• Yuya Wakamatsu made a strong case for a title shot after dismantling Hu Yong
  • He showed off his abilities to fight both on the feet and on the ground
  • Kariat Akhmetov will look to get an impressive win over Danny Kingad to remove Wakamatsu from the title picture

Yuya Wakamatsu is poised for a world title shot after a strong outing against China’s Hu Yong during ONE: Winter Warriors last Friday, December 3.

Speaking to the media via a virtual press conference, Wakamatsu discussed his masterful performance against the 25-year-old.

“In the beginning, right before the fight, I was thinking about showing off my strikes and going for a knockout, which I think everyone was expecting. But I also wanted to show a new version of myself so I went for the takedown and ground control, which actually went well. I tried to finish him but [it just did not happen that way],” he told the media via an interpreter.

When asked if he had any regrets about not getting the finish, Wakamatsu admitted that he did see opportunities to finish the fight but decided to play it safe and go for the decision victory to assure himself of a shot for the title.

Wakamatsu improved his chances at getting a shot against reigning ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes after handily dispatching Hu.

The 26-year-old flyweight contender showcased his entire arsenal on the feet and on the ground for the better part of three rounds as he repeatedly scored points on Hu.

On the feet, Wakamatsu repeatedly unleashed his hellacious right hand to the face of his opponent, causing a big swelling under his eye by the end of round one to give the Japanese fighter a target for the rest of the fight.

To his credit, Hu was able to stun Wakamatsu with some shots of his own in some parts of the fight, but “The Little Piranha” was just too well-versed on all aspects of the fight game for him to mount any kind of offense.

“I definitely think that I sent him (Adriano Moraes) a message [with my performance] that I’m not only a striker but a well-rounded athlete,” Wakamatsu stressed.

During the press conference, the No. 3-ranked flyweight was seen wearing a sling around his right arm and he revealed that he was dealing with a broken fist, probably due to the number of overhand rights that he was firing towards his opponent.

Wakamatsu, now riding a five-fight winning streak, awaits the result of the fight between No. 4-ranked flyweight Kairat Akhmetov and No. 2-ranked Danny Kingad, where the winner could go on to face Moraes.