Asia based promotion One Championship confirmed the field for their flyweight Grand Prix with all the first round match-ups scheduled to take place on March 31 at the promotion’s debut in Japan.
Among the eight-man field will be former title challenger, Gold Coast trained Reece McLaren (12-5) who will clash with “The Kazakh” Kairat Akhmetov (25-2).
Since making his debut in One Championship, 27-year-old McLaren has built an impressive 5-2 record in the promotion, notably pushing Bibiano Fernandes all the way in a bantamweight title challenge. McLaren is riding a three fight win streak, defeating Tatsumitsu Wada in his last outing back in July.
Akhmetov brought an undefeated 22-0 record to One Championship and immediately got a title shot in his promotional debut where edged Adriano Moraes in a split decision. The 31-year-old had an extended break away from competition before losing in the rematch, nearly two years later. A win and a loss to Geje Eustaquio was followed by a win against Hao Bin Ma in his last outing.
Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (27-3-1) will make his highly anticipated debut in the promotion when he meets Japanese fighter Yuya Wakamatsu (10-3). In the other flyweight tournament match-ups, Ivanildo Delfino (8-0) clashes with Tatsumitsu Wada (20-10-2) while on McLaren’s side of the bracket Danny Kingad (11-1) meets Andrew Leone (8-4).
BREAKING NEWS: The ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix kicks off at ONE: A New Era on March 31 in Tokyo, featuring all quarterfinal fights with some of the best flyweights on the planet together! BOOM!!! pic.twitter.com/XkUUWBDT7R
— Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri) February 21, 2019
If that wasn’t already impressive, former UFC and Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez makes his promotional debut and four fights headline the event.
The card, titled “A New Era” takes place at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.