MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Danny Kingad is eager to test his skills against a man he's called out for so long.
Kingad, the second ranked flyweight in ONE Championship, will take on former world champion Kairat Akhmetov at ONE: Big Bang, which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on December 4.
It's a fight that Kingad has long asked for, and it almost happened last year in the semifinals of the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix. Unfortunately, their meeting got scuppered when Akhmetov went down with an injury.
Now, Kingad is finally getting his wish.
"I've wanted to face him for a long time, because I want to test my skills against him, particularly in wrestling," he said. "It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be a fun fight."
"I think I'm better than him in the striking department, but we'll have to wait and see in the fight," he added. "He's improved a lot."
Against Akhmetov, Kingad faces a three-time national Greco-Roman champion in Kazakhstan, and a regional taekwondo champion. While Akhmetov's biggest strength is undoubtedly his wrestling, Kingad is still wary of his striking skills. The Filipino considers his Kazakh foe "very well-rounded."
"He has good wrestling skills, but he's not just a wrestler. He can strike, too, and I shouldn't underestimate him," said Kingad.
Nonetheless, Kingad is confident that he can get the job done against Akhmetov and reaffirm his place in the division. He is bringing a 14-2 win-loss record into the match, having won seven of his last eight bouts. His lone loss came against Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson in the finals of the flyweight grand prix.
"I think I'm better than him all-around," Kingad said. "I'm very proud of my skills, and I think I have the best team behind me. We've prepared very well for this fight. We have a good strategy coming into this."
"I don't know how the fight will go," he added. "We'll know once we're in there. But I'm definitely going for the finish."
"I think this won't last two rounds. It will end with a second round knockout," he predicted.
The winner of the bout may just wind up facing the winner of the highly-anticipated title showdown between reigning ONE flyweight world champion Adriano Moraes and Johnson, the former UFC flyweight champion.
ONE: Big Bang is the first of ONE Championship's live event offerings in the month of December.
The main event features a showdown between ONE light heavyweight kickboxing world champion Roman Kryklia of the Ukraine and challenger Murat Aygun of the Netherlands.