DANNY Kingad will face a new opponent for ONE Championship’s Dawn of Heroes on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Kingad, who was earlier slated to square off against Kairat Akhmetov gets a new opponent in Reece McLaren in the semifinals of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
ONE Championship, in a statement, said McLaren will replace Akhmetov who was forced to withdraw in the fight card due to an injury.
Kingad hails from Sadanga in the Mountain Province, but he went to school in Baguio City and began training in wushu at the famed Team Lakay in 2012, and went on to win gold medals in several local tournaments.
Inspired by the success of his esteemed teammates such as former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang, he then turned his attention to the cage. Kingad made a successful start to his professional career in 2014, debuting with ONE Championship on the way to an impressive 8-0 record.
This earned him a shot at the ONE Flyweight World Championship against Adriano Moraes, but the Igorot warrior failed in his first bid at World Title glory.
Now, Kingad is back on the title hunt. After getting past Senzo Ikeda in the first round of the grand prix, Kingad will have to defeat McLaren in order to clinch a finals berth.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, McLaren is a highly-decorated martial artist, claiming the Eternal MMA and XFL Bantamweight Championships before making his ONE Championship debut.
Mclaren emerged on the global stage in spectacular fashion, scoring a stunning upset by submitting Mark Striegl for a hugely impressive win. He would continue that trend of success against highly-regarded prospect Muin Gafurov, and earn a shot at the ONE Bantamweight World Championship against dominant titleholder Bibiano Fernandes. McLaren gave the living legend an incredibly tough test, but narrowly missed out on gold via split decision.
After bowing out of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix to Akhmetov via decision, McLaren steps right back into the mix to replace the injured Kazakh against Kingad in the semi-final round.
The winner of the match will move on to the finals at ONE: Century on October 13, where they will face whoever gets their hand raised when Demetrious Johnson faces Tatsumitsu Wada later on the main card.
McLaren was scheduled to meet Yuya Wakamatsu also on 2 August, but the Japanese athlete will now face Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio.