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Saenchai: The Best Fighter In Combat Sports Right Now

We always hear about "pound for pound" discussions and the like, but rarely are fighters across different combat sports stacked up and compared. This post is all about a fighter that many combat sports fans probably don't even know. The ones that do, however, can appreciate just how amazing of a fighter he is.

I'm talking about Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym, or just Saenchai, a true anomaly to Muay Thai and combat sports in general. This 32 year old Thai is who I consider the best fighter in combat sports right now and probably the best Muay Thai fighter of the past 20 years. At 32 years old, he's beating the best Thais in the sport, at the same time beating the best international fighters in the sport up to three weight classes above his normal fighting weight in Thailand. He even ventured down all the way to 127.5lbs/57.8kg and defeated Penek Sitnumnoi, the Sports Authority of Thailand Fighter of the Year, and did it in dominant fashion. And oh yeah, usually every time he fights in Thailand he has to give up weight to his opponent. Against Penek he had to weigh in at 127.5lbs/57.8kg while Penek had to make 129lbs/58.5. Oh yeah, and just six days later he was in France and beat the much larger Mehdi Zatout at 143lbs/65kg. In his upcoming fight against the current Lumpinee Stadium lightweight champion Singdam Kiatmuu9, he'll have to weigh in at 130/59kg while Singdam gets to weigh in at 133/60.3kg. 

It's not just the wins on his record either, it's how he wins also. Saenchai has been as dominant as he's ever been lately, as showcased in his wins over Sagetdao Phetphayathai, who he's struggled with in the past and over Penek Sitnumnoi. That's not even mentioning how much more dominant he is against much larger foreign opponents, who he toys with, throwing cartwheel kicks and shuffling in the ring. Saenchai has never lost to a non Thai before, aside from a terrible decision against Fabio Pinca, one of the best international Muay Thai fighters in the world that's much larger and gave Giorgio Petrosyan quite a fight in May. That lone "loss" is after years of defeating some of the best foreign fighters that are much larger than him, including Pinca back in 2007 and Liam Harrison twice.

Yes, Saenchai does have some losses on his record, approximately 44 according to Wikipedia. Muay Thai is not the same as any other combat sport though. In Thailand, you consistently fight the best of the best on a monthly basis. Saenchai has been doing this since the late 90s, racking up around 300 professional fights, and he probably has even more than that. You don't see this in MMA or boxing, where the best fighters fight a couple times a year at most.

One might say that Floyd Mayweather is undefeated, but really, in boxing you get to pick and choose your opponents, and he has nowhere near the amounts of fights that Saenchai has. Saenchai has fought the best more times than Floyd Mayweather has even fought. Giorgio Petrosyans' record is amazing, yes, but it's come at pretty much one weight class and not in as long of a time span, just like MMA's best. GSP won't move up to fight Anderson Silva, Silva won't move down to fight GSP and Silva won't move up to fight Jon Jones. 

Saenchai's accolades aren't just at his current fighting weight range of 127.5/58.7kg-147lbs/67kg. He's been a Lumpinee Stadium champion at 115lbs/52kg and 118lbs/53.5kg. We're talking late 1990s here, where Saenchai won the Sports Authority of Thailand Fighter of the Year Award in 1999. Nine years later, in 2008, he won it again, and in 2012 at 32 years of age, he's still going on as strong as ever. Most Thai fighters at 32 years old are retired or getting beat up just to collect money, after in a lot of cases, careers that start around 8-12 years old and end with around 300-400 professional fights. It's truly an anomaly how Saenchai is still the best at his current age.

Saenchai is going to continue doing what he does, as the next three scheduled fights he has are absolutely no walk in the park. On September 7, as aforementioned he's fighting Singdamn Kiatmuu9 for the Lumpinee Stadium lightweight title. On November 10 he fights Pakon Sakyothin and on November 22 he fights Damien Alamos, the current Lumpinee Stadium champion at 140lbs/63.5kg. That's not even mentioning that he'll probably take some fights in between and clown some foreigners, as he seems to be fighting every month now, sometimes more than once.


UPDATE: Opponent Change for Ky Hollenbeck This Saturday


Chalk this one up in the unfortunate category of bout changes that happen very often in the land of muay thai, as Ky Hollenbeck's eagerly-awaited bout with Ekpracha Meenayotin "The Hitman" has apparently fallen through. Hollenbeck, who was last seen at the Glory World Series event, was prepared to take on the very tough Thai in a bout that enthusiasts have been chomping at the bit over, but The Hitman has pulled out of the fight just days before.

