Evolve’s very own World Champions and combat sports veterans, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Leandro “Brodinho” Issa, want to make their mark on what promises to be the biggest martial arts show in Philippine history.
Before the action heats up in the Mall Of Asia Arena, we review the storylines surrounding the Evolve representatives, and we examine what is at stake for them during ONE: DAWN OF HEROES.
Leandro Issa vs. Daichi Takenaka: Breakout Or Breakthrough?
The clash between Leandro “Brodinho” Issa and Daichi Takenaka could have big consequences for both men in the ONE Bantamweight World Title race.
“Brodinho” returned to form in 2017 after a four-year absence from the ONE Circle. He notched four wins — his most recent one happened in April, where he submitted Fu Chang Xin with a first-round armbar at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR.
Issa’s other victories have come by way of TKO and decision, showing that the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion has more up his sleeve than just grappling artistry.
The Ubatuba native now finds himself within reach of the World Title, with only Japanese opponent Daichi Takenaka standing in his way.
The Shooto Pacific Rim Featherweight Champion has much to gain from this contest.
A disqualification win overshadowed an otherwise victorious debut for Takenaka at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD in February 2018.
The pressure is now on the Japanese athlete to take out an established combat sports veteran like “Brodinho” and legitimize his case as an ascending talent in the bantamweight division.
With the ONE Bantamweight World Title picture still wide open as we await the fourth Fernandes-Belingon rematch, can Issa leverage a win over Takenaka and breakthrough as the division’s number one contender?
Or will this match be a stepping stone for Takenaka to score a breakout performance and gatecrash the number one contender rankings?
Demetrious Johnson vs. Tatsumitsu Wada: ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Finals Spot Up For Grabs
Arguably the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world, any match featuring Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is an unmissable event.
Yet, the stakes are even higher in this contest.
The victor of this Johnson-Wada bout will advance to the finals of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix and earn the opportunity to face reigning champion Adriano Moraes for the gold.
A potential shot to become a World Champion in The Home Of Martial Arts is never too big a goal for a legendary martial artist like “Mighty Mouse.”
However, he is definitely mindful about this upcoming tilt with Wada.
Johnson overpowered Wada’s countryman Yuyu “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu in the quarterfinals of the Flyweight World Grand Prix at ONE: A NEW ERA earlier in March.
Still, it proved to be an extremely difficult victory and a stern reminder to the Washington native that he should expect to face nothing but the toughest competition in ONE.
Wada similarly earned his spot in the Flyweight World Grand Prix after he edged Gustavo Balart in their quarterfinal bout.
A DEEP Flyweight World Champion, Wada will be encouraged by his compatriot Wakamatsu’s gutsy performance against Johnson.
Will “Mighty Mouse” turn in another classic performance and move one step closer towards his goal of becoming a World Champion in ONE?
Or can “The Sweeper” brush off Johnson and upset the cards to make a return to his homeland for the World Grand Prix finals at ONE: CENTURY?