Senzo Ikeda promises his unique, thrilling, and unorthodox style will send shockwaves through the strawweight division next Sunday, 13 October.
He feels he did not show the fans his true style in his promotional debut – even though he engaged in one of the bouts of 2019 so far – so he is ready to drop jaws with his eccentric and aggressive style in the Circle.
He has watched “Thunder Kid’s” matches in Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series (OWS) carefully and knows his style inside out. He aims to bring his inner strengths and world-class experience to the Filipino.
“He has three wins in OWS, and I think he was the best striker there,” says the Japanese athlete.
“Even in ONE Championship, I think he’s one of the top strikers, so I think a solid win over him will put me in with the best guys. If I beat him, the others won’t be so scary after that. He’s that strong an opponent.”
The Paraestra Matsudo representative was an undefeated professional boxer before he became a mixed martial arts World Champion, but he believes his rival from the Philippines’ famous Team Lakay has better stand-up skills.
“He’s probably going to come to beat me with his striking. His striking is very good. I’ve watched other strawweights, but his is excellent,” he adds.
“He always comes in confident. You can tell by his style, he’s very sure of his skills. He throws hard, even if his opponent is moving forward, throwing hard. Every strike is strong.
“Honestly, I think his kickboxing sense is greater than mine.”
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With that said, the 37-year-old from Sendai believes he has an answer for the Benguet native’s wushu-based striking.
Ikeda’s offensive stand-up is unlike anyone else’s in his sport, and he wants to show it off to get his first win in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
“I’ve studied all aspects of his game, and I have a plan. I want to surprise him with everything,” he says.
“This time, I want to show the fans my deceptive movement. I want to make fans wonder what I’m going to do next.”
However, Ikeda believes he has the attributes to get his hand raised in Tokyo – not least because he has waded through adversity and snatched victory against young, dynamic competitors before.
In the defining bout of his career to date, he thrilled fans when he defended his Pancrase belt against Yuya Wakamatsu before both men joined the world’s largest martial arts organization.
He was in big trouble at the end of the fourth round, but Ikeda dug deep to win by knockout in the final round and garner a standing ovation in the arena.
He knows that even if Adiwang hurts him, he can come back and find a way to win.
“I think my willpower is stronger, and because of that, I don’t think I can lose to anyone. That’s what I want to take with me to the match,” he says.
“I have more experience. I’ve had more matches and been in more dangerous situations. That’s probably my strongest point.”
Of course, it would be safer for Ikeda not to take any significant damage, and get a dominant win in front of his compatriots.
However, in the interest of putting on a show for the global audience that will be watching the biggest event in mixed martial arts history, he will not mind absorbing a few blows to land his own and playing his part in one of the bouts of the night.
“Of course, I want to entertain the Japanese fans, but, it’s live on TV in America, so I also want to surprise them and make them interested in my style and [ONE Championship],” he says.
“We won’t know until we actually clash, but whatever damage I take, I know my spirit will stay strong until the end. Whatever situation I’m in, come hell or high water, I’ll take the win.”
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.