So it looks like Pushkick Promotions' World Stand Off: Thailand vs. Americas event will have a new headliner in Ky Hollenbeck vs. Cooper Gibson. Cooper Gibson is a serviceable opponent, but fans have been awaiting the Hollenbeck showdown with The Hitman for a while now.

UPDATE: Push Kick Promotions has confirmed that there will be a late fill-in for Ekpracha, who had to pull out of the fight, but it will not be Cooper Gibson. According to Muay Thai Authority, Malaipet Sasiprapa will be stepping in instead, creating a much more compelling match up. There was some drama earlier in the day when on Facebook, Cooper Gibson's coach decided to trash talk, proclaiming that any top 100 MMA fight could defeat any top 10 Thai fighter, which, well, is a ridiculous statement.


Thai Fight On Friday Features Buakaw, Saiyok, Sudsakorn, More

Thai Fight returns on this Friday, August 17 in Leicester, England with a card featuring some of the best international Muay Thai fighters.

Atop the card is Buakaw, who we previously highlighted, taking on Abdoul Toure of France. Not much else to say aside from that there's no way Buakaw loses. Check out the short write up about this fight here.

After a number of opponents being shuffled, Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee fights Issam Reghi at 72kg. Reghi is a good fighter and has fought as high as 80kg at the Tatneft Cup and recently had a draw with Yury Bessmertny, who beat Sudsakorn last year. Saiyok Pumphanmuang fights Craig Jose at 70kg, who was originally supposed to fight Buakaw. Jose is an English fighter who's had some success recently with a win over Jamal Wahib last month. Like Buakaw, expect the Thais to win although these two fights are closer than Buakaw's fight.

In some more Thailand vs. the world action, Armin Matli takes on Abdallah Mabel of France at 70kg. Mabel is a veteran and he's fought pretty much everyone there is to fight. Matli is no stranger to fighting Frenchmen as he's beaten Charles Francois twice, albeit at lower weights so he'll be the smaller man here. Singmanee Kaewsamrit has been getting a few international opportunities lately and it continues as he fights Houcine Bennoui of France at 67kg. 2011 was going great for Bennoui until he was knocked out by Dongsu Kim at Thai Fight last year in September and then lost again near the end of the year. Bennoui took some time off from the ring before fighting for the first time in 2012 in June where he stopped Manuel Umberti.

The next three match-ups are all England vs. France fights, with some of England's best fighters facing some French up and comers. Liam Harrison, one of the best English fighters, takes on Dylan Salvador, an up and coming fighter from Team Nasser K at 67kg who will have quite a height advantage. Also at 67kg Michael Dicks fights Crice Boussoukou, another very tall, lanky fighter who recently fought and lost to Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong. At 70kg, Jordan Watson fights Hamed Hassan.

1. Buakaw Por. Pramuk (THAI) VS Abdoul Toure (France) 70 kg.

2. Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee (THAI) VS Issam Reghi (France) 72 kg.

3. Saiyok Pumphanmuang (THAI) VS Craig Jose (England) 70 kg.

4. Armin Matli (THAI) VS Abdallah Mabel (France) 70 kg.

5. Singmanee Kaewsamrit (THAI) VS Houcine Bennoui (France) 67 kg.

6. Jordan Watson (ENGLAND) VS Hamed Hassan (France) 70 kg.

7. Liam.Harrison (ENGLAND) VS Dylan Salvador (France) 67kg.

8. Michael Dicks (ENGLAND) VS Crice Boussoukou (France) 67 kg.

Note: Don't be surprised if some of these fights get changed/have been changed. This normally happens with Thai Fight events.


Buakaw Returns On Friday In England At Thai Fight

After a series of legal battles and question marks surrounding his career, Buakaw is returning to the ring on Friday.

Thai Fight will be holding an event this Friday, August 17 in Leicester, England and atop the card is Buakaw. He'll be facing Abdoul Toure from France. He was originally supposed to fight Craig Jose, but as per usual with Thai Fight cards, things get shuffled around.

Buakaw's last fight was on April 17 in Thailand, where he stopped Rustem Zaripov in the second round at Thai Fight. Buakaw at the time was not even allowed to fight but the fight went through anyway and Buakaw seemingly fought with a flare of motivation that we hadn't seen from him in quite some time. Toure is better than Zaripov but let's face it, this is pretty much another guaranteed win for Buakaw.

It's quite surprising that outside of the UK Muay Thai community that there really isn't any buzz for this event at all, unlike past Thai Fight events. The card features a who's who of international Muay Thai and of course, has Buakaw as the main star. This fight is a pretty big deal, acknowledging the circumstances that Buakaw has been subject to for most of this year and being that he's returning after the whole legal mess that dragged on for months.

Be on the lookout for the full fight card here on LiverKick shortly.


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