By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
NOW in the upswing anew after being dealt his first loss nearly a year ago, Filipino mixed martial arts fighter Danny “The King” Kingad is seeking to keep the winning momentum going and throw himself back in the mix as one of the top fighters in his class in ONE Championship.
Won his last two fights following his submission defeat at the hands of erstwhile ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes of Brazil in their title clash in November 2017, Mr. Kingad (10-1) of Team Lakay is gunning for an official win streak once again when he battles Japanese Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu at “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept. 22 as part of the main card.
The 22-year-old Kingad enters the contest confident that he has improved as a fighter in the last year and cannot wait to showcase such form in his upcoming fight to be held at the Jakarta Convention Center.
“My last bout was one of my hardest, and I learned a lot from it,” Mr. Kingad was quoted as saying by the ONE Championship Website, referring to his bout with Chinese Ma Hao Bin in June in Macau where he won by unanimous decision.
“Props to Ma Hao Bin — he showed his strength and toughness. He was a really tough opponent and was hard to finish. He had some good takedowns and submission defense. Every time I wanted to stand and trade, he would shoot on me, which was tricky. I couldn’t land many clean strikes. I definitely proved to myself that I can beat a scrappy opponent in a hard fight,” he added.
Prior to defeating Mr. Han, the Filipino warrior defeated Bulgarian Sotir Kichukov in March also by way of unanimous decision.
Zeroing in on his fight against Mr. Wakamatsu (10-2), a Pancrase flyweight tournament champion, Mr. Kingad said he is expecting nothing easy but expressed readiness to take on the challenge.
“He is a dangerous opponent with a lot of knockouts. His style appears to favor striking over grappling. I think that is his strength,” Mr. Kingad said.
“I would love to test his striking to see what that’s all about, and he looks skilled on the ground, also. He is a well-rounded fighter, and I think this will be a good test for me. I’m prepared to go wherever this fight takes me, whether that’s on the feet or on the ground. I’m ready,” Mr. Kingad added.
Meanwhile, ONE: Conquest of Heroes also marks the return of streaking Filipino women’s atomweight fighter Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres of Catalan Fighting System.
Back in ONE action for the first time since her explosive victory over compatriot April Osenio in January this year, Ms. Torres (4-0) is out to keep her unblemished record intact and fortify her claim for a title shot when she collides with hometown bet Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol.
Against Ms. Osenio, Ms. Torres was on top of her game, finishing the fight in just 40 seconds in the opening round by way of knockout (slam and punches).
Experiencing much success as an MMA fighter since making it a career in 2016, Ms. Torres said she is happy how things are panning out for her in the sport and is looking forward to advancing further.
“I am happy to be part of this sport. It’s now considered as the fastest-growing sport in the world. Making a mark as an international competitor of mixed martial arts gives me a sense of fulfillment. I truly believe I am destined to be a professional fighter,” she said.
ONE: Conquest of Heroes is headlined by the ONE strawweight championship fight between reigning champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito of Japan and challenger Joshua “The Passion” Pacio of the Philippines.
By Michael Angelo S. Murillo