Daichi Takenaka had a stellar run at bantamweight. Now the Osaka, Japan native will test his skills in ONE Championship’s stacked flyweight division.
“The offer came when I thought that I wouldn’t have any more bouts for a while. So I was like, ‘Thank God! Finally, I can fight!’” Takenaka said.
The Japanese athlete is grateful, but he’s also wary.
He admits that Delfino may present challenges that he can’t prepare for – not because Takenaka doesn’t have the skills or resources, but because he believes his opponent didn’t show what he’s truly capable of in his last bout against Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada at ONE: FIRE & FURY in January 2020.
“When I saw that bout, I thought he was eerie. I wondered if he had some hidden weapon. In the end, there was nothing, and it went to a decision, even though there seemed to be something,” Takenaka said.
“I wondered if his performance in the bout against Wada was the real Delfino. He didn’t show much urgency to aim for the knockout or go for the takedown.”
Delfino’s lack of urgency leads Takenaka to believe that the Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts Champion may be hiding something.
Nonetheless, he’s going to stick with his own strengths and try not to worry about any surprises from his upcoming opponent.
“If you know what your opponent is skilled at, it is easier to make a strategy even if the opponent is strong. That’s why I don’t prepare countermeasures and just try to show what I am good at,” Takenaka said.
“For the moment, I’ve been practicing grappling twice a week, and I’ve been practicing striking and mixed martial arts. I will try to use my striking skills a lot, such as left middle kicks and punches.”
But when asked how he thinks the bout will unfold, Takenaka is predicting a finish with the help of his skills in “the sweet science.”
“I’ve been developing my boxing pretty seriously, so I think I’ll win by KO with punches or by rear-naked choke,” he said.
“In the first round, I want to damage him with many strikes, and either in the second or third round, I want to KO him with strikes or submit him.
“My training buddies and cornerman say that judging only from Delfino’s bout against Wada, I should be able to finish him.”
Catch all the action from ONE Championship’s next event, the previously recorded ONE: UNBREAKABLE II, on Friday, 29 January, by downloading the ONE Super App or tuning in to meWATCH at 8:30 p.m. Singapore Standard Time (SGT).
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