Kingad, Mclaren in action tonight

Team Lakay mainstay Danny  “The King” Kingad and Filipino Australian Reece ‘Lightning’ McLaren will be in action tonight March 9, when ONE Championship returns to the Axiata Arena in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur for ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY.

Kingad tries to rebound from his unsuccessful attempt at a title challenge against Sotir “The Trouble” Kichukov while McLaren will be squaring off against  hometown hero Gianni Subba with the winner moving on to challenge for the ONE Flyweight World Championship in the future.

It will be recalled that Kingad fell victim to a rear naked choke from ONE flyweight defending champion Adriano Moraes in the dying seconds of round one in their bout during the staging of ONE: Legends of the World at the SM Mall of Asia Arena last Novmember 10, 2017.

See story: Team Lakay losses title bouts, sweeps non-title matches in Legends of the World

Kingad is itching to get back to his winning ways since then.

See releated story: Kingad Back In Action in Kuala Lumpur
See why they were set to met: Kingad undaunted by opponent change
Who is Kichukov: Kichukov prepared to give Kingad a tough challenge

ONE detailed how Kingad could be getting another highlight reel knockout tonight:

The Philippines’ Danny “The King” Kingad made his promotional debut at ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS in front of a home Manila crowd back in April 2016. He opened the event with fellow debutant Muhamad Haidar.

Haidar, the larger competitor, used his length to maintain distance from the 22-year-old Kingad. But once “The King” went on the offensive, there was very little the Malaysian could do. The Team Lakay wushu warrior charged at Haidar, slammed him twice to the ground in spectacular fashion, and then maintained top position despite his rival’s best efforts to fend him off.

Kingad overpowered the Malaysian to gain the full mount position, where he dropped lightning-quick punches that eventually broke Haidar’s guard. The referee stopped the contest after seeing Haidar could no longer intelligently defend himself, giving the young Filipino the victory.

It would be the first of three impressive victories that earned him a shot at the ONE Flyweight World Title nearly a year and a half later. Though he came up short in his title challenge last November, Kingad plans to rebound against Sotir “The Trouble” Kichukov on Friday.

On the other hand, Mclaren is coming from an impressive submission victory over Anatpong Bunrad, rebounding from successive defeats against two high-caliber opponents, Moraes and Kevin Belingon before that. His bout with Subba will guarantee the emergence of a new flyweight world title challenger.

See related story: Silencer calms Lightning, Kelly yields a close decision

ONE also described the bout as part of a blockbuster not to be missed:

Filipino-Australian martial artist Reece “Lightning” McLaren will meet Malaysian hero Gianni Subba in the main event of ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY, with the winner getting a future flyweight world championship opportunity.

McLaren, who previously competed at bantamweight, put the entire division on notice when he submitted Anatpong Bunrad in his flyweight debut last November. The BJJ black belt showcased his high-level grappling with an impressive D’Arce choke, which forced his Thai opponent to tap for the first time ever with only seconds remaining in the opening stanza.

That win had originally earned him a shot at the ONE Flyweight World Title against reigning kingpin Adriano Moraes in Malaysia, but the champ was unfortunately unable to compete due to injury. Selflessly, McLaren accepted a short notice against Gianni Subba, and even put his title shot on the line.

This is an especially thrilling moment for Malaysian fans, as one of their own is getting a chance to shine in the spotlight.

The well-rounded Subba, who has competed exclusively in ONE since making his professional debut in October 2012, is riding a two-bout win streak with victories over former world title challengers Yago Bryan and Riku Shibuya.

Both McLaren and Subba are considered the top contenders in the talent-rich division, and it would not be a surprise to see fireworks for a full 15 minutes. And, with a guaranteed world championship opportunity up for grabs, the two flyweight dynamos will undoubtedly leave everything they have inside the ONE cage.

By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS

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