When we talk about the world of Muay Thai, few events can stir excitement quite like the imminent battle set to transpire at ONE Fight Night 17. The focus, however, will be intensely fixated on the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok on December 8, where Felipe “Demolition Man” Lobo will square off against Saemapetch Fairtex in a much-anticipated rematch.
The combat sports community still vividly remembers their initial bout at ONE Fight Night 9. It was not just a match—it was a spectacle. Lobo, against all odds, managed to clinch what many consider the pinnacle of his career by laying out a shocking third-round knockout against the then No. 1 ranked bantamweight contender, Saemapetch.
From the opening bell, it was clear that neither fighter would give an inch. Lobo showcased his strategic mastery by unfurling powerful push kicks that momentarily unbalanced Saemapetch. The bout, however, was far from one-sided. Saemapetch, showcasing his pedigree, swiftly retaliated, pinning Lobo repeatedly with devastating leg kicks. The Thai warrior’s perfectly timed check-left hook, which had Lobo tasting the canvas, became one of the most talked-about moments of the bout.
However, Muay Thai is as much about spirit as it is about technique. Lobo’s tenacity came to the fore in the third round. Understanding the need to shift the momentum, he unleashed a ferocious combination, sending Saemapetch into a state of unconsciousness. Reflecting on the bout, Lobo stated, “It was a very hard fight. In the third round, I just changed my mind…I went for the KO.” This audacious approach not only granted him victory but also a coveted $50,000 performance bonus and propelled him within reach of the top spot in the ONE bantamweight Muay Thai rankings.
Lobo’s journey in the ONE Championship has been both impressive and instructive. With a 3-1 record, he’s no stranger to the spotlight. His mettle was tested when he faced former ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Hama for the title in March 2022. Though he faced a setback, Lobo’s spirit remains unbroken, underlining his relentless pursuit of another World Title opportunity.
Contrastingly, Saemapetch Fairtex brings a unique legacy to the table. As the #3 contender, he has been a luminary in the ONE bantamweight Muay Thai division since its inception in 2018. His 8-4 record, which includes victories over four Muay Thai World Champions, is a testament to his exceptional skills and strategic acumen. Saemapetch’s recent victory, a resounding first-round knockout against Kaonar Sor Jor Thongprajin at ONE Friday Fights 30, illustrates that he’s regained his formidable momentum.
While both Lobo and Saemapetch had their brushes with the former division monarch, Nong-O, their current aspirations converge towards a new challenge: Jonathan “The General” Haggerty. Haggerty, the new face of the division, is preparing for a dual-sport conquest against Fabricio Andrade at ONE Fight Night 16. Once that bout concludes, he will be on the lookout for his maiden challenger in the Muay Thai realm.
The significance of the December 8 matchup is monumental. As Lobo and Saemapetch step into the revered ring of the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, they won’t be merely fighting for personal glory but also for a shot at the bantamweight title. For Lobo, it’s an opportunity to affirm that his previous victory was a manifestation of skill, not luck. For Saemapetch, the bout is a shot at redemption and to prove that he remains an indomitable force in the division.
While technical prowess will be on full display, what will truly define this bout is the heart, determination, and strategic evolution each fighter brings to the table. The length and breadth of their careers, their past encounters, victories, and defeats will all culminate into this singular moment of high-octane action.