Danny Kingad is getting this habit of bailing out Team Lakay from a sweep as he secured a pulsating decision victory during ONE: Dawn of Heroes at Mall of Asia Arena on August 2 where four of his teammates fell victim to lopsided losses.
Kingad rallied from a seeming deficit after being pedestrian in the early rounds with an explosion in the third to squeak in a split decision win against Reece McLaren in their ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinals bout.
Kingad and his ground defense withstood repeated takedowns and submission attempts by “The Lightning” in the first two rounds, after which “The King” scored two takedowns in the third and rain elbows and knees to his Fil-Australian adversary to take control of the ground action.
Kingad’s explosive final round got two of the three judges to award him the victory and improve his MMA fight record to 13-1 while sending McLaren to 12-7.
He will now face Demetrious Johnson, who outpointed Tatsumitsu Wada in the other semifinal match, in the finals this coming October during the 100th show of ONE Championship.
This is the third time this year that Kingad averted what would have been a shootout in an event where at least three Team Lakay fighters made an appearance.
Kingad first did this during ONE: Hero’s Ascent held on January 25, 2019 also at the Mall of Asia Arena where Geje Eustaquio lost his ONE World Flyweight title to Adriano Moraes and Honorio Banario lost to Lowen Tynanes in the quarterfinals of the ONE World Lightweight Grand Prix.
He duplicated this feat last March 31, 2019 in Japan when Eduard Folayang lost his ONE World Lightweight title to Shinya Aoki and Kevin Belingon yielded his ONE World Bantamweight title to Bibiano Fernades.
Meanwhile, Folayang, Eustaquio, Banario, and Edward Kelly all got waylaid by their respective opponents in the event.
Folayang lasted only over two minutes against highly-touted Eddie Alvarez in their much-anticipated ONE Lightweight Grand Prix semifinals showdown.
Folayang started the fight with guns ablaze as he landed a couple of headkicks, a spinning back fist, and a leg kick to sent Alvarez to the mat.
The “Landslide” however, couldn’t hold on to victory as the more-experienced former UFC and Bellator Champion turned tables on the Team Lakay star by locking a rear-naked choke at the 2:16 mark of the first round to which the two-time ONE Lightweight Champion tapped out.
Folayang’s fight record dropped to 21-8 with his second consecutive defeat while Alvarez improved his to 30-7.
Eustaquio also failed to get past the first round as a Yuya Wakamatsu right straight ended his aspirations to grab a possible title shot in this reserve ONE Flyweight Grand Prix match.
Wakamatsu found the gaping hole in the former ONE Flyweight World Champion’s defense 1:59 into the first round and connected the lethal shot that sent the “Gravity” crashing to the canvass.
Eustaquio’s MMA fight record slid further to 12-7 while Wakamatsu improved to 11-4.
Banario, who already tasted a shot in the foot when his supposed ONE Lightweight Grand Prix semifinals bout was cancelled and his opponent changed on short notice, was manhandled by substitute opponent Korean Dae Sung Park, in their battle.
Park was all over Banario throughout the bout and prevented him any opportunity to get his offense going to earn a unanimous decision.
Park improved his fight record 10-2 while Banario saw his drop in a hurry to 14-9, after losing three of his last four fights.
Lastly, Kelly was at the short end of the stick when his bout against Xie Bin was stopped due to him sustaining a head injury and losing due to a technical decision.
The end came at the 3:32 mark of the second round after Kelly got pounded with hammerfists, although some might have landed on the back of his head.
Kelly’s fight record fell to 12-7 while Xie scored his eighth straight victory after dropping his debut fight.
By Armando M. Bolislis
Photo by ONE Championship