It has been a while since Danny “The King” Kingad has faced someone with the grappling pedigree that Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov will be bringing in their upcoming ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semi-final bout — and history is not in his favor at all.
Kingad’s lone blemish came from ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD in November 2017.
Given the similarities between Moraes’ and Akhmetov’s styles, the upcoming semi-final battle will certainly be interesting.
Kingad, however, is unfazed with the huge obstacle in front of him.
“I am not intimidated by him at all. I am excited to face him. It’s going to be a good match,” the Filipino said.
“We’re both well-rounded athletes. We can go strike-for-strike, and we can also hit the mat and grapple. I think anywhere this fight goes, the fans will be happy.”
Kingad advanced to the tournament semi-finals by defeating Senzo Ikeda at ONE: A NEW ERA in Japan last month to stretch his winning streak to five.
Akhmetov, a former ONE Flyweight World Champion himself, booked a ticket by stopping Reece “Lightning” McLaren on the same card.
Though “The Kazakh” looks like a tough opponent, style-wise, for Kingad, the 23-year-old has been wanting to meet him in the ONE Championship Circle for quite a long time.
There is history there, too. Akhmetov split his two matches with Kingad’s Team Lakay stablemate, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, and would love a third crack at him.
Before that happens, however, he’ll have to go through “The King.”
“I’ve wanted to face Kairat Akhmetov for the longest time. I’ve been calling for a fight against him for the past two years,” Kingad explained.
“Now that the fight is here, it’s time to perform. I just think my style and his style match up great. He’s an awesome wrestler, and I really want to test my wrestling against him. I want to go to the ground and see who is stronger.”
Because of this, Kingad is already working double-time and gearing up for “The Kazakh.”
Should he defeat Akhmetov, he’ll advance to the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finals, where he will face Demetrious Johnson or Tatsumitsu Wada.
“My next opponent is a former World Champion and is a great challenge, but me and my team will make sure we are prepared for anything,” Kingad said.
“You can be sure I’m preparing for him very well. There’s no date for the fight yet, but I expect it to be soon, so I have to stay ready.”