Fourth-ranked flyweight contender Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov’s wrestling was too much for #2-ranked Danny “The King” Kingad in their long-awaited mixed martial arts encounter at ONE: WINTERS WARRIORS II.
Akhmetov consistently drowned his rival with top pressure and took a big step closer to earning back the ONE Flyweight World Title with the unanimous decision victory on Friday, 17 December.
The first real offense of the opening stanza ended up being a disaster for “The King,” as Akhmetov caught his body kick and easily tumbled him down to the canvas at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Using heavy hips and smothering pressure, “The Kazakh” never allowed the 26-year-old Filipino any room to move. Though he couldn’t pass his rival’s guard, Akhmetov chipped away with short punches and took a clear lead on the scorecards after the first five minutes.
At the start of round two, Kingad tried to stalk his foe in hopes of setting up some big shots. He also gained a confidence boost when he escaped “The Kazakh’s” clinch and turned himself off the Circle Wall.
However, that success was short-lived. Akhmetov soon took aim with a couple of left kicks and then ducked under “The King’s” right hand with perfect timing to deposit his foe on the canvas. Again, the former ONE Flyweight World Champion dictated proceedings on the ground and stayed tight with short blows to the body and head.
After a lot of effort, Kingad finally worked back up against the Circle Wall, only to be dragged back down immediately – summing up his night so far.
Knowing he had a lot of ground to make up, the Team Lakay product came out firing with hard kicks in the final frame. Akhmetov then darted in behind a sharp left hand to score with a takedown and slow his rival down.
This time, however, “The King” worked his way to a turtle position and got back up, scoring with a knee and an elbow on the break. From there, he swung hard punches and pressed the 34-year-old wrestler to the Circle Wall.
Kingad fired with knees to the legs and body, but any chance of a comeback went awry when he aimed high. “The Kazakh” caught his leg, dumped him to the mat, and finished the round throwing bombs from the top.
Akhmetov took the decision from all three judges, extended his record to 28-2, and made a strong case for a World Title trilogy bout against reigning flyweight king Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes.