This fight between Petchartchai Chaorai-Oi (red) vs Jemsak Sakburiram (blue) at 116lbs was the best fights of 2013. It was an exciting back and forth fight that featured the very skilled Jemsak vs. the aggressive Petchartchai.

Both fighters showed grit and determination as they each over came adversity at some points throughout the fight. Before you read the breakdown below, make sure you watch the full fight first. Trust me, this is one of those fights you have to see with your own eyes.

In Muay Thai there is a constant battle between skill and aggression. Fighters that can find the balance between the two usually become a champion. This fight showcases this classic matchup of skill vs aggression.

The Breakdown – A Battle of Heart

Part 1: A Strong Start

The first round starts off with both fighters making their intents very clear. Jemsak was going to use his skill to try and win the fight on points, while Petchartchai (red) was going to push forward with his aggression and power. Throughout the first round Jemsak (blue) used every effective teeps to keep his opponent at bay throughout.

Fully outstretching he legs, he was able to control the distance against his aggressive opponent. In order to counter his opponents defensive abilities, Petchartchai (red) turned up the heat. He pushed forward with strong punches that had bad intentions written all over them.

For most of the first round it looked like Jemsak would have his way in this fight, until things changed when this happened….

As Jemsak (blue) gets backed up into the corner, his opponent is able to capitalize and make him pay for not moving out. Jemsak makes the cardinal mistake of trying to exchange punches against a puncher, leaving his defense open against his opponent

Luckily for Jemsak, the round only last a few more seconds after the ref continued the action. If this would have happened earlier in the round, this fight would have been over. Saved by the bell…

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Part 2: Continued Momentum and Pressure

During the second round, it was quite obvious that Petchartchai (red) still had a lot of confidence from his first knockdown, as he stalked forward with confidence. During this round he relentlessly pursued Jemsak with strong punches and knees, eventually catching him with this nice combination below.

Jemsak took a huge left hook to the body, that caught him in the liver. The knees that followed also landed on the same spot, causing him to drop to the ground. Fortunately for Jemsake, the ref was able to step in before he took a lot of damage to his face and give him an 8 count.

At this point in the fight, it looked like Petchartchai (red) was assured the win, as his opponent had already been dropped twice for the count. Petchartchai was far ahead his opponent in the judges score card and didn’t have to do much if he wanted to win the fight.

Part 3: The Changing Tide

Following the second knockdown of the fight, Jemsak had a decision to make. He was either going to continue taking a beating from his aggressive opponent and get knocked out, or switch his game plan around and become the aggressor in the fight.

At the end of the 2nd round, Jemsak’s corner would have told him he needed to push forward with elbows, countering his opponent strong punches. A strategy which Jemsak would use very effectively, changing the momentum of the fight.

The third round of the fight would showcase an amazing display of elbows. Jemsak (blue) was timing his elbows perfectly as his opponent was about to punch, ensuring that they landed throughout the round.

This round saw Jemsak (blue) become the aggressor, cutting up his opponent and rocking him along the way. His elbows were having an effect on  Petchartchai, especially when he started to receive punishment from his opponent

After getting dropped twice in the first two rounds, this resurgence from Jemsak would put him back in contention for the fight.

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In this sequence, Jemsak has his opponent rocked with some sharp elbows and his looking to put away the fight with punches. Unfortunately for Jemsak, the round would come to an end, give his opponent a chance to regroup.

Part 4: Reverting Back to Old Habits

In the fourth round Jemsak turned off his aggression and began reverting back to his defensive style of fighting again, using teeps and kicks to keep his aggressive opponent at bay. This would have worked if he was able to avoid his opponent’s strong punches, but it ended up being a mistake.

Instead of continuing the forward pressure that he did in the previous round, he gave his opponent the chance to become the aggressor again.

This would set the tone for the very impressive fight ending knockout. Using a beautiful right body punch, left hook combination, Petchartchai was able to put an end to this exciting bout.

Lessons Learned

Jemsak showcased how effective elbows can be when fighting an aggressive fighter who likes to punch. Using well placed elbows, you will make a puncher think twice about trying to unload a big shot against you.

This fight showcased the many highs and lows that happens in a Muay Thai fight. Rarely do you see fighters cruise to victory without facing some adversity. When you fight in the ring, things won’t always go as planned and you have to be willing to make adjustments throughout the fight.

Fighting is like a dance, throughout the fight you have to constantly make adjustments to what your opponent is giving you. The person who is more successful at adapting in the fight, will usually win.

Both of these fighters showcased a lot of heart, which earned them both respect by fans of the sport. When it comes to exciting back and forth fights, it doesn’t get much better than this.