With the debut of the World Lethwei Championship later this week on UFC Fight Pass, you probably have a few questions about the sport if you are a neophyte.
Fear not, because I’m here to answer your questions. Let’s go through them now, shall we?
First off, just what is lethwei?
Lethwei is a form of bareknuckle boxing that’s based in Burma which encourages full contact among its participants. Due to the bareknuckle format of lethwei, fighters in the sport compete with taped hands.
Unlike a majority of combat sports, headbutting is a perfectly legal strike in lethwei.
Secondly, what are the rules in lethwei?
Ordinarily, lethwei fights are five rounds at three minutes in length. Fighters receive a two-minute rest in-between rounds. In the WLC, however, the timing rules are a bit different.
WLC fights are no fewer than three rounds at three minutes in length, no longer than five rounds at three minutes in length. There can also be a four-round fight at three minutes apiece on occasion.
Also, in the WLC, if a fight ends without a winner via knockout or technical knockout, it will be decided through a judges’ decision, a departure from the traditional declaration of a draw if there’s no knockout victory.
The winner in a judges’ decision is determined exclusively by strikes landed by the winning fighter in each round.
In addition, the WLC doesn’t employ the one-time injury timeout for a fighter who has sustained a knockout used under traditional lethwei rules.
Under the terms of the injury timeout, the fighter who suffered the knockout is allowed a maximum of two minutes to decide whether or not he can resume.
Injury timeouts, which count toward the allowable number of 8-counts, can’t be called in round five of a fight under traditional lethwei rules.
The three-knockdown rule, as seen in GLORY Kickboxing, is also employed in the WLC, working exactly as it does there (three knockdowns over the course of one round or four in the course of a match results in a TKO for the winner.)
WLC’s first event on UFC Fight Pass, WLC: Mighty Warriors, will stream this Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. EST, 3:30 a.m. PST. Set your alarms for this one, or if you plan on sleeping in, Fight Pass will have it archived later in the day.
In the WLC: Mighty Warriors main event, Saw Htoo Aung fights Antonio Faria for the inaugural WLC Light Welterweight title.
Aung enters this fight as Myanmar’s national champion of the Light Welterweight lethwei class, while Faria has already secured two WLC victories. This is the latter’s first appearance in the Light Welterweight division.
If I had to pick a winner for this one, it’d be Aung.
WLC: Mighty Warriors at a Glance:
Card: Friday, 6:30 a.m. EST, 3:30 a.m. PST, UFC Fight Pass
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