Thai Rithy and Chan Heng scored two rare wins on foreign soil for Cambodian MMA fighters when they defeated opponents from Sweden and Thailand respectively at Full Metal Dojo 4 in Bangkok.
Thailand’s biggest MMA promotion has featured numerous Cambodian fighters since its inception last year but Saturday night was the first time they had tasted anything other than defeat with Rithy getting the evening off to a good start by submitting Fabian Petterson in just over 90 seconds.
While Cambodian fighters are known for their stand-up game and typically come from Kun Khmer backgrounds, Rithy demonstrated that he has evolved into a truly versatile mixed martial artist by showcasing some excellent takedown defence and submission skills.
The Swedish fighter, who was making his professional debut, found himself on the receiving end of an early onslaught of punches from Rithy, and so he elected to shoot for a takedown but it was the Cambodian who wound up in top position.
From there, Rithy was ruthless and unleashed a savage onslaught of ground and pound which caused Petterson to give up his back allowing the Cambodian fighter to sink in a rear naked choke for a win which takes his listed record to 4-0, although he has had many more fights than that.
Heng was made to work harder for his decision win over tough Thai fighter Detchadin Srosirisuphathin who mounted a stirring second round comeback after being dominated for the first five minutes by the Cambodian bantamweight.
With superior height and reach, Heng controlled the opening round and was able to effortlessly land kicks, knees and elbows, but a lack of urgency could have cost him as Detchadin spent the majority of the second stanza in top position, scoring with ground and pound.
The third round was comparatively uneventful and opinion at cageside was divided as to which man would have his hand raised at the end; however, all three judges voted in favour of ONE FC veteran Heng, whose listed record improves to 8-2.
The only disappointment for the Cambodian contingent, who were all representing Phnom Penh’s A-Fighter team, is that kickboxing world champion and Kun Khmer veteran Vorn Viva dropped a unanimous decision to Thailand’s Jomhod Kiatadisak in the main event.
Speaking afterwards, A-Fighter coach Chan Reach said that he was delighted to see his team return to Cambodia with two wins out of three, “We just want to show that Cambodian fighters can perform on the international stage, and tonight my boys did just that with Thai Rithy and Chan Heng both showing how much they have improved, and Vorn Viva putting in a good display despite taking an MMA fight at late notice and with very little time to train.”
Full Metal Dojo promoter Jon Nutt also sang the praises of Reach’s three fighters and promised there would be more opportunities for them in the future,
“At Full Metal Dojo we are into patriotic pride, and the fans loves seeing the Thailand versus Cambodia matchups, but win or lose the A-Fighter guys always put on a great show and I’m sure we will be seeing some of them again at FMD 5.”