Danny “The King” Kingad, 23, of the Philippines will face Reece “Lightning” McLaren, 27, of Australia in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semi-finals at “ONE: Dawn of Heroes.” Training out of Team Lakay in Baguio City, the Igorot mixed martial artist was originally set to face former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov, 31, of Taldykorgan, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
However, Akhmetov had to withdraw from the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semi-finals due to injury. He was replaced by McLaren, who was originally set to fight Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu, 24, Kagoshima, Japan at “ONE: Dawn of Heroes.”
On March 31, 2019, Akhtemov defeated McLaren in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix quarter-finals at “ONE: A New Era” at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan. In another quarter-final bout in the tournament on the same fight card, Kingad defeated Senzo Ikeda, 36, of Tokyo.
Originally from Sadanga, Mountain Province, Philippines, Kingad went to school in Baguio City. He began training in wushu at Team Lakay in 2012 and went on to win gold medals in several local tournaments.
Inspired by the success of esteemed Team Lakay fighters such as former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 34, Kingad then turned his attention to the cage. In 2014, Kingad made a successful start to his professional career, debuting with ONE Championship on the way to an impressive record of 8 wins and 0 loss.
This earned Kingad a shot at the ONE Flyweight World Championship against Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes, 31, of Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil. The Team Lakay fighter failed in his first bid at world title glory but he redeemed himself with 5 consecutive wins.
Currently, Kingad has 13 wins and 1 loss while McLaren has 12 wins and 6 losses. The latter is training out of Potential Unlimited Mixed Martial Arts in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, McLaren claimed the Eternal MMA and XFL Bantamweight Championships before making his ONE Championship debut. In 2016, he challenged ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, 39, of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil but lost via split decision.
ONE Championship will hold “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on August 2, 2019. It will feature kickboxing, Muay Thai and MMA matches.
Meanwhile, here is Kingad, Folayang and their Team Lakay brothers in a ONE Championship press conference in 2018: