Danny “The King” Kingad cemented his position as a top flyweight contender after an epic battle in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Team Lakay star Kingad earned a unanimous decision victory over Japanese debutant Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu in their contest at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES, but the win was anything but straightforward for the Team Lakay product.
Wakamatsu arrived at the Jakarta Convention Center as a Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion, and he made his mark early in the contest when a thumping low kick to Kingad’s lead leg, which put the Filipino on an unsteady footing.
Wakamatsu had the clear edge over Kingad in the striking exchanges, and a huge right hand sent the ONE Championship fan favourite to the canvas as the Japanese debutant threatened to complete a sensational early stoppage.
Kingad showed remarkable powers of recovery to get back to his feet and battle his way back into the contest while barely showing any signs of damage.
After being outstruck for the majority of the first round, Kingad switched gears, scored with a takedown and came close to locking up a rear-naked choke, which Wakamatsu did very well to survive.
Wakamatsu went back to his strikes in the second round, but Kingad looked more confident and landed with a spectacular spinning back-kick that found its mark on Wakamatsu’s midsection.
Crucially, Kingad had success throwing oblique kicks to the Japanese athlete’s lead leg, and they clearly affected Wakamatu’s movement and ability to punch with power as “The King” came storming back into the contest.
By the final round, Kingad was leading the striking exchanges and landed an eye-catching takedown after a slick two-punch combination.
With 30 seconds to go, Kingad secured another takedown and took Wakamatsu’s back in search of a late submission finish, but with seconds remaining, Wakamatsu spun into top position and landed a flurry of punches
However, his attack was cut short as the final bell sounded to end a thrilling back-and-forth battle between two exciting young flyweights.
All three judges scored the bout in favour of Kingad, who extended his record to 11-1 and further strengthened his position as one of the premier athletes in ONE Championship’s flyweight division.
Though he ended up on the losing side of the equation, Wakamatsu made an impact as he confirmed his ability to step up and take on one of the division’s best martial artist.