By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Philippines had a lone represent in ONE Championship’s “Visions of Victory” live event in Malaysia on Friday in Danny “The King” Kingad, and he did not disappoint as he fashioned out a unanimous decision win over Bulgarian Sotir “Trouble” Kichukov.
Fighting after a three-month break and off a loss in his last fight, Mr. Kingad of Team Lakay made true his vow not to let his efforts to bounce back go to waste, proving to be a step ahead of Mr. Kichukov throughout their scheduled three-rounder at the packed Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
Mr. Kingad made his mission known early, showing incredible display of strength for takedowns coupled with precise striking and high level of grappling.
But Mr. Kichukov proved to be a tough customer as he remained undeterred by the aggressiveness of the Filipino fighter, putting him in a couple of positions to finish off the fight by way of submission.
Mr. Kingad though would show tremendous resolve not to fall for a second straight time, powering himself out of the submission attempts by his opponent en route to outlasting Mr. Kichukov for his sixth win in seven professional fights.
After his victory, which incidentally was his first outside of the Philippines, Mr. Kingad’s team, Team Lakay, expressed its satisfaction with the victory and hailed the fighter for his efforts.
Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao highlighted how Mr. Kingad “did not cave in” after his first professional loss but instead “turned into a beast” by working hard in training and showing the right mind-set against Mr. Kichukov for the hard-earned win.
He went on to thank all their supporters for rallying behind Mr. Kingad in his bounce-back bid.
With the loss, Mr. Kichukov dropped to his eighth defeat in 21 fights.
Meanwhile, also emerging victorious at Visions of Victory was Australian Reece “Lightning” McLaren, who silenced the hometown fans by stopping their bet Gianni Subba by submission (Arm Triangle) in the second round of their headlining fight.
Mr. McLaren solidified his position as a top contender in ONE Championship’s stacked flyweight division with the impressive win.
The Australian flaunted his fluid striking, repeatedly hammering Mr. Subba with stinging punches and lashing leg kicks.
In the end, Mr. McLaren’s impeccable ground game secured the finish as he forced Mr. Subba to wave the white flag with an arm triangle submission in the second round to win in what was a ONE Flyweight World Championship title eliminator.
Next for ONE Championship is the highly anticipated champion vs. champion encounter between reigning Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes of Brazil and Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Australia dubbed “Iron Will.”
It will be on March 24 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.