Former ONE Flyweight World Title challenger Danny “The King” Kingad
is on a roll.
Ever since losing to the division’s reigning king Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes in November 2017, the Baguio City native has won five consecutive bouts.
Now, he is looking to extend his streak and advance to the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix finals.
The 23-year-old is set to take on former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov in the tournament semifinals, and Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao believes this will be his student’s toughest challenge yet.
Akhmetov has shown tons of improvement in his game, which was most evident when he ran through former bantamweight contender Reece “Lightning” McLaren in the World Grand Prix quarterfinals this past March.
“Kairat has certainly improved a lot, especially when it comes to his wrestling,” Sangiao said.
“He’s become a lot tougher, and we’ve also seen him outclass Reece McLaren in the striking department of their last fight. This is a different Akhmetov now.”
Akhmetov is a three-time National Greco-Roman Champion in Kazakhstan, and he also captured regional championships in taekwondo.
The 31-year-old started his professional mixed martial arts career in perfect fashion by winning his first 22 bouts. He joined ONE Championship
in November 2015 and defeated Moraes via split decision to claim the ONE Flyweight World Title in his promotional debut.
He would lose the belt to the Brazilian in his next match-up, and only experienced one more defeat in his career — coincidentally, to Kingad’s Team Lakay comrade Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio.
Despite the tough assignment ahead, Sangiao is still confident in “The King” and he believes facing Akhmetov will bring out the best in him.
“I don’t have any problems with Danny because he’s a hard worker,” Sangiao said.
“Every fight, he aims to improve. He really wants to become a champion, and I know in my heart that he’ll go far in this sport.”