Three Cambodian fighters get the chance to show off their powers in mixed martial arts when they enter the cage at Full Metal Dojo 4 in Bangkok on Saturday.
The MMA event will the have the home fans in a frenzy when the headline fight between veteran Thai fighter Jomhod Kiatadisak and Cambodian kickboxing champion Vorn Viva in the 77.7kg category gets under way.
Chan Heng and Thai Rithy, who are training at the A Fighter gym in Phnom Penh alongside Viva for the MMA event in Thailand, will also be seeking wins for the Kingdom.
Chan Heng will face home fighter Detchadin Srosirisuphathin at bantamweight level, while his young teammate Thai Rithy will face Swedish featherweight Fabian Pettersson.
Although vastly experienced in their disciplines, Viva and Jomhod are to make their debuts in the MMA cage, and although Viva has only been training in the sport for a relatively short time, club coach Chan Reach said he is a natural fighter and a fast learner.
“He has been training in MMA for a while now, but he has not been doing so in the past few weeks due to his busy schedule. However, I feel he is prepared for this fight because he is a well-trained fighter who is in great shape,” Reach said.
Viva has a lot of experience in kickboxing, especially Kun Khmer, and has beaten Thai boxers consecutively in previous fights at home.
Experienced home favourite Jomhod, 44, nicknamed the “King of the Ring”, is the holder of many world titles in Muay Thai at different weights, but this is also his first foray into MMA. He has an impressive record in Muay Thai, with 276 wins, 24 losses and three no contests, with 80 of his wins coming by knockout.
Heng, 36, holds an MMA record of 12 wins and two losses. “He is one of my most experienced fighters and one of my best students – he is a good grappler who usually wins by the third round. He fought on Bayon TV on Saturday as well, so he is always active,” Reach said.
His opponent Detchadin is a relative newcomer to the sport with an MMA record of two wins and one loss.
Thai Rithy, 21, another A Fighter martial artist, will be expected to show his power when he faces debutant Pettersson, 25 and fighting out of the Legacy Gym in Thailand, in a featherweight clash.
Reach said: “I expect all of my students to do well. I am bringing three top Khmer fighters to fight in Thailand to represent Cambodia.
“I feel confident in my students but anything can happen. We cannot underestimate our opponents.
“We must respect each other as sportsmen and fight hard to win for our country, and also to create friendship between Cambodians and Thais through combat sport.”