Danny “The King” Kingad could have not scripted his triumphant comeback any better, explicitly making it clear that he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Despite coming off a 14-month layoff, the 27-year-old native of Sadanga, Mountain Province singlehandedly dominated Indonesian opponent Eko Roni Saputra over the course of three rounds to cruise to a clear-cut unanimous decision victory at ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II in Bangkok, Thailand last Saturday, February 25.
Kingad was a handful for Saputra, who had to deal with the Filipino’s impeccable takedowns, slick submission attempts, and fiery striking combinations from bell to bell.
The Team Lakay standout may have exhibited a well-rounded performance to soundly defeat Saputra, but it was far from the original plan of attack that he and head coach Mark Sangiao had devised.
“The King“ admitted that forcing Saputra to trade with him in the stand-up was the initial directive, but he took matters into his own hands when the action started to rev up opposite a two-time Southeast Asian Games medalist in freestyle wrestling.
“Our game plan was really focused on striking originally, but I saw that I can stay ahead of him in both striking and wrestling,” Kingad bared.
It all began when he took the Indonesian for a ride with a bodylock suplex a few seconds into the opening round.
“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 recalled.
“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.”
Kingad went on to beat Saputra in his own game, scoring a couple more takedowns throughout the contest.
Meanwhile, his striking pedigree managed to get a share of the spotlight, especially in the second round when he stunned Saputra with a spinning back elbow.
Though Kingad fell short of getting the finish he desired, the one-sided drubbing was enough for him to seal the deal on the scorecards.
“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,” he explained.
Many may have noticed Kingad’s newly-upgraded grappling repertoire, but for him, it’s a testament to his stable’s commitment to keeping up with the sport’s multi-faceted nature.
“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,” he shared.
“I proved in my fight that we can do all aspects of MMA.”