‘Our Fight Will Be Epic’ – Kairat Akhmetov Won’t Look Past Tatsumitsu Wada

Pictures from the main event tilt between Kairat Akhmetov and Danny Kingad from ONE: WINTER WARRIORS II

Kairat Akhmetov remains determined to reclaim the ONE Flyweight World Title, but first, he’ll need to get past another elite opponent this Friday, 3 June. 

“The Kazakh” will face off against Tatsumitsu Wada in a crucial matchup on the main card of ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen, and he won’t take anything for granted against the savvy Japanese mixed martial artist.

Wada is a veteran of 38 professional contests, and he’s consistently gone up against the division’s top athletes. Akhmetov knows “The Sweeper” brings a well-stocked arsenal into every bout, and he’s expecting a fiery encounter at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

He told ONE Championship:

“Wada is a great fighter with a lot of experience. He has had wins under his belt in ONE. He is tall, experienced, and faced some amazing opponents in the past. The luck was not always on his side, but let’s see how he shows up this time when he meets me.

“Our fight will be epic, I am sure. We will show everyone what the true heart of MMA is.”

Akhmetov will enter Friday’s battle with a four-fight winning streak and the #2 ranking in the flyweight MMA division.

Wada is currently outside the top five, but he’s claimed back-to-back victories and has gone the distance with #1 contender Demetrious Johnson, #4 Danny Kingad, and #5 Reece McLaren.

With that in mind, “The Kazakh” is not putting much stock into the rankings. Instead, he knows the skill level and experience of his opponent make him just as dangerous as any other flyweight.

Akhmetov said:

“If ONE has matched us up against each other, it means we are at the same level. And it’s true, he has had some tough luck and some good luck. Maybe he is not in ONE’s top five now, but I consider him to be a very strong opponent.

“He has strong grappling skills, he is good on his feet – quick, agile. I am sure he has done his homework and trained to combat my strong qualities. We both have our game plans. Let’s see whose game plan turns out to be better.”

Kairat Akhmetov Hopes To Earn Fights With Adriano Moraes, Demetrious Johnson

As much as Kairat Akhmetov respects Tatsumitsu Wada, he has goals that extend further on the global stage of martial arts.

For that reason, the Almaty native is extremely motivated to deliver an all-action performance and score a decisive victory one way or another.

Akhmetov said: 

“It will be a dynamic fight. We will go at it in full force. There will be some good exchanges, I am sure.

“I am good in both the stand-up and on the ground, so I will be able to go wherever he goes. But I want to push him. I am mentally very strong. I really hope he shows up in his best form so I can test all my skills.

“I want to finish him early, but I am prepared to go for all three rounds. I want to dominate him both in striking and in grappling. There will be no compromises.”

Only two men stand above the former ONE Flyweight World Champion in the divisional rankings, and he’ll be targeting both of them if he can get past “The Sweeper.”

For starters, Akhmetov would love to challenge reigning king Adriano Moraes after they split a pair of World Championship encounters in the Circle.

His heart is also set on a battle against the legendary Demetrious Johnson, and while he doesn’t want to look beyond Friday’s tough test, he is driven to succeed by these potential showdowns. 

Akhmetov added:

“By the [time I defeat Wada], I would have faced all top-ranked fighters, so it would be logical to give me a title shot or at least schedule a fight against Demetrious Johnson. 

“I took the title away from [Moraes], but he is a champion now, so we are even. Now there is a question mark over our situation, but a trilogy would be a full stop.

“I grew up watching [Johnson’s] fights, he is the top pound-for-pound fighter, and I would be interested in testing myself against him. I would love to see if he is as great as they say and also see what I can show in a fight against him, [but] I don’t want to think too much about what happens after Wada. He is my goal for now.”

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