The winner could position themselves as the next challenger for the flyweight throne or perhaps earn a date with #1-ranked Johnson.
In any case, “Mighty Mouse” is excited to watch Akhmetov and Wada throw down.
He told ONE Championship:
“Yeah, I think it’s a great matchup. Wada is very long and has great boxing. I mean, he’s been in the game for a long time. I believe [he was a] DEEP Champion, so he’s got a great skill set, he’s very tough.
“[Akhmetov and I] have never fought, but he’s been a champion before. He’s fought [current flyweight king] Adriano [Moraes] twice. It’s going to be a good fight. I think Kairat Akhmetov has a wrestling advantage. It seems like he would be able to execute the game plan.”
Johnson competed against Wada in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals back in August 2019, defeating “The Sweeper” via unanimous decision after facing some early adversity.
And while he hasn’t faced Akhmetov, he watched the 34-year-old’s standout fights against the flyweight elite and came away impressed.
With all that in mind, “Mighty Mouse” was pressed for a prediction about Friday’s showdown, but he thinks it’s too close to call.
“Like what I said, [it’s about] who’s going to go out there and fight. I don’t give predictions because I feel they’re both good. The only time I actually give predictions is if I feel super solid on the person’s skill set, and they’re just better than that other person.”
That being said, the American superstar won’t bet against Akhmetov putting in another great performance, and he wouldn’t be surprised to square off with “The Kazakh” at some point down the road.
“Mighty Mouse” said:
“I mean, he’s beaten everybody. He’s beaten [#4 flyweight contender] Danny Kingad. He’s beaten Adriano [Moraes]. I think on any given night, any one of us get beaten by each other, to be quite frank.
“At the end of the day, I’m sure our paths will cross, as long as he stays healthy and I stay healthy. Whether he’s a champion or I’m the champion, or we’re just fighting as contenders, I’m sure we’ll end up fighting at some point in our careers.”
‘I Think He’s Great’ – Demetrious Johnson Praises Fabricio Andrade
There’s another fight Demetrious Johnson is excited to witness at ONE 158 on Friday.
It’s not an official World Title eliminator, but the winner could go on to challenge newly crowned ONE Bantamweight World Champion John “Hands of Stone” Lineker.
For his part, “Mighty Mouse” is particularly impressed with the 24-year-old Andrade, who’s coming into this clash on a six-fight winning streak, which includes four highlight-reel finishes.
Johnson said of the brash Brazilian:
“This should get [the winner] into a World Title fight.
“I think [Andrade] is great. I think he’s great for the division. He’s got a long body, he’s big, and very explosive. He understands range. I like him, and I think he’ll be a good fight against John Lineker, for somebody who’s fast on the feet, and I’m sure he’s got great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu too.”