Demetrious Johnson Foresees a Kairat Akhmetov Bout, Backs Him Against Tatsumitsu Wada at ONE 158

Published 06/01/2022, 12:16 PM EDT

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is certain Kairat Akhmetov has what it takes to get himself across the finish line against Tatsumitsu Wada.

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Akhmetov and the Japanese fighter will slug it out at ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen this Friday, 3 June, and the 12-time flyweight MMA World Champion believes that the former will extend his winning streak in Singapore.

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“I think Kairat Akhmetov has a wrestling advantage. It seems like he would be able to execute the game plan,” the 35-year-old offered.

“[Akhmetov and I] have never fought, but he’s been a champion before. He’s fought Adriano [Moraes] twice. It’s going to be a good fight.”

Johnson understands the former ONE Flyweight World Champion’s wrestling prowess could be the decisive factor in this match.

However, he warns that the #2-ranked flyweight contender should not underestimate “The Sweeper’s” all-around arsenal, especially in the stand-up department.

“Wada is very long and has great boxing. I mean, he’s been in the game for a long time. I believe [he was a] DEEP Champion, so he’s got a great skill set, he’s very tough.”

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The AMC Pankration and Evolve MMA knows all about Wada, having crossed paths with the latter in the semifinals of the inaugural ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship in August 2019.

Johnson may have booked his spot in the final with another MMA clinic, but he struggled – at times – to minimize the Japanese athlete’s knowledge in the sweet science. Wada’s reach advantage too, made life difficult for Johnson.

Kairat Akhmetov vs. Demetrious Johnson is inevitable

Akhmetov, who was forced to withdraw from the prestigious tournament, was a favorite to meet Johnson in the final.

Though that could not come to fruition, “Mighty Mouse” admits a battle with the Arlan MMA and Tiger Muay Thai fighter would be an interesting affair.

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“At the end of the day, I’m sure our paths will cross, as long as he stays healthy and I stay healthy,” he added.

“Whether he’s a champion or I’m the champion, or we’re just fighting as contenders, I’m sure we’ll end up fighting at some point in our careers.”

For now, however, Johnson will stay tuned in to ONE 158 to see whether or not Akhmetov can extend his winning run on the global stage to five.

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Akhmetov has not dropped a match since his defeat to Geje Eustaquio in January 2018, and that has positioned him as a favorite to take the win and perhaps the US$50,000 performance bonus this Friday.

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Deepak Kumar

860 articles

Deepak Kumar is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. His love for MMA comes from the chaos and violence the fight game brings to the table. A BJJ aspirant, Deepak began following the sport as a casual fan when Ronda Rousey was finishing her opponents in seconds.

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