A classic clash of styles from 2014, this one pits Muangthai the muay khao against Pokkeaw the muay maat. What will win out? Elbows or fists, Muangthai or Pokkeaw. . .


Before Muangthai got the nickname “The Elbow Zombie,” he, like many others before him, had fought humble opponents at the prestigious stadiums in Thailand. Now, many know him as the fighter who keeps walking forward.

Despite taking punishment from his opponents, he continues to close the distance and clinch, and most importantly, deliver the KO via elbow. A muay khao, Muangthai is superb in the clinch. His ability to land elbows at different angles to put the lights out of his opponents is remarkable.

In 2014, he fought Pokkeaw, who is a muay maat, meaning a fighter who relies on powerful punches to win. The thing in Thailand is that to be a muay maat, you need to drop your opponent multiple times or knock them out to win the fight – punches almost always do not result in victory with points/decision. Keep reading to see how this bout between muay khao and muay maat went and how.


From the beginning of the first round, Pokkeaw (red corner) came in with punches. He rarely threw kicks, although he did throw some teeps to keep Muangthai (blue corner) away.

While most fighters try to get away from the punches, Muangthai, in his muay khao fashion, looked to close the distance instead. By him closing the distance, Pokkeaw was not able to land his punches as strongly as he would’ve liked. Ranges shorter than punching range result in the arm not being able to extend out and, in most cases, the body not utilized in the punch.

Pokkeaw throw heavy punches from the get-go of the first round.

Pokkeaw hastily throwing some punches. Notice how his cross isn’t able to extend all the way, compromising the power behind it.

Just how was Muangthai able to avoid getting dropped or knocked out as he was stepping into dangerous territory? He utilized the long guard to his advantage. Some punches got through, but a majority of them slipped by the outside, protecting Muangthai from serious damage.

Muangthai utilizing the long guard in round one.

When Muangthai got into clinching distance, he started throwing knees to score. He was careful to keep using the long guard before and after the clinch, as Pokkeaw’s punches were coming at any given opportunity.

While in the clinch, Muangthai got the dominant position (arms inside of opponent’s), controlling Pokkeaw’s arms. Pokkeaw wasn’t able to throw his powerful punches. This dominant position also allowed Muangthai to throw his elbows and land them with ease.

Muangthai using the long guard to protect himself and close the distance, then landing a knee.

Muangthai landing a couple knees and then immediately restoring to the long guard again.

Long guard, knee, then clinch. Muangthai gets the dominant position, his arms being on the inside of Pokkeaw’s.

Muangthai has dominant position and Pokkeaw attempts to throw hooks to no avail.

Dominant position, elbow, knee, long guard. Muangthai using all of his effective tactics beautifully.


In the second round, Muangthai banked on Pokkeaw coming in for the punches. He used the long guard yet again and looked for an opening to throw an elbow. The elbow landed on the chin and it was lights out for Pokkeaw.


Control & devastate your opponent from inside the clinch – just like Muangthai.



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Angela Chang
Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.

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