Thanh Le, 35, of the United States and Vietnam is the new ONE Featherweight World Champion. The Vietnamese-American mixed martial artist is the sixth MMA fighter to hold the ONE Championship belt.
Le trains at Fifty/50 Martial Arts Academy in Falls Church, Virginia, USA and Midcity MMA in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. He challenged then ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen, 31, of Australia and Vietnam at “ONE: Inside the Matrix” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore on October 30, 2020.
Nguyen is 173cm tall and is training out of Sanford MMA in Florida, USA. Le is 4cm taller.
“ONE: Inside the Matrix” featured six MMA matches, four of which are title bouts. It was the first sporting event in Singapore that allows for a limited live audience since it moved into the second phase of its reopening amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The title bout between Nguyen and Le was the fourth bout of the evening and was the Vietnamese-Australian defending champion’s fourth title defense as the ONE Featherweight World Champion. Yuji Shimada served as the referee.
Le employed a smart game plan, circling Nguyen with constant movement while unloading thudding high kicks and thunderous left hooks. The Vietnamese-Australian defending champion stalked his Vietnamese-American challenger patiently, attempting to cut off the circle to land his vaunted overhand right.
In the third round, Nguyen turned up the pressure at the same time exposing himself to Le’s fast and furious strikes. Not long after, the challenger connected on a short hook on the inside that staggered the defending champion, sending him reeling towards the fence.
A series of left and right hand bombs ended the bout abruptly. Shimada put a stop to the title bout after 2 minutes and 19 seconds in the third round when Le knocked out Nguyen.
Winning at “ONE: Inside the Matrix” improved the professional MMA record of Le to 12 wins and 2 losses. On the other hand, Nguyen now has 13 wins and 4 losses.
A total of 12 countries were represented at “ONE: Inside the Matrix” namely Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Italy, Moldova, Myanmar, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam. Nguyen and Le were the two representatives of Vietnam.
Nguyen was one of the two representatives of Australia. Le solely represented the U.S.
Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA on August 28, 1985 to a Vietnamese father and an American mother, Le was 5 years old when he and his family moved to New Orleans. He made his professional MMA debut in 2013.
A former Legacy Fighting Allliance Featherweight Champion, Le joined ONE Championship in 2019. In one year, he defeated two opponents in the Singapore-based martial arts promotion namely Yusup “Maestro” Saadulaev, 34, of Russia and Kotetsu “No Face” Boku (朴光哲), 42, of Japan.
“ONE: Inside the Matrix” marked Le’s fourth ONE Championship fight. On January 10, 2020, the Vietnamese-American MMA fighter knocked out Ryogo Takahashi, 31, of Japan.