Wushu masters of Team Lakay ready to produce Muay Thai champions for ONE

Is it time for Team Lakay to dip its toes into the Muay Thai arena in ONE Championship?

Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio and strawweight rising star Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang both believe that the time is due for the decorated Baguio-based stable to test its mettle in the art of eight limbs.

"Muay Thai is still martial arts, so for me it's just a matter of learning the specific rules and I'm fine with it," Eustaquio said.

Adiwang agreed, saying: "For me, it's not that big of an adjustment for us to transition to Muay Thai because it's almost the same in wushu where we punch and we kick. So for us to thrive there, we just need to develop more of our knee and elbow strikes."

It's an exciting possibility to think about.

So far, there were only three Filipinos who have fought in ONE Super Series matches in ONE Championship -- Ryan Jakiri, and Fil-Am fighters Jackie Buntan, who last beat Daniela Lopez in the lead card of ONE: EMPOWER last month; and KC "Pinay Fight" Carlos, who suffered a technical knockout loss to Wondergirl Fairtex at ONE: A NEW BREED back in August 2020.

Meanwhile, Team Lakay fighters have mostly competed in MMA rules under the ONE umbrella.

But both Adiwang and Eustaquio believe that Filipinos also have the capacity to make their marks in Muay Thai.

"Filipinos are great at Muay Thai, too. I have seen great Igorot warriors who excelled in Muay Thai internationally and we even have world champions in Muay Thai from the mountains. So for me in my own opinion, there is nothing Filipinos can’t do," said Eustaquio.

It's also the same case for Adiwang.

"I 100-percent believe that Filipinos can also flourish in Muay Thai because our athletes here have the heart, they have the mentality and skills, and they just need opportunity and a good training camp. If they are given that, then I believe you will see Filipino Muay Thai athletes grow soon," he said.

Would it come from Team Lakay? Don't rule that possibility out.

Theoretically, it's true that wushu practitioners like those from Team Lakay wouldn't have much difficulty adjusting to Muay Thai. After all, they have carved solid reputations as one of the most lethal strikers in The Home of Martial Arts.

"Both sports carry the values and right attitude toward success and great life. Both Muay Thai and wushu are good arts to discipline and I believe they mold kids to become better individuals in the society," said Eustaquio.

Yet there's one significant difference between the two martial arts: dumping.

"The big difference in my objective point of view is the takedowns. Wushu does wrestling while Muay Thai only does dumping," said Gravity, to which the Thunder Kid further elaborated, "In Muay Thai, instead of making the takedown, they do sweep or dump. They also start slow in Muay Thai where there's some kind of a feeling out process, while in wushu, we always try to start fast and try to be explosive."

But just like newcomers trying another sport, the Igorot warriors believe that with enough training time, they can adapt well to the sport of Muay Thai and thrive, just like what they did in the mixed martial arts field.

"I see it as a 50-percent adjustment because of the need to develop the knee and elbow strikes," said Adiwang.

As much as the prospects excite both Adiwang and Eustaquio, they reiterate that their main goals remain in continuing to climb the ladders in their respective weight classes.

"I’m open to it, but of course I will do that after I get that belt back," said Eustaquio, who still has his eyes set on current ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano "Mikinho" Moraes.

Adiwang, who expressed his desire to be the able replacement in case substitutions need to be made for the hybrid MMA-Muay Thai match between Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson and Rodtang "The Iron Man" Jitmuangnon at ONE X, also feels the same way.

"I am open about it as long as it's a good timing for me and that won't affect my rise in MMA," he said.

Topics: Team Lakay , ONE Championship , Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio , Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang
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