3 Flyweight MMA Fights That We’d Love To See Next
ONE Championship’s loaded flyweight mixed martial arts division has never been busier.
A true embarrassment of riches, the weight class features ultra-skilled, dynamic athletes – from established and grizzled veterans to hard-charging upstarts
Two high-profile flyweights – Reece McLaren and Eko Roni Saputra – picked up impressive victories at ONE 162 earlier this month, moving them closer to a shot at Demetrious Johnson’s coveted World Title.
With that in mind, we’ve chosen the next matchup we’d love to see for each contender, along with the next potential challenger to Johnson’s throne.
Reece McLaren vs. Danny Kingad
A veteran of 14 memorable battles inside the Circle, Australian BJJ specialist Reece McLaren showcased a marked improvement in his striking en route to a one-sided victory over fellow grappler Windson Ramos at ONE 162.
“Lightning” battered his foe with concussive straight punches for two rounds before Ramos was unable to answer the bell for the third. After the fight, #5-ranked McLaren had one name ready for a callout – #4-ranked contender Danny Kingad.
Kingad beat McLaren via split decision back in 2019, and a rematch makes all the sense in the world. Their first meeting was an electrifying, back-and-forth battle, and a win for either man in a second showdown would put him on the doorstep of a World Title challenge.
At 31 years old, “Lightning” is in the prime of his career and doesn’t want to waste any time as he chases the divisional gold.
#2 Eko Roni Saputra vs. Adriano Moraes
It’s hard to find a hotter fighter right now than Eko Roni Saputra.
At ONE 162, the Indonesian sensation extended his record first-round finishing streak to seven with a beautiful heel hook submission of Yodkaikaew Fairtex, earning a well-deserved US$50,000 performance bonus in the process.
With yet another victory in which he hardly broke a sweat, the 31-year-old submission ace is ready for the top flyweights in the world. And who better to welcome him to the upper echelon than former divisional king Andriano Moraes?
Top-ranked Moraes lost the flyweight belt to Johnson in his last outing, and he’s looking for a stiff test to put him right back in the World Title picture.
Not only is Moraes the elite opponent that Saputra so desperately wants, but he’s also one of the division’s most dangerous grapplers, making for an intriguing matchup of aggressive ground specialists.
#3 Demetrious Johnson vs. Kairat Akhmetov
While the rest of the weight class sorts itself out, who should be next for the flyweight king?
In need of a new but deserving opponent for his first World Title defense, “Mighty Mouse” could find himself up against former divisional king and current #2-ranked contender Kairat Akhmetov.
The Greco-Roman wrestling powerhouse is riding a five-fight winning streak and most recently earned a dominant decision victory over Japanese star Tatsumitsu Wada in June at ONE 158.
With his crushing strength and prodigious wrestling talent, “The Kazakh” could pose serious problems for the MMA GOAT. It would also be the biggest test of Akhmetov’s already storied career.