Namiki Kawahara will make his ONE Championship debut this Friday, 22 January, and the Japanese Mixed Martial Arts Champion faces no small task.
It’s a contest that came at a moment’s notice, but it only took Kawahara seconds to accept.
“Before I got the offer, I was training and my condition was really good, so I had to take it,” he said.
“The reason I decided to fight Lito is because he is a good fighter, a dangerous fighter, and if I beat him, I’ll be closer to the ONE [Strawweight] World Championship. It will be a big win for me, so I am excited.
“Lito is a really, really good fighter, but whoever he knocked out in the past doesn’t matter. He has never fought me. Lito might be dangerous, but I am also dangerous, and I will prove that in the Circle.”
After entering The Home Of Martial Arts, Adiwang scorched his first two opponents in the first round. He hit a wall late last year, though, dropping a split decision to Shooto Champion Hiroba Minowa.
Kawahara watched that bout very closely, and although he was impressed with his compatriot’s victory, he plans to dominate Adiwang in a more decisive way.
“If you look at [Minowa’s] fight against Lito, it was a really close fight,” Kawahara said.
“And to be honest, as a result, he won, but it wasn’t that interesting. What I have to show is a better way to win.
“I already have something prepared, and I’m sure Lito will have something prepared. He will have observed me. We’re both in the same situation, so let’s enjoy it and have a great fight.”
The pair’s strawweight mixed martial arts clash will kick off the action on Friday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and because of that, Kawahara wants to set the bar high for the rest of the card.
“It’s the first bout, but the opening bout is going to be awesome, aggressive. It’s going to be a knockout fight, but only one man is going to be standing at the end,” he said.
“All I’m thinking about is finishing him, that’s my aim. If it’s stand-up, I’ll knock him out. If it goes to the ground, I will submit him. It’s as simple as that.”
That may be easier said than done, but Kawahara is confident that he’ll get past “Thunder Kid” and eventually compete for the biggest accolade in mixed martial arts.
“I will show not just a win, but a good win, and I will crack into the strawweight top five. After that, it will be the World Championship,” the Japanese star added.
“I decided to compete in ONE to become the World Champion, so whoever my opponent is, it doesn’t matter. I just have to win and beat him up.”
Catch Kawahara versus Adiwang at ONE: UNBREAKABLE at the Singapore Indoor Stadium this Friday, 22, January, on meWATCH of the ONE Super App at 8:30 p.m. Singapore Standard Time (SGT).
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