For the fourth time, Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari, 42, is fighting inside the ONE Championship cage. On April 20, 2018, he will compete against “Ottogi” Dae Hwan Kim, 31, on the undercard of “ONE: Heroes of Honor” at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
“I think I will make a big statement, and this win will be a big one,” Imanari guaranteed. “It’s Japan versus South Korea. I can’t lose this match. I have to win this.”
But Imanari is aware of the strengths of his “ONE: Heroes of Honor” opponent. The Japanese fighter said Lee is “not a man to be taken lightly.”
“He is dangerous,” Imanari said of Lee. “But I am looking forward to it. At 42 years old, I am still here to compete. What I have here still excites me. Definitely, I am going to give him a tough night.”
For the past 18 years, Imanari has carved a niche for himself in the world of mixed martial arts. The Japanese warrior rose to prominence by becoming a three-time titleholder in Deep and is famously known for his moniker Ashikan Judan, which translates to Master of Leglocks.
Imanari’s style is focused on submission grappling. Out his 36 career victories, 25 have come by submission finish.
In Imanari’s most recent bout, which took place on January 20, 2018 at “ONE: Kings of Courage,” he lost to Yusup “Maestro” Saadulaev, 33, of Russia via unanimous decision. In Kim’s most recent bout, which took place on February 23, 2018 at “ONE: Quest for Gold,” he lost to his Japanese opponent Daichi Takenaka, 28, via disqualification due to illegal spike.
Imanari embraces the challenge that Kim is expected to bring at “ONE: Heroes of Honor,” which will be headlined by Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, 30, of the Philippines and Andrew Leone, 28, of the United States. Watch the teaser here: