Danny “The King” Kingad will have his eyes glued to the television screen on Friday night when ONE: Reign of Dynasties airs.
The one bout he will be laser-focused on is the flyweight tilt pitting Fil-Australian Reece “Lightning” McLaren and Finland’s Aleksi “The Giant” Toivonen.
“This will definitely be an exciting bout to watch. Both athletes are very good on the ground, and this may prove who has the better grappling game between the two,” the second-ranked flyweight said.
“Who knows, maybe I will meet the winner down the line at some point. That’s why I’ll be watching this fight closely.”
Kingad knows McLaren all too well, after all.
Back on August of 2019, Kingad faced McLaren after the latter stepped in to replace the injured Kairat Akhmetov in the semifinal round of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
The Team Lakay standout eked out a close, split decision victory over the Australian, earning his spot across Demetrious Johnson in the finals.
“Back when I faced Reece, I knew instantly his skill on the ground. He is such a difficult matchup for anyone. I had to focus on my submission defense against a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. It was dangerous at every moment,” said Kingad.
“Reece is a very smart fighter. He knows how to take you down and submit you. His striking is somewhat of a weakness, but you can’t underestimate anybody in this game. Reece’s ground game is so good, his lack of striking hardly matters. Once he gets you down, he will work every second to finish.”
On the other hand, Kingad is curious about what Toivonen brings to the table.
“From what I can tell, Aleksi is also a great grappler. But training with the world champions at Evolve MMA, many of whom are boxing and Muay Thai world champions, Aleksi should have a better standup game,” said Kingad.
“This is going to be a close one. A lot is riding on this match-up. I can’t say for sure who’s going to win this one because it’s so close. But I’m leaning towards this fight going the distance. It’s just two skilled guys playing a game of high-level chess inside the Circle. It should be fun to watch.”
If Toivonen can defeat McLaren, he could take the Australian’s spot on the official rankings at number five. On the other hand, a victory for McLaren will solidify his position.