James Nakashima sealed the biggest victory of his career on Friday, 2 August.
The undefeated American ripped through Japanese mixed martial arts legend Yushin “Thunder” Okami at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in Manila, Philippines, and he inched closer to a crack at the ONE Welterweight World Championship.
Both athletes kicked off the showdown inside the Mall Of Asia Arena from the southpaw stance, but the striking did not last long.
Welterweight contender James Nakashima ???????? remains undefeated with a POWERFUL unanimous decision win over Japanese legend Yushin Okami!????: 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
Nearly a minute into the bout, Okami used his judo black belt expertise and tried to take the action to the canvas.
The Japanese icon eventually landed the takedown he was looking for, but Nakashima was difficult to keep on the mat. He quickly rose to his feet and almost connected with a spinning elbow.
Although “Thunder” hit another takedown, the 30-year-old American continued to prove why he is one of the most feared athletes on the ground in ONE Championship’s welterweight division.
The former collegiate wrestler escaped his rival’s grip and then brilliantly countered. He found himself in half guard, transitioned to mount, and then locked in a tight neck crank. “Thunder” refused to quit, however, and worked back to his feet to end the opening period.
Okami knew he had to switch his game plan in the second round to find success. With that in mind, he stormed out of his corner with huge jabs.
During this exchange, Nakashima surprised his foe again — this time with a huge left cross. He dropped the Japanese warrior and followed him to the mat with punches, but Okami’s veteran experience came into play.
He negated the American’s attack and worked his way back to his feet, but the MMA Lab representative latched onto the 38-year-old’s back, threw knees into his legs, and peppered him with punches to the head.
In the third and final round, the Japanese legend applied forward pressure and looked for the takedown again, but Nakashima’s defense continued to frustrate the established competitor.
Even when Okami managed to bring the action to the mat, the Arizona resident forced him to battle for every inch.
Nakashima scrambled to top position and pressured his opponent with punches. At one point, he briefly secured back mount and went for a rear-naked choke.
“Thunder” escaped the predicament and returned to his feet, but he was unable to land any effective strikes as the bout came to a close.
In victory, Nakashima elevated his spotless record to 12-0, and he could be eyeing a match-up with ONE Welterweight World Champion Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam next.