Let’s take a trip back to 2015 when Muay Thai met Kung Fu in a superb display of combat. The fight between Buakaw Banchamek & Yi Long “The Shaolin Monk” was billed as the Fight of the Century, and millions across Asia and the world watched with bated breath as the two champions of the vastly differing martial arts came together in Ji Yuan, China 3 years ago, this month.
Buakaw has now notched up 235 wins with 24 losses and 12 draws. The star has competed in lightweight, welterweight and featherweight divisions and has held multiple Muay Thai and kickboxing titles over his illustrious 20-year career.
The 36-year-old also had a stint as a professional soccer player in the domestic Thai league. Yi Long needs no introduction in fighting circles. The Chinese Kung-fu master is apparently self-taught and has notched up a considerable record with a reputation to match. He has been crowned world champion in the Wu Lin Feng, WCK and S-1 competitions three years running.
One of Long’s trademarks is his “Iron Chin” whereby the 31-year-old intentionally allows himself to be punched in the face. this is done to allow him to counterpunch strongly but has, unfortunately, and somewhat predictably, backfired on some occasions. During the opening round, Yi long came out firing, advancing strongly on Buakaw.
His powerful punches and leg kicks sent Buakaw to the canvas twice in the opening minute. The strongly pro-Chinese home crowd were right behind their hero as he looked to be well on top in the opening stanza. However, Buakaw, ever the professional was able to recover and find his rhythm.
It was more evenly matched for the remainder of the round. The effectiveness of Long’s combinations wore off as he tired allowing Buakaw’s stamina to shine through. The scrappy, yet evenly contested fight lasted the full three rounds with the victory awarded to Buakaw on points.
This came despite receiving two deadly spinning backfists in the final round. A rematch took place in 2016 when the original decision was reversed in what many consider a robbery! Check out the highlights on the player below.