Yuya Wakamatsu is fighting on the ONE: ‘Winter Warriors’ card this Friday. Just like everyone else he is looking forwards to the final of the atomweight Grand Prix but the Japanese flyweight believes there will only be one winner.
He says Stamp Fairtex is going to smash Ritu Phogat,
“I think Stamp will win. I think Ritu won’t get the takedown and will end up getting smashed up by (Stamp’s) striking. I think the quality of Phogat’s striking and Stamp’s are different, as far as I can tell.”
It is a bold prediction but Wakamatsu will have his hands full dealing with promotional newcomer Yong Hu. The Japanese fighter has a flyweight title shot on the table which makes this a potentially tricky assignment,
“If I lose this time I think it (the title shot) won’t happen. I think it’s the trend of the times, or maybe it’s fate that it wasn’t arranged yet. There’s nothing I can say about that. I just haven’t thought too much about it. At least I have a fight.”
Having only fought once in 2021 the 26 year old says he is not in a position to turn down fights,
“I’ve only had one fight this year, and it’s my job to fight as a fighter. So if I’m arranged with someone from ONE, I just do it,” he explained.
Strengths and weaknesses
Hu should be an easier opponent than reigning flyweight king Adriano Moraes. But Wakamatsu says he is taking nothing for granted,
“His strength is his sanda style of striking. It’s not a beautiful style of striking (but) he strikes with all his might, which I think is dangerous. Also, he comes forward, so that is his strength.”
But Wakamatsu, who has some impressive knockouts on his finish, sees some holes in his opponent’s defense,
“His weakness is his defense. I think he considers himself to be able to take a lot of hits. Also, I think he is not that accurate with his techniques.”
Wakamatsu is currently ranked #3 at flyweight. With Kairat Akhmetov and Danny Kingad facing off on the same fight card the division could look very different once ONE: ‘Winter Warriors’ is over.
It would take a very impressive performance for Wakamatsu to emerge as the number one contender and he is determined to put one on,
“I won’t let him do anything to me. I want to thoroughly dominate.”