Ever since Lowen Tynanes blew Eduard Folayang away in only his second professional fight, there’s been a clamour to see how good he really is. Six fights later, he’s still unbeaten, with five of those wins coming inside the distance.
His biggest test to date came against Vuyisile Colossa, whose masterful balance and movement certainly caused him trouble. But the Hawaiian’s superior grappling and endurance won the day in the closing moments. Tynanes has since beaten the (then) 18-3 Kuat Khamitov and Rasul Yakhyaev, who at the time was 9-2.
At the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Friday, he takes on Koji Ando at ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS, whose wins over former ONE Featherweight World Champion Narantungalag Jadambaa, Rafael Nunes, and Zorobabel Moreira propelled him to a lightweight title shot against ONE Championship icon Shinya Aoki, where he came out with great credit, despite losing a unanimous decision.
Ando brings a 12-4-2 record into the event. He shows very little lateral movement when stalking prey, inching forward and backwards, with deliberate steps, throwing straight punches from a southpaw stance. This is where he can dictate, although high-level opponents like Huerta and Aoki both held their own here.
As a judo black belt, Ando is also comfortable in close-quarter combat, becoming only the second man to evade submission by Aoki since 2012.
Indeed, Ando has never been submitted; all four losses have come by way of the judges. Tynanes has an explosive and powerful grappling attack, but it’s hard to see Tynanes submitting Ando in three rounds, if Aoki couldn’t do it in five.
Both men have sufficient striking ability (Ando with honed boxing skills and Tynanes with sheer strength) to finish the fight early, but neither has deployed this option to any overwhelming degree.
Tynanes though, can be very destructive with his elbows and knees. If the fight does end before the 15-minute mark, I suspect it will be this rather than his prohibitive wresting skills, which will tip things over the edge.
A win for Ando is unlikely to push him directly into a rematch with Aoki, but Tynanes might fare better in that regard if he can retain his unbeaten record.
Both men will be in great condition and this one will probably go the distance. I see Tynanes more likely to catch the judges’ eye, with his all-action style and slight edge in hand-to-hand strength.
Steve Dawson is ONE Championship’s lead commentator, a Fox Sports presenter and an author of sporting biographies. He can be found on Twitter & Instagram as @Gulasahi and on Facebook as Steve Dawson.