MANILA, Philippines -- Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao is bracing for a busy April as several of his fighters are set to see action on ONE Championships' "ONE on TNT" series.
Among the most anticipated fights is Stephen Loman's debut for the promotion on April 21 against top-ranked bantamweight contender John "Hands of Stone" Lineker on ONE on TNT III.
Brazil's Lineker, a former UFC competitor, is favored heading into the bout but Sangiao believes Loman can pull off the upset.
"I wasn't surprised with this matchup. When we have big names from other promotions joining ONE Championship, they get put to the test immediately," said Sangiao.
"Stephen is the longest running champion in Brave CF history. They put him up against a UFC veteran and an all-around dangerous fighter in John Lineker," he added.
"I'm confident Stephen can pull this off."
Loman, 29, will carry an eight-match winning streak into the bout. His last match at Brave CF came in November 2019, when he beat Louie Sanoudakis via unanimous decision.
Sangiao has been satisfied with how Loman is training, as he observes that the fighter is "so focused and driven."
"He's very strong and determined. I can see the fire and the eagerness in him. He's got a great, positive attitude, and he trains like a machine. That's how fired up he is for this fight. He's showing incredible discipline and determination. It's great to see," the coach said.
Lineker will be a massive challenge for Loman. In his most recent fight, Lineker took care of business against former ONE bantamweight world champion and another Team Lakay standout Kevin Belingon.
The Brazilian dominated "The Silencer," winning via technical knockout in the second round.
Sangiao made it clear that revenge won't be Loman's motivation against Lineker, as he wants the Filipino fighter to keep his wits about him against such a dangerous opponent.
"We don't really focus on revenge here," Sangiao pointed out. "Kevin lost, and it was a learning experience. It wasn't anything personal, and there's nothing to avenge."
"I have Stephen focused on the game plan, dissecting this fight from the inside-out and developing the right strategy. There are many ways to defeat Lineker, and we're working on that," he added.
Given what he knows of both fighters, Sangiao is anticipating a knockout finish, and he hopes it goes Loman's way.
"We're going to have to earn Lineker's respect early. Both guys have power. But we're not going in there recklessly," he said.
"We're coming up with a strong game plan to counter Lineker's strengths. This is going down to the mental aspect, to who wants it more. We can't give in, because as soon as we give in, we lose. Stephen is coming into this fight full of confidence," he added.
The ONE on TNT series will air every Wednesday in the United States from April 7 for four weeks.
"ONE on TNT III" features a blockbuster kickboxing battle between 4-time Glory kickboxing world champion Nieky "The Natural" Holzken and the legendary John Wayne Parr. Also on the card is a high-level flyweight showdown between No. 5-ranked Reece "Lightning" McLaren and No. 4-ranked Yuya "Little Piranha" Wakamatsu.