Wakamatsu will face the #5-ranked McLaren at “ONE on TNT III,” which airs this Thursday on the ONE Super App and ONE’s YouTube channel at 8:30 a.m. SGT, and it’s a bout that “Little Piranha” was aiming for.
“I was hoping to fight against Reece McLaren. I requested his name. I want to say thank you to ONE for making this matchup,” Wakamatsu said.
“If I want to fight at the top level of the world, I have to beat [him] because Reece is a top-level athlete.”
McLaren proved his worth in November when he scored a knockout win over Kim Kyu Sung. But Wakamatsu isn’t fazed by his opponent’s skill set. In fact, he can’t wait to step inside the Circle with him.
“I feel very excited for my fight. Usually, I think about the fight too much, but for this one, I am more relaxed than usual,” the Japanese star said.
“I am looking to showcase my skills in this fight. I’m just trying to be natural.”
Of course, Wakamatsu is just as eager to display his talent in front of a new demographic.
“I am really excited to be shown to a U.S. audience, so this is a good time to show [what I can do] and to be famous,” the 26-year-old said. Fame won’t come easily, however, as McLaren is a wizard on the ground. At the same time, Wakamatsu believes he can implement his own game plan.
“He is a well-rounded athlete, but mostly his strong point is grappling,” the Japanese fighter said.
“I don’t care which color of BJJ belt McLaren is because, inside the Circle, both of us have to show striking, not only grappling and BJJ.”
Plus, Wakamatsu does see a hole in McLaren’s game.
“I think his weakness is his mindset,” he said of the Australian.
“When McLaren is able to do what he wants to do in a fight, he can feel great. But if he cannot do what he wants to do, his performance goes down during the fight.”
Catch all the action from “ONE on TNT III” when it airs this Thursday, 22 April, on the ONE Super App.
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