Reece “Lightning” McLaren – who recently came under Parr’s wing at Boonchu Muay Thai Gym in Australia – is set to face Chinese phenom “The Hunter” Xie Wei in a flyweight MMA contest at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
McLaren has long been one of the most talented grapplers in the division, but “The Gunslinger” says fans can expect a more complete fighter when the #5 contender battles Xie.
Parr told ONE Championship:
“His boxing has increased, his kicking has improved, his defenses are getting a lot better as well. It’s just an exciting, exciting prospect. He has incredible jiu-jitsu and wrestling. And then the last missing piece was just to add a little bit more striking. So we’ve been working on that for the last few months.
“Reece just decided he’s going to really work on his striking to get to the next level. It’s been so much fun having him. Every time he comes to the gym, he has really good energy. We’ve got a really good relationship, and he trains super hard. He’s really fun to train, and I’m really excited to see him compete.”
McLaren joined ONE Championship in 2015 and made a splash with solid wins over highly regarded opponents. He then fell just short in a ONE Bantamweight World Title challenge of former divisional king Bibiano Fernandes.
Xie, meanwhie, has been steadily climbing the division and would likely crack the top-five rankings with a victory over “Lightning” on Friday. The explosive striker has knocked out three consecutive opponents and has recorded 12 finishes in 16 career wins.
With that in mind, Parr can’t wait to see McLaren’s upgraded power and precision when he engages with “The Hunter” in the stand-up game.
“The Gunslinger” said:
“It’s gonna be a very competitive match. Yeah, I just think people are going to be surprised with Reece’s power. He’s really putting in the work on the fundamentals and just making sure everything counts, so there’s no wasting shots. [Reece is] going to put on a striking performance. We know his opponent is a striker as well, so it’s going to be very competitive.”
John Wayne Parr Says Tawanchai Is ‘The Scariest Guy’ In ONE
John Wayne Parr is enjoying his retirement following a thrilling final battle with former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang at ONE X in March.
These days, the 46-year-old loves to watch up-and-coming talent represent the sport of Muay Thai on the global stage. And he’s particularly hyped about 23-year-old sensation Tawanchai PK.Saenchai.
The Thai superstar will face Denmark’s Niclas “Dramchaser” Larsen in the main event of ONE 158 this Friday. It’s an official ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title eliminator, with the winner earning a shot against reigning king Petchmorakot Petchyindee.
Parr was all praise for Tawanchai ahead of fight night, offering up some huge compliments:
“Tawanchai is probably the scariest guy on the ONE Championship roster. In the striking division, he’s just a beast. He beat my friend Sean [Clancy] from Ireland, and then he’s just pure evil and amazing.”