By Jun Ray Navarres
Danny Kingad showed no signs if rust despite being on a hiatus for 14 months, scripting the perfect comeback for him and the whole stable of Team Lakay.
The Baguio-native bared his fangs against Asian wrestling medalist Eko Roni Saputra by beating him in his own game to score the perfect unanimous decision victory at ONE: Fight Night 7 at Bangkok, Thailand.
Kingad proved to be too much to handle for Saputra as the Filipino fighter tried to finish him in different aspects of the sports – wrestling, submission, and striking.
But that wasn’t supposed to be the plan as Kingad shared some of his initial game plan with Team Lakay maestro Mark Sangiao.
“Our game plan was really focused on striking originally, but I saw that I can stay ahead of him in both striking and wrestling,” admitted Kingad.
“When he gave me the opening to take him down, I just went for it because I was able to grab a hold of his body and that’s when I decided to do it.”
Kingad surprised the Indonesian by initiating the takedown which later turned into a suplex just a few second after the sound of the first bell.
“We were in a clinch, and he was trying to take me down,” the No. 3-ranked flyweight continued. “I tried to take him down as well and it came to my mind that I could easily do it, even if he is a wrestler. When I was able to lift him, I knew I could take down a wrestler like him.”
And Saputra has no time to relax as whenever he gets away from the ground pressure of Kingad, the superior wushu based striking of the coveted stable quickly took over.
A spinning elbow managed to find Saputra’s face, but Kingad was unable to capitalized for an even perfect ending for his comeback.
“We really did prepare for all aspects. Wrestling, striking, ground game, I should really be prepared for all those things so I can still continue fighting regardless of where the fight goes,” explained Kingad.
Not too far from the stable’s heyday, Kingad is eager to show that other gyms should stop looking at Team Lakay as a ‘stand-up only stable’ and that they could take the fight down to the canvass if necessary.
“Of course, we were keen to prove that Team Lakay is not just a strikers-only gym. Ground game, wrestling, striking, all of that, we have it now and we can do it in the Circle or in the ring,” said Kingad. “I proved in my fight that we can do all aspects of MMA.”
Kingad’s win not only reestablish his name in the rankings but also to recover from the slump the stable has been experiencing lately.
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