Rich Franklin: Team Lakay’s Lito Adiwang is a phenomenal athlete

Lito Adiwang (© ONE Championship)

Lito Adiwang (© ONE Championship)

Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang, 27, is one of the most explosive action heroes on the ONE Championship roster today. ONE Warrior Series CEO Rich Franklin has nothing but praises for the Igorot mixed martial artist who is training out of Team Lakay in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete and I just see him powering through the division,” Franklin said of Adiwang. “He still has much to learn but he’s also developing at such a rapid pace. I’m really proud of what he’s accomplished so far and very excited for what the future holds for him.”

Adiwang brings with him a unique adrenaline rush with his fan-friendly style whenever he comes to compete. He is blazing a trail through ONE Championship’s strawweight division under the guidance of Team Lakay founder and head coach Mark Sangiao.

So far, the Igorot MMA fighter is unbeaten in his ONE Championship stint. Gaining his start in ONE Warrior Series, he did shine as he won his first three bouts under the watchful eye of Franklin.

“I knew Lito was something special the moment I saw him train and eventually compete,” Franklin  stated. “He just has that finishing instinct that not everyone has. With some polish, I knew Lito would make a huge impact in ONE Championship.”

With outstanding performances in ONE Warrior Series, Adiwang earned a six-figure contract with ONE Championship. Franklin saw immediate potential and the Team Lakay representative strung together two incredible finishes as part of the main roster of the Singapore-based martial arts organization.


Growing up in Baguio City, Adiwang had a rough upbringing. He shared, “I was born the youngest in a family of seven children.”

“Life was tough and we had to get through a lot of trials,” Adiwang recounted. “My parents used to plant crops in an open lot so we would have food to eat but it wasn’t enough. It really taught me a lot about overcoming adversity in life.”

“I wanted to help my family but I felt powerless then I lost my fourth sibling in a mining accident,” the Team Lakay warrior continued. “My parents separated when I was a teenager. I just felt hopeless.”

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