Danny “The King” Kingad relaunched his rise to the top of the flyweight division at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this past Friday, 9 March.
Kingad’s match with 20-bout Bulgarian veteran Sotir “The Trouble” Kichukov was his first contest outside of the Philippines, but he looked equally at home in the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Filipino bounced back from his defeat to ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes to secure the ninth win of his professional career.
“The King” started the bout fast, securing a near-instant takedown on Kichukov before moving into side control. Though best known for his wushu striking, Kingad showcased his ground game in impressive fashion. He used Kichukov’s attempt to stand up as an opportunity to swiftly move to the Bulgarian’s back.
Kichukov recovered his composure after that initial flurry on the floor, and scrambled back to top position before the bout eventually returned to the feet for the end of the round.
The second frame started with “The Trouble” putting Kingad in big trouble, as the Filipino’s takedown attempt resulted in Kichukov locking up a tight guillotine choke. Kingad remained calm and managed to escape, and then returned to his bread and butter — his wushu striking.
He landed some spectacular strikes, and looked to impose himself on his more experienced opponent, but Kichukov matched “The King,” and ended the stanza with another guillotine attempt.
The third round began with the result of the contest still in the balance. Both men looked to establish dominance over the other, with Kichukov initiating an early scramble on the mat.
Kingad looked to keep the bout on the feet, but “The Trouble” caught the Filipino catching his breath against the cage. He took the chance to take “The King” to the canvas, moved to back control, and went to work on a rear-naked choke.
With both men battling all the way to the scorecards, it was left to the judges to determine the victor after a hugely competitive encounter. And after the scorecards were collated, all three judges were in agreement as Kingad’s hand was raised.
Kichukov may have had more career wins than Kingad had bouts, but the result proved that, at just 22, “The King” already has the grit, determination, and maturity to battle toe-to-toe with a seasoned martial arts veteran and come out victorious.
With a host of contenders queueing up for opportunities at the top end of the ONE flyweight division, expect the Filipino to be involved in another high-level matchup when he returns to action later this year.