The semifinals of the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix are set to take place on August 26, which will be bannered by reigning flyweight Muay Thai king Rodtang Jitmuangnon.
Many fans are already predicting Rodtang to take the whole thing and be the unquestioned king of the flyweight Muay Thai division, a sport that has steadily been growing its appeal among ONE Championship followers because of the striking-only aspect of it.
Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao is excited to watch it all play out and shared his predictions for the tournament.
"I'll readily say Rodtang or [Jonathan] Haggerty, but again, I can be totally wrong. To be honest and fair, I have not seen the others in actual war, so I really can't say," he noted in a recent interview.
While Rodtang already has his spot in the tournament, his former foe in Jonathan Haggerty will be waiting in the wings as he takes on Amir Naseri in an alternate bout of the Grand Prix.
There are two alternate bouts set for the tournament with Haggerty and Naseri happening at ONE on Prime Video 1, the same event as the semifinals, and the other featuring Panpayak Jitmuangnon and Sherzod Kabutov at ONE 160 happening the day before.
Rodtang and Haggerty have faced each other in the past, with the former claiming two victories over the Englishman–the first in August 2019 to dethrone him and again in January 2020 for his second title defense.
Haggerty was originally supposed to fight Walter Goncalves in the quarterfinals, but he pulled out due to health reasons and must now earn his way back in.
Goncalves went on to advance to the semifinals after defeating Italy's Josue Cruz by first-round knockout and will now go up against Superlek Kiatmoo9 at ONE on Prime Video 1.
Should Haggerty win his fight against Naseri, his next matchup could be against the winner between Panpayak and Kabutov to determine who gets priority in terms of replacing a fighter in the finals of the tournament.
ONE Championship instituting its own Grand Orix for Muay Thai has been deemed a success in the eyes of most combat sports fans because it gives the best practitioners a chance to shine on the big stage while also guaranteeing them a title shot if they win it all.
"It's the Grand Prix, so it means the cream of the crop, and when we say this, it only means sensational. Muay Thai displays the complete art of striking and this fact alone makes the GP Tournament extra appealing," said Sangiao.
Rodtang and Haggerty are both set to appear against their respective opponents on ONE on Prime Video 1 on August 26 at 8:00 PM ET.