■ Harley F. Palangchao
Former second-ranked ONE flyweight contender Danny “The King” Kingad has vowed to come back as a stronger and better fighter following a unanimous decision loss to Yuya Wakamatsu in the undercard of ONE 165 in Tokyo, Japan on Jan. 28.
Kingad, 28, of Lions Nation MMA was outpointed by the fourth-ranked Wakamatsu, who displayed a better ground game during his rematch with the Filipino fighter inside the Ariake Arena.
Wakamatsu, also 28, also settled the score with Kingad after the latter won their first encounter via a unanimous decision win September 2018.
The Japanese fighter caught the crowd by surprise when he initiated the first takedown in the opening round that was successfully reversed by the Filipino fighter.
But the relentless Wakamatsu has dominated the scrambles, as he also scored a ground-and-pound over the course of three rounds.
Kingad never stopped trying to find an advantage on the mat, but Wakamatsu’s top control, reversals, and aggression earned him redemption over the Filipino fighter.
The Japanese fighter was also successful in avoiding Kingad’s attempts to maintain control on the mat, as he also displayed dominance in grappling until the final round.
Kingad dropped his professional record to 15 wins and four losses while Wakamatsu improved to 17 wins and six losses.
Fellow Filipino fighters, meanwhile, threw support to Kingad, as they wished him luck in his future fights.