Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada intends to put on a show for his countrymen when he steps back into the cage for ONE Championship’s inaugural Japan event on Sunday, 31 March.
This clash will be one of four ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix quarter-final bouts taking place on the monstrous card, and the 30-year-old Japanese competitor knows this could be his breakout moment.
Not only is the local hero determined to use this tournament as a pathway to the ONE Flyweight World Title, but he is also inspired to leave a strong impression on the crowd watching at the historic Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.
“It’s been a while [since I last competed there], so I am happy to fight in Japan,” he says. “Japanese fans understand martial arts and in order to get their support, I must perform well.”
Since making his professional debut in January 2008, Wada has emerged as one of the best mixed martial artists in his weight class.
The Tokyo resident enjoyed two reigns as the DEEP Flyweight World Champion, as he originally captured the gold in August 2013, and later reclaimed it in June 2016.
He brought his exciting style and immense momentum to The Home Of Martial Arts in July 2018, where he has continued to impress.
However, the Japanese athlete’s most impressive work happened at ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM last November. He tapped out Filipino knockout artist Eugene Toquero in 52 seconds to earn the third fastest submission victory in ONE flyweight history.
Even though he is known for his grappling prowess, “The Sweeper” will exercise caution when he meets Delfino.
The Brazilian carries a flawless 8-0 professional record into their three-round contest, with five of his career victories ending via submission and one via knockout.
Wada knows every athlete participating in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix is an elite competitor, including “Monstrinho,” and it will take everything in his arsenal to advance to the semi-finals.
“He has never lost, so he is not weak,” the Japanese combatant says. “I’m going to be careful about his submissions.”
Most notably, Wada has placed a premium on his stand-up techniques.
The athlete comes from a karate and judo background, which he learned during his childhood in the Yamanashi prefecture of Japan.
Although ONE’s global audience has become familiar with his high-level grappling, he believes his sharpened stand-up techniques will serve as the perfect foil to the unbeaten Brazilian.
“I have been improving my striking,” Wada states. “[The key to victory will be] how much I can kick and punch. But I’ll use all my skills [to win].”
Should “The Sweeper” successfully execute his plan, then he could spoil Delfino’s debut and move one round closer towards securing the World Title shot he covets so deeply.