WATCH: Thanh Le wins interim title with a 30s heel hook

The stage was set for a thrilling clash as Thanh Le and Ilya Freymanov squared off in the main event of ONE Fight Night 15 in Bangkok, Thailand, competing for the interim featherweight championship in MMA.

Thanh Le lost the title to Tang Kai the previous year. On the other hand, the Russian star, Freymanov, had made quite an impression by finishing both of his previous ONE Championship bouts. The matchup promised a war on paper, but Thanh Le left everyone stunned by securing a first-round submission victory, only the second submission win of his career.

As the opening bell rang, Thanh Le wasted no time and came out swinging aggressively. However, he found himself taken down early in the bout. Despite this setback, he displayed remarkable grappling skills. Thanh Le swiftly inverted on Freymanov’s leg and initiated a heel hook attempt. At one point, it seemed like Freymanov had escaped the precarious situation, but Thanh Le persisted, relentlessly hunting for the submission, with the fight taking place against the ropes. Suddenly, it was all over, and Ilya Freymanov had no choice but to tap.

It should be noted that Le trains with UFC/BJJ star Ryan Hall. Hall has been forced to sideline his MMA career, having undergone 16 surgeries in two years.

With his hand raised in victory, Thanh Le reclaimed a portion of his featherweight title. However, to regain undisputed status, he would need to face Tang Kai once more in a rematch. During the post-fight interview, Thanh Le was awarded a well-deserved $50,000 bonus for his impressive submission finish.

In a display of sportsmanship, the champion and former adversary of Le, Tang Kai, entered the ring to face off with the victor. Le greeted him with a handshake and a brief, brotherly hug, showcasing a lack of animosity between them.

Through his Chinese translator, Tang Kai expressed his admiration for Thanh Le’s performance but confidently declared his intention to knock him out in their upcoming rematch. Thanh Le responded by suggesting that Kai had evaded engagements and backed away too much during their previous encounter, setting the stage for a highly anticipated showdown.

Official Result: Thanh Le defeats Ilya Freymanov via Submission (heel hook) in Round 1, 1:02