Team Lakay’s Danny “The King” Kingad rose to the throne after defeating Japan’s Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada in a five-round unanimous decision battle in ONE: Hero’s Ascent, Friday, at the Mall of Asia Arena, Manila.
The Filipino flyweight rising star successfully threw his veteran Japanese opponent on several submissions throughout the tournament.
But Wada, relentless as he was, managed to put up a good fight. He tackled Kingad on just as many occasions and tried to lock a rear-naked choke. However, the Baguio-native escaped and showcased his perfect grappling techniques and landed on-the-spot knees, which eventually weakened his opponent to the ground.
Kingad improves to a 12-1 record and is now on his fourth-bout winning streak. With the victory, he sealed his spot in the upcoming ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
“Paghahandaan ko talaga ‘yong Grand Prix na ‘yan,” says Kingad. “I will go home and I will go back to the training.”
Kingad’s triumph is Team Lakay’s first win for 2019, after his brothers fell short from their respective bouts and suffered back-to-back losses. During ONE: Eternal Glory held earlier this month in Indonesia, both Edward Kelly and former strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio lost. In the same event last night, Honorio Banario and Geje Eustaquio were also defeated.
Eustaquio was stripped from the ONE flyweight championship belt and bowed down for the second time to long-time rival Adriano Moraes of Brazil. The match was a conclusion of the first ever trilogy in ONE history; these champions had previously battled in 2014 and 2018.
Despite Eustaquio’s beastly punches, Moraes had more successful attempts to pin the Filipino to the ground, which led him to a five-round unanimous victory.
In the press conference held shortly after the main matches, Eustaquio expressed his apologies to the Filipino fans.
“Sorry, Pilipinas, Tonight is not my night,” he laments. But as humble as he is, Eustaquio also gratified the now six-time flyweight champion Moraes for ‘bringing out the best in him’ as an MMA practitioner.
In response, Moraes heaped praises for the ‘Gravity.’
“Geje is a true warrior,” he relays. To have survived Moraes’s unique submission bar on the leg indubitably makes Eustaquio a real hero.
Meanwhile, Banario failed to advance in the Lightweight Grand Prix after his undefeated American opponent, Lowen Tynanes, put him into a crucifix position—signaling the referee to stop the match at 4:46 mark of the first round.
With this, Team Lakay’s head coach Mark Sanguiao considers the results as lessons learned.
“We have to go back to the drawing board, watch the fight, and try to see what’s lacking—what happened,” he says, certain that the team will make a good comeback.
Despite the losses, Philippines remains to be a powerhouse as it’s still the home of three world champions: Brandon Vera (Heavyweight), Eduard Folayang (Lightweight), and Kevin Belingon (Bantamweight).
With reports from Kevin Rebultan.
Photos from ONE Championship.
Graphic by Roc Verdera.
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