Martial arts fans are waiting with bated breath for the start of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
The tournament, which will feature eight of the weight class’ top athletes, will get underway on 31 March at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan.
One other participant has also been confirmed for action, as Danny “The King” Kingad booked his place in the bracket with a win against Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada at ONE: HERO’S ASCENT last Friday.
However, the rest of the match-ups have been shrouded in secrecy for now, so ahead of some more major announcements, take a look at some of the burning questions we have about the grand prix.
Can “Mighty Mouse” Be Stopped?
As the most dominant World Champion in mixed martial arts history, there is no doubt Johnson is the favorite to emerge with the flyweight crown.
He has succeeded in a tournament format before, and has proved why he is the best in the world ever since with dominant displays against every challenger.
Wakamatsu will have to deliver the performance of his life to even come close to taking out “Mighty Mouse,” but he is not the only one. Though every man who will enter the bracket has faced elite competition before, many fans believe none of them have faced anyone of Johnson’s caliber.
However, this will be “Mighty Mouse’s” first foray into Asia with The Home Of Martial Arts, and he may yet be surprised by the level of talent that exists in ONE.
Will McLaren Have To Work For His Title Shot Again?
However, injury to ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes scuppered his plans. After he defeated Gianni Subba at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY, and then Tatsumitsu Wada at ONE PINNACLE OF POWER, he thought his time had come again.
However, Moraes’ rivalry with Geje Eustaquio got in the way.
Now that trilogy is over, the Aussie would seem to be the natural choice to face the Brazilian, but fans would love to see his skills against the other top guys in his division in a tournament format. Will he get the match he wants for the belt, or will he have to run the grand prix gauntlet?
Might “Gravity” Play A Role?
As the ONE Flyweight World Champion since last July, few thought Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio would play a role in the grand prix.
However, now he no longer has the belt, he would be a popular addition to the bracket.
Though he would probably not want to face his Team Lakay training partner, Kingad, there are plenty of interesting match-ups against top flyweights for the Filipino.
A trilogy bout with Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov, a rematch with Gianni Suba, or a chance to begin a new rivalry with McLaren would all bring intrigue to the cage. So would a showdown with the winner of Johnson VS Wakamatsu, if he can make it to the semi-finals.
Will Any Wild Cards Come Into Play?
Lowen Tynanes ground and pounds his way to the semifinals of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix with a TKO victory over Honorio Banario at 4:46 of Round 1!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 25, 2019
Lowen Tynanes was a surprise addition to the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix because of his near three-year absence from the cage, but he showed he belonged with his first-round TKO of Honorio Banario.
If the Hawaiian can succeed, then why not another unexpected entrant in the flyweight ranks?
Some of the field could be made up of athletes who make a move from other weight classes, or even debutants to The Home Of Martial Arts.
As long as they are world-class, the fans may see a surprise name or two when the final three quarter-final contests are confirmed.