glorious to win a close fight on points over winning with a KO. Fighters who fight aggressively often suffer from more injuries and generally have shorter careers because of all the damage they sustain. While it might be a great style to watch, having an aggressive style takes a lot of heart and comes with some inherent risks.
Before I break down the fight between Superlek Kiatmoo9 vs Pornsanae Sitmonchai, it is important that you watch the fight video first to avoid spoiling the ending.
Superlek vs Pornsanae: (Video Credit: Muay Ties)
The Breakdown – The Battle between Skill vs Power
Part 1: Setting the Pace
Right at the start of the fight you notice that Pornsanae doesn’t waste a second before he lets Superlek know how the fight is going to be. While most Thai’s prefer a slow first round, Pornsanae knows he needs to turn this fight into a war if he wants to win.
You can see this in the following GIF as Sitmonchai stalks forward and continually uses his footwork to box Superlek into a corner at the start of the fight.
As Pornsanae stalks forward his opponent knows exactly what he wants to do. While Pornsanae has many tools in his arsenal, he certainly does have a few go-to moves he uses in every single fight. The first of these signature combos is the left hook, right low kick, which is one of the first combinations he uses against Superlek.
Knowing exactly what Pornsanae is looking to do in the fight, Superlek has come prepared. Firstly, his guard is extremely tight. Notice how tight his chin is tucked in and his hands are constantly up. Secondly, Superlek has his lead leg ready to deal with the leg kicks throughout the fight. His jab is used defensively to keep Pornsanae at bay.
Part 2: Showing No Fear
Whenever you deal with someone who is continuously coming forward and hunting for the KO, you have to make them respect you. If you simply sit back and allow them to dictate the entire pace of the fight with unanswered attacks, they will gain confidence.
While Superlek remains defensive in the first round, he also throws a few dangerous techniques to ensure that Pornsanae respects his weapons. This is demonstrated with an early head kick in the round that was blocked and an aggressive right elbow that he tries to land through the guard.
While it is important to remain vigilant in your defense when facing an aggressive opponent, it is also important for you to respond with attacks of your own. You cannot let someone get away with relentless attacks without a response.
Being Mentally Strong
If you are faced with a situation where your opponent is continually hunting for the KO, it is important for you to show him that you don’t fear him. Whether or not you are actually afraid does not matter, the appearance of confidence will take away from your opponent’s momentum.
Superlek demonstrates this in the fight when he makes a challenge to Pornsanae right after he receives a low kick. Obviously, the leg kicks do hurt, but it was important for Superlek to show that he was not fazed by the attack.
Part 3: Waiting for the Opening
As the first round nears the end, Sitmonchai continues to stalk Superlek with leg kicks and power punches. Sitmonchai knows that if the fight goes the distance, he will probably lose on points. By weakening his opponent’s legs, he can get his opponent thinking about low kicks, giving him openings to go for his signature KO punches or head kicks.
Superlek’s strategy throughout the fight has been to keep a tight guard, be patient and look for openings. He has not been throwing body kicks like he usually does because he doesn’t want to be caught out of position. When fighting someone like Pornsanae, any mistake can be a costly one.
Fortunately for Superlek, his patience was rewarded when he throws an extremely explosive head kick, putting an end to the vicious onslaught. Unfortunately for Pornsanae, a devastating KO (read our article about the lasting effects of concussions in a cautionary tale of Pornsanae).
Styles Make Fights
As we’ve seen in this fight breakdown, there are pros and cons to being and aggressive fighter. While this fight ended in a KO win for Superlek, it could have easily gone the other way. In Muay Thai there is very little margin for error, one mistake is all it takes to lose a fight.
If you find yourself faced with a situation where you are dealing with someone who continuously stalks you, Superlek provides a good template on how you can deal with power and aggression. That being said, it is important to remember that Superlek is one of the best fighters in Thailand and has the experience to deal with someone like Pornsanae. When you have enough experience, you won’t be intimidated when someone is trying to put you on the canvas.