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Saengchot Parkaiphet (right) and Robert Lek at the Dare Championship 2/11 weigh in
Ole Laursen’s Legacy Gym in Ubon Ratchatani is well off the beaten track and doesn’t go in for a lot of marketing so most readers probably won’t be too familiar with it. It is not a camp which has a huge turnover of tourists because there is little to do there except train.
This is just the way that Laursen likes it and he is trying to use it as an environment to develop some top Thai talent. His best student Saengchot Parkaiphet (Nuay) made a successful professional debut at Dare Championship 2/11 recently winning with a submission in the very first round,
"Nuay started training MMA a year ago. He saw us traveling for fights, saw the fights on video, watched the UFC and watched us train every day. I sensed he wanted to be a part of it so we got him started and since then he hasn’t missed a session. We’ve had a few other Thai trainers try MMA but Nuay is different because he loves the ground game. He understands the ground game is something you can’t do without in MMA and he embraces it," he said.
Nuay made his MMA debut against another Muay Thai fighter but it was his superior ground game which made the difference as he was able to take the fight to the ground, move from side control to mount and finish the fight with an armbar.
It was a slick display of grappling which underlined Laursens belief that Nuay could make it in the world of professional MMA, something he feels would be a sensible career move,
"MMA is the future, he can only go so far in his village Muay Thai fights and he has had a few hundreds of those now. His striking is gold, his Muay Thai is superb and his ground skills are growing daily. At first when he was being butchered by us all in rolling he was losing heart but then when guys came in his size and he started butchering them he realised that he was actually learning. Once he started and was submitting guys it made him see what he had achieved through training and made him want to train even more."
Ole Laursen submitting BJJ purple belt Eduard Pachu at Martial Combat 1
It is not always easy to make the transition from tapping out training partners to submitting opponents in mixed martial arts but Nuay made it look easy. His opponent at Dare Championship 1/11, Robert Lek from Phuket Top Team, was reported to have been working very hard on his ground game too but Laursen was not surprised to see his student prevail,
"To be honest I wasn’t surprised because I see in Nuay a love and dedication during our training that I don’t see in many. I knew he had trained hard and I was sure that Nuay’s opponent did not train as hard and was sure that his ground game was not on Nuay’s level. The funny thing is Nuay wanted to win by armbar, when he got the mount we were all screaming out for ground and pound but he wanted to show off his newly gained ground skills and he did just that."
Dare Championship make a big deal of fighters entrances with lengthy introductions and walk ins which are accompanied by strobe lights and ear splitting heavy metal music. It is in sharp contrast to Muay Thai where the protagonists are expected to sit quietly besides the ring while they wait for the preceding fight to finish but Laursen thinks this is something fighters will quickly become accustomed to,
"It’s definitely something new for them. The Thais that come from Muay Thai background are not very comfortable with the western style showmanship but they do show they own style. They have charisma and add something new to the game and I’m sure that Muay Thai fans worldwide will stop and follow the progress of the Thais entering MMA."
Nuay made his MMA debut on September 24th, less than a month ago, and has already had three Muay Thai fights since then. After more than 200 professional fights he has a familiarity with fighting that most mixed martial artists could never contemplate and if he can take some of this confidence and composure into the cage he could be destined for a fantastic career in mixed martial arts.
The latest news from Laursen himself is that he is back in training and well on the road to recovery after the knee injury which prevented him from appearing at One Fighting Championship 1.
After over a year on the sidelines he is desperate to be a part of the promotion which is rapidly emerging as the biggest in Asia and Laursen is likely to be back in action in early 2012 with a big announcement from One FC reportedly imminent.
For all the latest on Ole Laursen and the fighters at the Legacy Gym sign up to his fanpage on Facebook.