Former title contender Danny Kingad will keep a close eye on the flyweight bout between Australia-raised Filipino Reece McLaren and Finland’s Aleksi Toivonen when ONE Championship returns Friday night.
The fight is part of ONE: Reign of Dynasties slate in Singapore.
"Who knows, maybe I will meet the winner down the line at some point. That’s why I’ll be watching this fight closely,” Kingad said.
He tackled McLaren in August 2019, after the latter stepped in to replace injured Kairat Akhmetov in the semis of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
Kingad eked out a split decision victory over the Australian, earning his spot across Demetrious Johnson in the finals, a bout Kingad lost by unanimous decision.
“Back when I faced Reece, I knew instantly his skill on the ground. He is such a difficult matchup for anyone. I had to focus on my submission defense against a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. It was dangerous at every moment,” he said.
“Reece is a very smart fighter. He knows how to take you down and submit you. His striking is somewhat of a weakness, but you can’t underestimate anybody in this game.
“Reece’s ground game is so good, his lack of striking hardly matters. Once he gets you down, he will work every second to finish.”
Kingad ranks behind reigning ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes and 12-time former UFC flyweight king Johnson.
Although he has yet to face Toivonen, the Team Lakay stalwart believes he’s an interesting matchup for McLaren.
If Toivonen beats McLaren, he could take the Australian’s spot on the official rankings at No. 5. Meanwhile, a victory for McLaren could solidify his position, or move him further up the ladder.
“From what I can tell, Aleksi is also a great grappler. But training with the world champions at Evolve MMA, many of whom are boxing and Muay Thai world champions, Aleksi should have a better standup game,” Kingad said.