Former ONE featherweight champion Thanh Le recaptured championship gold at ONE Fight Night 15 as he claimed the interim featherweight crown with a first-round finish of Russian contender Ilya Freymanov in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Lumpinee Boxing Stadium played host to the event, with the 10-fight card featuring five MMA matchups. And, in a venue steeped in striking history, it was a submission finish that decided the main event of the evening.

Both men entered the matchup with well-earned reputations as dangerous strikers. But in a plot twist that surprised the Thai crowd, the pair quickly clinched in the middle of the ring, then went to the mat.

But, rather than look to disengage and return to the stand-up striking realm, Le turned to his grappling skills and immediately went in search of a leg lock on the Russian.

Freymanov didn’t react to the danger quickly enough, and Le swiftly locked up a heel hook to force a quick tap and bring about the end of the fight just 62 seconds into the matchup.

It gave Le only the second submission finish of his career, but served as a reminder that the American has fight-finishing skills on the mat, as well as his proven KO power on his feet.  

Le’s win sets him up for a championship rematch with the man who dethroned him at ONE Championship 160 back in August 2022, Tang Kai, who stepped into the ring to face off with his rival after the bout.

The night’s other championship bout saw strawweight kickboxing champion Jon Di Bella turn in another impressive display to outpoint Danial Williams in the co-main event, while elite Thai strikers Tawanchai and “Smokin” Joe Nattawut went toe to toe for three rounds of kickboxing, with Tawanchai emerging the victor. Also on the main card, submission grappling ace Mikey Musumeci defeated Japanese MMA icon Shinya Aoki via heel-hook submission in their grappling match.

The night’s other notable MMA action saw Joshua Pacio outpoint Mansur Malachiev, while Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin was stopped in the first round by Chinese contender Zhang Lipeng. There were also wins for Hu Yong and Hiroyuki Tetsuka, who claimed first-round stoppage victories by TKO and armbar, respectively.

ONE Fight Night 15: Official results

  • Thanh Le def. Ilya Freymanov via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 1:02 – for interim featherweight title
  • Jon Di Bella def. Danial Willians via unanimous decision – for strawweight kickboxing title
  • Tawanchai def. Jo Nattawut via unanimous decision – kickboxing bout
  • Mikey Musumeci def. Shinya Aoki via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 3:05 – submission grappling match
  • Joshua Pacio def. Mansur Malachiev via unanimous decision
  • Zhang Lipeng def. Timofey Nastyukhin via TKO – Round 1, 3:18
  • Hu Yong def. Eko Roni Saputra via TKO – Round 1, 1:03
  • Phetjeeja def. Celest Hansen via TKO – Round 3, 1:01 – Muay Thai bout
  • Hiroyuki Tetsuka def. Jin Tae Ho via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:45
  • Shakir Al-Tereeti def. Bampara Kouyate via unanimous decision – Muay Thai bout