At a packed Thuwunna Indoor Stadium for ONE: STATE OF WARRIORS in Yangon, Myanmar, two of Myanmar’s elite lethwei champions took to the ONE Championship cage in a bid to launch their budding MMA careers.
Fighting in the night’s second Myanmar Featherweight Tournament Semi Final, Ye Yint Aung (1-1) and Saw Yan Paing competed for the right to face Phoe Thaw, who had just minutes earlier earned a place in the tournament final via first-round TKO.
After two gruelling rounds of action, it was Saw Yan Paing who emerged the victor by unanimous decision, booking a spot in the one-night tournament’s final bout later on the card. Tournament bouts are two rounds only.
With both combatants holding championship titles in Myanmar’s striking art of lethwei, the bout was expected to remain standing. However, each fighter apparently held confidence in having the better ground game, with much of the two-round affair contested on the mat.
The first round saw each combatant exchanging dominant positions throughout the first five minutes, with Ye Yint Aung staying dangerous via guillotine submissions and Saw Yan Paing scoring with heavy ground and pound.
However, in the second stanza, both fighters perhaps sensed the fight could go either way if it were to go to decision, prompting a greater sense of urgency. They started the round standing and trading in the centre of the cage, but soon wound up in the clinch.
With the fighters seemingly evenly matched in the standup and ground games, much of the same back-and-forth action ensued. They even both spent time in full mount, but to no avail.
Near the end of the bout, however, Ye Yint Aung managed to secure a standing guillotine, eventually attempting to pull guard and complete the submission. But Saw Yan Paing was not going to go out without a fight, slamming Ye Yint Aung to the ground as the bell rang to signal the end.
In the end, it was probably Saw Yan Paing’s ground strikes in the first round that earned the judges’ nod, as he advanced into the tournament finals with a successful ONE Championship debut.