It’s a new year, it’s a new dawn….of fighters out there. Be it Muay Thai or MMA Asia’s got lots of great fighters and some of them are looking to make or increase their mark on a global scale in 2017. Here are 7 of those fighters that you should keep an eye on in 2017.
The ONE Atomweight Champion of the World thrones upon this list. Angela Lee won the ONE title in a tough bout with only 19 years of age and is set to defend her title again in March of 2017. She also vowed to be a fighting champion which means we should see even more of here all throughout 2017. Her fights are usually quite spectacular and lots of fun to watch so all fans of ‘Unstoppable’ Angela Lee are looking forward to a very exciting year.
DooHo Choi, “The Korean Superboy”, was part of the, in my eyes, best and most exciting MMA fight of 2016 when he lost a decision fight to Cub Swanson. Even though he suffered his first professional loss, it was kind of a coming out for him and the world noticed this up and coming Korean superstar who will, if he stays healthy, quite likely continue to impress on the big stage the UFC presents him with.
Dong Hyun Kim
“Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim is the ‘old’ guard of Korean MMA fighters who’s out there to prove that, even once you’re over 30, you can still go hard and rock your opponent. His last fight at UFC 206 wasn’t all that exciting but that is probably even more motivation for him to come back guns blazing and showing the world how he got his moniker. Don’t count him out just yet.
The ‘Saenchai kick’ is certainly something almost every Muay Thai fighter has tried (and failed) at least once and Saenchai has been on our list of ‘best muay thai fighters’ for quite a while now and he still doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. By now he’s probably the Thai Muay Thai fighter with the most international exposure while also competing in international kickboxing promotions and teasing a move towards MMA. He clearly isn’t a ‘newcomer’ but most certainly a fighter to watch in 2017 and probably until the day he retires.
Eduard Folayang is probably the MMA champ you haven’t heard of unless you follow Martial Arts (yes, it is art, Ms. Streep) rather closely. He’s also not a young gun anymore but responsible for quite an upset win to close out 2016 and take home the ONE Championship belt. His upset win wasn’t a fluke though since he’s been around for a while and competed on the top level before but this unexpected championship victory should elevate and motivate him to new heights this upcoming year.
Loma Lookboonmee is a name that most people that are into Muay Thai and have their eye on Thailand know. She beats everyone, all the time. However fighting fans outside of Thailand haven’t really heard of her and I expect that to change rather sooner than later. It usually takes a while until fighters make their mark abroad but with her being the dominant force that she is for quite a while now it shouldn’t be too far off in the future that the world will be put on notice.
Yodsanklai Fairtex another ‘controversial’ entry to this list if you’re a Muay Thai fan I guess. You’ll probably say ‘everybody knows him’ and that’s true if you follow Muay Thai closely. He’s also something like a veteran by now but after having missed most of last year due to an injury I expect him to come back in 2017 with a fury. And if the guy that John Wayne Parr called in our interview the guy he was most afraid to fight, comes back with a fury and ready to prove himself again, you can be damn sure that’s something you want to watch.
As with all lists I’m pretty sure there are lots of disagreements so tell me, who would you have put on that list?
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