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The Stars Predict Reece McLaren Vs. Aleksi Toivonen

Oct 7, 2020

ONE Championship’s global fan base may be eager to watch some martial arts action this weekend, but they aren’t the only ones. Many of the promotion’s other superstars are excited to tune in, too.

This Friday, 9 October, the world’s largest martial arts organization will hold ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES in Singapore, and the co-main event has grabbed everyone’s attention.

That matchup will see #5-ranked flyweight mixed martial arts contender Reece “Lightning” McLaren square off against undefeated juggernaut Aleksi “The Giant” Toivonen. The winner will cement their spot in ONE’s Athlete Rankings and step closer to a ONE Flyweight World Title opportunity.

Before these two warriors step inside the Circle for the co-main event showdown, let’s check out some predictions from their fellow martial arts stars.

Arjan “Singh” Bhullar

Indian mixed martial artist Arjan Bhullar headshot

“I’m going with Reece McLaren, and it’s a heavy bias as to why.

“I have been able to see him fight live (at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in August 2019) and was beside his family throughout the affair. I felt what they were feeling. I connected with their reactions and love for their boy – it’s similar to what my family has for me.

“For that reason alone, I would like to see him have a big win in the co-main event.”

Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada

DEEP Flyweight World Champion Tatsumitsu "The Sweeper" Wada heads to the Circle in January 2020

“I think Reece McLaren will win. Seeing the past opponents of both of them, I think McLaren has fought against more difficult ones.

“Also, in a recent interview, Toivonen said, ‘I’m a grappler without a grappling camp this time,’ which makes me somewhat concerned.”

Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio

Geje Eustaquio bites his mouthguard in the ring

“I think McLaren is more experienced when it comes to this competition, but it’s still mixed martial arts, so we can’t really predict it.

“If Aleksi can keep the fight standing up and maintain his distance from McLaren, he will win this. If not, then Reece will probably take the fight to the ground and win via submission.”

Stefer “The Lion” Rahardian

Stefer Rahardian makes his return

“I think the one who has more impressive grappling will be victorious in this match. Seeing McLaren’s past fights and skills, I predict he will be the victor.

“Let’s take a look at his fight against Danny Kingad last year. Though he lost the match, he managed to show good scrambling throughout the fight. He fought relentlessly, was fast, and made many initiatives. McLaren’s transition from one grappling position to another was fantastic.

“McLaren also has more experience because he has faced the likes of Bibiano Fernandes. And if he wins this upcoming battle, I think he would have an excellent chance to meet Demetrious Johnson next. My prediction is McLaren will win via submission in round two.”

Elliot “The Dragon” Compton

Australian Muay Thai fighter Elliot Compton

“McLaren is one of the most exciting Aussies in ONE Championship and shows his charisma in each bout. Meanwhile, Toivonen is a killer and is going to be looking to make a statement.

“On paper, this is set to be a grappling fan’s dream fight, with both of these athletes boasting a resume full of slick submission finishes. McLaren is a black belt in BJJ, but his striking is tactical and powerful.

“I think McLaren has more experience, particularly at a high level, having faced some of the greats like Fernandes, Wada, and Kingad, and he will need to draw on that experience if he wishes to hand Toivonen his first career loss.

“I see McLaren controlling this fight and taking home a decision or submission win.”



Amir Khan

Singaporean knockout artist Amir Khan looks set for battle

“I think it’s an amazing matchup!

“Even though Aleksi has had only one fight in ONE, people don’t really know how skilled he is. It is not only his grappling. His striking has gotten really sharp since joining Evolve.

“It’s time to showcase his skills to the world and show that he is one of the top contenders of his division.”

Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang

Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series Contract Winner Lito Adiwang

“Both fighters are good on the ground, so whoever has the better striking will win the fight. Maybe one can also get an early submission when they are both not sweaty and slippery yet.

“I’ll have to give the edge to McLaren in this bout. I’m giving it to him due to his experience. I see him controlling the fight and winning via unanimous decision.”

Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada

Ryuto Sawada wins his ONE debut at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD

“I think Aleksi will win. He’s my teammate, too, and we have been training together in mixed martial arts.

“He is strong both in grappling and striking. His ground skill is so good, too. He can keep his opponents down, and he is able to finish them. He’s strong overall.”

“The Terminator” Sunoto

"The Terminator" Sunoto raises the Indonesian flag following his big win

“This fight is going to be crazy. It’s hard to predict for me. McLaren and Toivonen are both agile, powerful, and have good takedown techniques.

“Toivonen is powerful and has knockout power. He also possesses good takedown defense. In terms of power, he is more powerful than McLaren because he has bigger muscles.

“McLaren is good at grappling and has good speed. The way I see it, McLaren will manage to take his opponent down many times, but Toivonen will quickly return to his feet. I think their chances are almost equal, so anything is possible.

“McLaren has speed and is good at kicking, while in terms of power, Toivonen is better. Overall, they are both well-rounded.”

Rudy “The Golden Boy” Agustian

Indonesian mixed martial artist Rudy Agustian

“Reece is very skilled in submitting his opponents and has a good fighting style. Meanwhile, Aleksi is a well-rounded fighter. Also, he trains at Evolve, so it goes without saying that he has prepared well for this match.

“I think it will be exciting, and I have a feeling that Reece has a better chance of winning. He looks like a ‘bad boy’ who loves to fight and apply pressure to his opponents.

“They both have excellent skills and have the potential to be superstars, so I think it’ll go down to the judges’ decision.”

Read more: The Man Who Took Reece McLaren’s Game To Another Level