Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson will finally make his ONE Championship debut on Sunday, 31 March as he kicks off his campaign to win the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
The American is the most dominant World Champion in mixed martial arts history, but his Japanese rival has worked tirelessly in training to cause the upset in front of his home fans.
He has a few powerful tools to do it, but “Mighty Mouse” also has a complete arsenal of bout-ending attributes. The following weapons could make all the difference on Sunday night.
Wakamatsu’s Rocket Right Hand
“Little Piranha” has the kind of firepower in his fists that every martial artist dreams of. His right hand can turn a bout around in an instant, which means he is never more than one shot away from victory.
He knows how to use it too. His fist often flies in from behind his jab – either with a slight arc to find a route around his opponent’s guard, or over their jab.
He is also handy at setting up his money shot with a lead uppercut.
An impressive 90 percent of his victories have come by way of knockout, and he demonstrated why when he put Danny Kingad on the canvas in the opening moments of his debut in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Wakamatsu knows that he only needs one chance to find Johnson’s chin and score one of the biggest shocks in martial arts history.
Johnson’s Clinch Domination
Johnson’s biggest weapon is his mastery of every element of mixed martial arts. However, he is probably no more dangerous than when he closes the distance and takes control in the clinch.
Once he has a hold of his opponents, he dominates. If he does that at ONE: A NEW ERA, he would take Wakamatsu’s biggest weapon away and set up countless different attacks.
Using his strong collar-tie game, he can land knees and elbows on the inside. He can also work for a trip or throw from there, go low for a takedown, or shift around to the back.
Once his opponents are airborne, “Mighty Mouse” is already setting up his submission, and they could end up tapping the moment they hit the canvas.
“Little Piranha’s” Range Control
The Tribe Tokyo MMA representative needs to keep the 12-time World Champion at arm’s length to stop his dynamic takedowns, and his lead hand will be essential to achieve this.
Wakamatsu has a reach advantage as the taller athlete, and his assertive jab can help to maintain it. He throws it well to the head and the body, which will make his rival rethink entering grappling exchanges in the clinch or shooting for his opponent’s legs.
“Little Piranha” can also use his lead hand to fake and feint, which could give Johnson a moment’s pause before he moves in to attack.
That window of opportunity will be essential if the 24-year-old wants any chance of inflicting damage on the AMC Pankration and Evolve representative.
“Mighty Mouse’s” Speed
Johnson’s incredible footwork and ability to control distance has confounded and caused the downfall of many opponents.
The 32-year-old can move in and out at warp speed – maximizing his offensive output without getting touched.
Wakamatsu may anticipate the rush from “Mighty Mouse” but he is likely to try to throw him off by circling, and then dart in to attack when he sees an opening.
Against a big-hitter like the Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion, the exit strategy is just as vital, and Johnson is a master of that, too. When he has landed his combinations, he angles off with a jab or hook to combat any counter, or time a double-leg shot to stay away from danger while launching the next stage of his offense.