ONE: Kingad ‘faster, stronger’ but Team Lakay not looking past Johnson’s greatness
MANILA, Philippines—On a night where four of his students failed, Mark Sangiao saw great promise in youngster Danny Kingad.
Team Lakay, the famed fighting stable out of Baguio City, went 1-4 in its campaign in ONE: Dawn of Heroes Friday at Mall of Asia Arena but Kingad became a shining beacon for them after a split decision win over Reece McLaren.
Kingad’s victory in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinals set him up with a finals match against Demetrious Johnson on Oct. 13 in Tokyo.
Johnson, 32, is considered one of the best fighters of his generation. He has racked up a 29-3 record in his illustrious career and was once the UFC World flyweight champion from 2012 to 2017.
But Sangiao is confident that Kingad can go toe-to-toe with the Mighty Mouse.
“Danny’s advantage here is he’s stronger and he’s younger but we shouldn’t forget that DJ is a dangerous fighter,” said Sangiao in Filipino. “He’s well-rounded and he was once the pound-for-pound king.”
🎤 BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW 🎤
What did Danny “The King” Kingad have to say to ONE VP and martial arts legend Miesha Tate after his thriller against Reece McLaren? @MieshaTate #WeAreONE #DawnOfHeroes #Manila #MartialArts pic.twitter.com/2A1jLrrlMm
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) August 3, 2019
Kingad (11-1) also advanced to the finals of the Flyweight Grand Prix on the back of a strong third round where he stifled McLaren, a natural grappler, with his wrestling despite being the more lethal striker of the two eventually earning a split decision win.
Johnson, meanwhile, fought off a tough Tatsumitsu Wada in three rounds for his unanimous decision victory.
“We have to study Danny’s upcoming fight well and we have to discuss it with everyone in the team,” said Sangiao, who added that former ONE World flyweight champion Kevin Belingon would also be there to help Kingad.
As for Kingad’s performance against McLaren, Sangiao said his 23-year-old stalwart got the confidence in the second round.
Kingad struggled in the early part of the second but turned things around with a big takedown and holding the dominant position at the end of the period.
The third round then became Kingad’s personal workshop, landing knees and fists while holding the top ground position against McLaren.
“He was already brilliant in the second round and eventually his confidence carried on into the third,” said Sangiao. “Reece couldn’t fight back and he couldn’t get out of Danny’s control.”
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