Reece “Lightning” McLaren has been handed a massive opportunity to re-enter the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix, and he will not let it go to waste.
McLaren was deep in preparation for a bout with Japan’s Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu on the same bill, but when Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov was forced to withdraw due to injury, he was offered the chance to rejoin the most prestigious flyweight tournament in mixed martial arts.
Without a second thought, he immediately accepted the bout and turned his attention to the Team Lakay wushu specialist.
Ahead of this dynamic showdown in the Mall Of Asia Arena, the 27-year-old shares his thoughts on this pivotal contest, the rest of the World Grand Prix, and much more.
The call to pursue his martial dreams was too strong for Reece "Lightning" Mclaren to ignore. Now, he is just ONE win away from a spot in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix final! : Manila | 2 August | 5PM | ONE: DAWN OF HEROES: Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/oneheroes19: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp : Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, July 22, 2019
ONE Championship: What were your first thoughts when you got the call to re-enter the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix?
Reece McLaren: I was stoked. I obviously felt bad for Kairat — I wish no injury on anyone and I wish him a speedy recovery — but getting a second opportunity to continue in this Grand Prix is a total blessing and I’m glad to be the one they picked for it. We’re grabbing this opportunity with both hands and running full bolt with it. It’s exciting.
ONE: What have you taken away from your quarterfinal bout with Akhmetov that will help you now that you’re back in the tournament?
RM: The Kairat bout was a hard pill to swallow. I still feel like I did enough to take that one. I feel like if it was round by round, I took two rounds to one. But if that’s how the judges saw it, then I guess that’s the way it goes. I’ve basically gone back to the drawing board, looked at what we did wrong, saw patterns that went wrong, and fixed them.
ONE: How long have you been watching Danny Kingad?
RM: You’re watching everyone in the division as you may get matched with them at any stage. We’ve been keeping an eye on everyone, but focusing primarily on who we got matched with first. First and foremost, it’s one match at a time. I roll that way, and that’s the way we’re approaching this.
Will Reece "Lightning" Mclaren's grappling game be his to victory against Danny "The King" Kingad?: Manila | 2 August | 7PM | ONE: DAWN OF HEROES: Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/oneheroes19: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp : Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, July 17, 2019
ONE: You’ve gone from training for Wakamatsu to training for Kingad. Was there much that you felt like you had to change in regards to their styles?
RM: We feel that, if anything, Danny is more well-rounded as a mixed martial artist, but it basically stays the same. I am working on my strengths to exploit any weaknesses.
ONE: Kingad is on a good run, and he has been in lots of high-tempo bouts against tough opponents. Will conditioning be one of the keys to victory?
RM: The Team Lakay boys always come in super fit. They’re known for their fitness coming down from the mountains. It’s no secret that I always come in super fit as well. I’m always pushing my fitness and my skill. Skill is what it will come down to, to be honest.
ONE: You’re known for your grappling ability and great finishes on the ground. Is that where you feel you have the biggest edge?
RM: My edge will be jiu-jitsu — I’m just better at jiu-jitsu than he is. I like that I am a specialist in grappling. I have one area of the game that I specialize in, and that’s where I have an advantage. You can see that with the finishes I have.
ONE: The other semifinal match-up between Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is featured on the same card in Manila. You have faced Wada before — what do you think are his chances against Johnson?
RM: Wada is crafty, and he is super rangy. I don’t know if you’ve ever met “Mighty Mouse” before, but he is actually quite small in his frame and everything, so I think if Wada will do it, he will use his size and his reach. He’s a lot longer than you think.
ONE: You mentioned before it would be an honor to compete against Johnson. How does it feel to have that chance reignited if you get past Kingad?
RM: It was exciting and a massive honor for myself to even be put in this tournament, so it is a massive blessing to have another shot. I’m so thankful. I feel like if this was a movie, this would be the way it would go — you would be on the opposite end of the tournament to “Mighty Mouse” and you’d meet him in the final.
ONE: How do you feel the bout against Kingad will go?
RM: I don’t like to try and influence the outcome or make any predictions. I just think it will be a super exciting bout, and everybody should tune in!
Manila | 2 August | 7PM | DAWN OF HEROES | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes19