ONE Championship has signed numerous strawweight champions from Japanese promotions. Namiki Kawahara is the latest in a long line and the man who currently holds the Deep 115lbs strap knows he will have to do something special if he wants to stand out from the crowd.

Kawahara will face Lito Adiwang at ONE: ‘Unbreakable’ on Friday. The Filipino is coming off a split decision loss to Shooto strawweight champion Hiroba Minowa and the 31 year old is adamant he will do better than his compatriot did,

“It was a really close fight and to be honest, as a result, he won, but it wasn’t that interesting. What I have to show is a better way to win.”

Namiki Kawahara body triangles Haruo Ochi

Keizuke Takazawa / MMA Planet

Awesome and aggressive 

Their fight will be the first on the card at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Kawahara sees it as an opportunity to introduce himself to a new audience and he wants to do it in style.

He is coming off back to back stoppage wins. The most recent came at the expense of the experienced Haruo Ochi at Deep 97 and it earned Kawahara the promotion’s strawweight strap.

Kawahara is adamant that he won’t settle for a lacklustre decision win over Adiwang. He wants to put on a ‘fight of the night’ performance,

“It’s the first bout but the opening bout is going to be awesome, aggressive. It’s going to be a knockout fight, but only one man is going to be standing at the end,” he said.

Namiki Kawahara faces Haruo Ochi

Keizuke Takazawa / MMA Planet

Short notice

Five of his 12 fights have gone the distance. But Kawahara wants to make sure that this one doesn’t,

“All I’m thinking about is finishing him, that’s my aim. If it’s stand-up, I’ll knock him out. If it goes to the ground, I will submit him. It’s as simple as that.”

Adiwang was originally booked to face Hexigetu but the Chinese fighter pulled out last week. It was short notice for Kawahara but he felt the opportunity was simply too good to turn down,

“Before I got the offer, I was training and my condition was really good, so I had to take it,” he said.

Namiki Kawahara winner

Keizuke Takazawa / MMA Planet

Dangerous opponent

Adiwang beat former flyweight King of Pancrase Senzo Ikeda at ONE: ‘Century’ Part I in Tokyo. The Filipino was on a run of seven straight wins before the split decision defeat at the hands of Minowa but Kawahara does not read too much into his opponent’s previous results,

“Lito is a really, really good fighter, but whoever he knocked out in the past doesn’t matter. He has never fought me, Lito might be dangerous, but I am also dangerous and I will prove that.”

Adiwang is not currently ranked in the top five at strawweight. But he represents the famous Team Lakay and was seen as a top contender before losing to Minowa last month so would clearly be a big name on Kawahara’s resume.

The Japanese fighters says it ‘doesn’t matter’ who he is matched with. Having received a last minute opportunity to compete for ONE Championship he is determined to make the most of it,

“I decided to compete in ONE to become the champion so whoever my opponent is, it doesn’t matter. I just have to win and beat him up,” he says.