Team Lakay’s Danny Kingad: “The way I’m preparing for Demetrious Johnson is INCOMPARABLE to my preparations in the past!”

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Keys to Victory for #TeamKingad

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First of all, let’s give credit where credit is due. Chatri Sityodtong, you are one awesome CEO. When ONE Championship announced that they signed MMA superstars Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, I honestly thought that their exposure would be limited to ONE’s US, Japan, and Singapore presence. Not even a year later, we were able to watch BOTH Mighty Mouse and Alvarez fight live on Philippine soil. So again, Chatri, thank you.

Perhaps the biggest news from Dawn of Heroes is that Danny Kingad and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson are set to face each other for the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix finals in Japan at ONE: CENTURY this October 13. “The King” won a split decision over Reece McLaren while Johnson decisioned a very game Tatsumitsu Wada in a grappling masterclass. McLaren was actually winning before he gassed in the third, where Kingad’s high-altitude conditioning paid dividends with a third-round comeback that sealed the victory. Mighty Mouse’s slashing elbow was the critical factor that caused the most significant damage – a cut on Wada’s forehead – in their three-round war.

Danny Kingad was all praises for Reece McLaren prior to their match at Dawn of Heroes, even stating that McLaren was one of his idols. You could just imagine what good things he’ll have to say about the 12-time UFC flyweight champion leading to their October clash. Whether this admiration would lead Kingad to train his effing hardest or require a need to set this idol worship aside to focus on the prize, the young Lakay and his entire team will have to figure things out soonest as no doubt Mighty Mouse is already back in the gym training for their showdown.

And while (almost) every Filipino is #TeamKingad on this one, let’s look at the keys for Danny “The King” Kingad to increase his probability of bringing that shiny Grand Prix belt home on October.

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Shout out to Fight Game Asia for this awesome digital poster.

#1 Height and Reach Advantage

Danny Kingad enjoys a 5-cm height advantage over Mighty Mouse. Practically everyone has a height and reach advantage over Mighty Mouse, even at flyweight. But, no one has ever capitalized on this advantage, perhaps because DJ nullifies this with his speed and clinch game. An advantage is still an advantage, and “The King” should make full use of this by rounding out his stand up and take down defense.
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ONE Roots of Honor Aftermath: Is It Time for Joshua Pacio vs. Rene Catalan?

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A Filipino vs. Filipino World Title Fight is in the Horizon

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On April 12, 2019, Joshua Pacio became a two-time ONE Championship world champion after knocking out Yosuke Saruta with a head kick in the fourth round of their strawweight title bout at ONE Championship: Roots of Honor at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. More importantly, the victory laid to rest the controversy of his split decision loss to the Japanese three months prior.

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With an emphatic victory against Saruta, the question begs: Who’s next for “The Passion”?

Enter Rene Catalan. After starting his MMA career with back-to-back losses to eventual champions Alex Silva and Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (DSA), “D’ Challenger” has stringed an impressive six-fight win streak in the competitive strawweight division of ONE, highlighted by his TKO victory over former champion Yoshitaka Naito. Prior to Naito, Catalan bested then undefeated Stefer Rahardian, a ONE national tournament champion who was himself poised to become a contender in the stacked strawweight division.

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I’ve said before that I wouldn’t mind seeing Pacio, Naito, and Silva compete for the strawweight crown over and over again due to how technical and evenly matched these fighters are. Silva, in particular, has yet to compete against Pacio – an interesting prospect should Silva string a couple of wins to get him back into title contention. At this point in time, however, having Naito or Silva as the next challenger does not make sense: Naito is 0-2 after back-to-back losses to Pacio and Catalan; Silva is likewise on a two-loss skid against Naito and Saruta.
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Rene Catalan is Proving All the Doubters Wrong at 40

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Rene Catalan records sixth straight win in ONE Championship over former champ Yoshitaka Naito

Editor’s Note: I wanted to do justice in covering this milestone for Rene Catalan, so I asked Catalan Fighting System long-time student and fellow MMA writer Dreau Lanot to share Catalan’s journey from his perspective.

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By the age of 40, most combat sport athletes have already slid past their prime and are considered done. In MMA, where the demands to the body and psyche are far more steep, the peak performance window of a fighter often closes earlier. However, for Rene Catalan, he has fought against and triumphed over too many odds to simply yield to Father Time.

Catalan was already 34 and has been a few years removed from his last combat exposure when he signed with ONE in 2013. His MMA career started in the shadows: a submission loss on his debut, followed by a no-contest from absorbing illegal blows, and then a knockout.

It took over three years and a couple of camp relocations before he could find his winning formula; the Filipino Wushu-Sanda record holder only earned his first MMA win in September 2016 against Chinese opponent Zhang You Liang.
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