THE much-awaited ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix is set to kick off at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan on 31 March.
The quarter-final bouts will feature eight of the finest flyweights in the world, including multiple-time World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat "The Kazakh" Akhmetov.
Ahead of the showdowns slated for the promotion's first live event in "The Land Of The Rising Sun," Malaysian sensation Gianni Subba shared his thoughts on the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
Akhmetov of Kazakhstan will lock horns with former ONE World Title challenger Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Australia.
McLaren is on a three-match winning streak, while Akhmetov bounced back from a defeat to claim a spectacular victory against China’s Ma Hao Bin.
Subba admitted it’s hard to pick a winner of the two as both of them are top-level grapplers.
“I cannot see a clear winner for this one. Reece is coming off an impressive victory against Tatsumitsu Wada and its proof that he can hang out with the guys in the flyweight division,” he said
“Kairat’s coming off a great victory against a tough opponent too, and I feel he’ll be more determined to get back to a winning streak.”
Meanwhile, Subba bared that he’s never heard much of Brazil’s Ivanildo Delfino, but with an undefeated record, Tatsumitsu Wada will have to be cautious of what he brings to the cage.
“I know Ivanildo is a Jungle Fight Champion, but that’s as far as I know. It’ll be interesting to see what style he brings to the cage,” he stated.
“Tatsumitsu is a very experienced athlete; he’s competed in the best promotions and has a great level of grappling as seen in his dominant victory over Eugene Toquero.”
On the other hand, Danny “The King” Kingad of the Philippines is set to take on fellow former ONE World Title challenger Andrew Leone in a quarter-final bout of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
“This will be interesting, but of course, I’ll be supporting Andrew,” Subba quipped.
“He’s coming off two defeats, but it came against the best in this division. Andrew is a very talented athlete and a top grappler.”
He, however, praised Kingad’s ability to muscle out a victory in tough situations.
“He’s on a streak and has developed his own style. I feel he’ll stop a few takedown attempts, but Andrew will prove to be too much for him," he explained.
The final bout in the eight-man tourney is the three-clash between Johnson and Japan's Yuya Wakamatsu.
Subba stressed that he only sees one clear winner in this contest.
“Demetrious Johnson is the best in the world, and I’m pretty sure he will seal the win and move on to the semi-final,” he predicted.
“I can't see how Wakamatsu can defeat him, but it’ll be interesting to see how he sets himself up for a match like this.”
Wakamatsu will be hoping to bounce off a defeat in September 2018 against Kingad, while “Mighty Mouse” will have his eyes on a dream start in The Home of Martial Arts.