Danial Williams has won himself a lot of fans during his three fight stint with ONE Championship. After losing an entertaining Muay Thai fight to Rodtang Jitmuangnon on his debut he switched to MMA and is coming off back to back wins.

He has beaten former Deep strawweight champion Namiki Kawahara and former ONE Championship strawweight champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke during this stint. Next up for Williams is a bout at ONE 159 with the most experienced opponent he has ever faced.

Zhaxi Zelang is a veteran of 23 fights and Williams expects the experienced Chinese fighter to take a strategic approach,

“It’s a tricky fight. It’s one of those fights where it’s hard to build a game plan, but I’m preparing for the worst. And the worst is him just shooting for takedowns, fighting it on the ground, and that’s what I’m going to expect him to do.”

Toughest fight

Zelang has never fought outside of China before but Williams sees this as the toughest fight of his MMA career,

“He’s got so many fights in MMA, so I feel it’s going to be a really tough fight for me. Probably the hardest MMA fight that I’ve had at this point.”

He doesn’t think the Chinese fighter has what it takes to stay in the pocket and trade strikes with him. Williams demonstrated just how good his striking is during the fight with Rodtang and doesn’t think Zelang will want any part of it,

“His boxing is good, he’s also got fast hands but I think his biggest flaw is his striking. From what I’ve seen, he’s quite quick and he can throw his combos together but I think when he’s throwing those power shots against me he’s going to be frustrated and that’s when he’s going to want to shoot for the takedowns.”

Patient approach

Williams admits that he will need to be patient and not ‘go crazy’ looking for the finish,

“I think I’ll be able to handle his grappling or takedowns, and I’ll slowly take him apart in the stand-up department. I want to break him really. I want to land those good shots, but not go too crazy hunting for the finish. I want to touch him multiple times, and the more I land, the faster he will wear down.”

This will be William’s third fight of the year. Not many fighters on the roster have been as active and the 29 year old thinks he keeps getting invited back because he always puts in entertaining performances,

“To me, I only have 15 minutes to perform, and I want to ensure that each minute is me exerting my energy and skills to the fullest. That’s how I put on good fights, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I keep on getting called back to compete. I always train to keep the action packed, so I want to excite the fans and get the win.”

He is not currently ranked but a third win would really make Williams a contender for a spot in the top five. He already has his sights set on a couple of experienced Filipino fighters but wants to focus on his own performances rather than calling anyone else out,

“I definitely have been putting some of the fighters that have been there for a while on notice, the Lito Adiwangs, the Jeremy Miados. I won’t get too ahead of myself in MMA, but I just want to focus on getting better and see how I perform in this fight before fighting the next guys.”