World Lethwei Championship returned with an empathic evening of world-class lethwei action last week with WLC: LETHWEI SHOWCASE. In the main event, Light Welterweight World Lethwei Champion Antonio Faria had to fight resiliently after a faceplant knockdown in the first-round courtesy of challenger Francisco Vinuelas. He eventually retained his title via TKO with impressive second and third round action, breaking down Vineulas with elbows and knees.
In the co-main event, Spanish Middleweight Nico Mendes announced his arrival on the global stage with a devastating knee knockout of his opponent in the first round, throwing his hat into the gauntlet of challengers staring down Middleweight World Lethwei Champion Naimjon Tuhtaboyev.
Here are some matchmaking ideas for the winners moving forward.
Antonio Faria VS Saw Min Min (For the Light Welterweight World Lethwei Championship)
There is no lack of challengers for Faria’s Light Welterweight World Lethwei Championship, but Saw Min Min is probably the most deserving. He is coming off a 2-fight winning streak in 2019, and is also the 2017 ONE Myanmar Flyweight Tournament Champion in ONE Championship. Saw Min Min will provide an intriguing test for Faria with his effective use of range and dangerous headbutts in close range. This could be one of the best championship lethwei fights in 2021.
Nico Mendes VS Naimjon Tuhtaboyev (C)/ Too Too/ Kristof Kirsch (Middleweight World Lethwei Championship tournament)
With the logjam at Middleweight, it may make sense to just throw the four leading contenders into a tournament. Nico Mendes earned this opportunity with the knockout last week, as did Kristof Kirsch a month earlier. Champion Naimjon Tuhtaboyev and former champion Too Too had a back-and-forth battle in January and with a razor-thin close decision, this tournament may help to establish hierarchy in the division.
Leehaney Henrique VS Toby Bindon
Brazil’s Henrique put on a technical masterclass in his match last Friday against Russia’s Vladimir Shulyak, picking apart his opponent over the course of five rounds. A tantalising next bout should come in a contest against England’s Toby Bindon, a WBO Muay Thai champion and new signee who has been clamouring for his lethwei debut. The one thing lacking from Henrique’s performance was the use of headbutts, and Bindon will be sure to challenge him in that striking department.
Miriam Sabot vs Veronika
Miriam Sabot is still undefeated in lethwei, first drawing with Myanmar’s top female lethwei star, Veronika, before a knockout victory over Thailand’s Petchnaree last Friday. A #1 contender rematch with Veronika to set up a title challenge against the queen of lethwei, Souris Manfredi, may be in order.
WLC: LETHWEI SHOWCASE replays are available on UFC Fight Pass, Canal+ and other broadcast partners across 100 countries. Please check your local listings.
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