Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson booked his ticket into the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix final on Friday, 2 August.
The 32-year-old American delivered a courageous performance to beat Japan’s Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada via unanimous decision at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in Manila, Philippines and advance to the tournament championship.
Despite being announced as the victor in this semifinal bout, the AMC Pankration and Evolve representative was tested by an opponent who pushed him to the limit.
"Mighty Mouse" Johnson books his place in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finals with a unanimous decision win over ultra-tough Tatsumitsu Wada!: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, August 2, 2019
The two exchanged kicks to start the opening stanza.
While the Japanese grappler possessed an obvious height and reach advantage, he did not immediately close the distance. He seemed content to stand and trade.
However, when “Mighty Mouse” shot for a takedown, Wada’s game plan changed. He defended the takedown attempt, clinched with the American against the ropes, and brilliantly maneuvered around his opponent to take his back.
The 30-year-old Tokyo native locked in a body figure-four, brought Johnson down to the ground, and worked for a rear-naked choke.
Johnson’s world-class techniques nullified his rival’s submission attempts on the ground, but he was forced to dig deep until the end of the first round. The fans in the Mall Of Asia Arena were on the edge of their seats as an upset looked very likely at this point of the contest.
The American changed his game plan in the second round as he started circling “The Sweeper” in search for an opening. But he was put on the back foot once again midway through the frame as his Japanese adversary continued to out-power him in the clinch.
With nearly 90 seconds remaining in the stanza, Johnson changed the perplexion of the match. He connected with a double-leg takedown and closed out the round by hitting his opponent with a couple of elbows from the top position.
In the third and final round, both martial artists gave everything they had. However, it was Johnson, the 12-time mixed martial arts Flyweight World Champion, who barely took his foot off the gas.
The American caught Wada off guard with another takedown, and he peppered the Japanese star with punches, knees, and elbows.
Wada showed his toughness to survive, and he even secured the 32-year-old’s back at the very end. However, it was not enough to claim victory.
Johnson’s extraordinary turnaround left a lasting impression on the judges, who rendered a unanimous decision in his favor.
The win pushed his record to 29-3-1 and moved him into the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix final.