On Sunday, 13 October at ONE: CENTURY PART I, fans finally get to witness the conclusion to the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.
The outcome of this contest will have a lasting impact on each man’s legacy and will reverberate throughout the martial arts landscape for years to come.
Before the action heats up in the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan, we look at how these two men arrived at the tournament final and review what is at stake for them.
To mention Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s name alongside some of the game’s all-time greats is not presumptuous.
His standing as the sport’s greatest flyweight is deserved, having been a 12-time Flyweight World Champion. Johnson will achieve yet another milestone in his illustrious career if he can defeat Danny “The King” Kingad.
Earlier in March at ONE: A NEW ERA, Johnson did not have an easy debut in the World Grand Prix quarterfinals against Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu.
Wakamatsu’s speed caught him off guard, and the Japanese athlete even managed to tag Johnson with a couple of heavy strikes.
“Little Piranha” also put up surprisingly stiff resistance against the flyweight legend’s takedown attempts.
Even though “Mighty Mouse” broke the deadlock with a guillotine and brought matters to a close, it served as a stern reminder for the American that the road ahead would not be easy.
History looked to repeat itself in the semifinals at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in August.
Against DEEP Flyweight World Champion Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada, the Japanese star took Johnson’s back and controlled the veteran grappler for much of the first round.
Their back-and-forth contest eventually wound up in the hands of the judges, and Johnson did not appear satisfied with his decision win.
Even if it was not the most satisfying of victories, Johnson always displays the tenacity and experience to overcome adversity.
However, both of his hard-earned wins could suggest a harbinger of difficult things to come in the final against a young and ascending talent like Kingad.
Matched up against an all-time great like Johnson, the Filipino will have the luxury of entering the final as the underdog.
“The King” has made this huge step into the spotlight on the back of an amazing and improbable run in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
Over the course of his last several matches, including his brilliant and spirited semifinal battle with Reece “Lightning” McLaren at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in August, Kingad has carved out a reputation for himself as one of the sharpest flyweight strikers.
Like what Johnson had experienced against Wakamatsu, Kingad survived an early scare when McLaren took him down within the opening minute.
The Filipino responded well and found an opening to escape before he engaged the Australian in a memorable back-and-forth exchange to squeeze out a split-decision win.
The 24-year-old proved he had the ability to bounce back and conquer difficult situations that would have crippled some contenders his age.
Even though “The King” is ready for the bright lights of the global stage, he will be vigilant when he faces an opponent of Johnson’s caliber.
Kingad will need to rely on his speed and quickness to find openings and unload his wushu strikes.
“Mighty Mouse,” on the other hand, will most certainly try to test the young Filipino sensation on the ground, just like he did to his previous two opponents.
It will be a fascinating contest, and Kingad has a mountain of a task ahead of him.
But a win for “The King” in Tokyo will catapult his name into the global mainstream in a way that would eclipse his previous successes.
For Johnson, a win would mean he gets a shot at ONE Flyweight World Title Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes and further cement his legacy as the undisputed greatest flyweight in mixed martial arts history.
Is it Danny “The King” Kingad’s time to take the crown? Or will Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson continue his reign as the best mixed martial artist of all time?
All will be answered at ONE: CENTURY Part I in Tokyo on 13 October.
Catch all the action and more at ONE: CENTURY, the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history.
The Home Of Martial Arts breaks new ground as it features 28 World Champions, four World Title bouts, three World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and four World Champion versus World Champion matches.
The action happens at the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan on 13 October in Tokyo, Japan.
Also, the show will air later in the evening via special delay on CH 5 at 11:00pm SGT.
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