Ernesto “Iron” Montilla Jr. knows not many people are picking him to beat Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada when he makes his ONE Championship debut, but the 31-year-old is hearing none of it.
The ONE Warrior Series Philippines alumnus makes his long-awaited debut in The Home of Martial Arts against the Japanese veteran this Friday, 17 March, at ONE Friday Fights 9 inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, in a flyweight MMA bout.
While Montilla has established himself as one of the best homegrown fighters in the Philippines, the experience between the two is daunting because Wada has 35 fights under his belt.
Despite that, Montilla is confident that he can dispatch “The Sweeper.”
“I don’t care about being the underdog because I came to win,” he said.
The former Philippine flyweight MMA champion is pretty well-rounded himself, but a lot of people still expect the Japanese athlete to try and grind him out on the canvas.
Despite Wada’s experience, Montilla believes he’s going to be the one doing the exposing, as he plans to take advantage of their perceived gap in the striking department.
“He and his fans are in for a surprise this Friday,” Montilla said.
“I see some holes in his striking, and I think I can get him there. I prepared for his weakness, which is his striking,” he said. “But, I didn’t sleep on my grappling too. He will be surprised, not just in the standup.”
That’s why he’s confident that he can finish Wada wherever the fight goes, be it via striking or in the grappling exchanges.
“My goal is to win,” he said, “by either knockout or submission [in] whichever round.”
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