Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu was nervous and felt pressure when he took on Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in Japan. Though he lost in the second round with a guillotine choke, he surprised everyone when he put up a fight against Johnson using his striking skills.
After the match, he discovered that he can perform at a higher level, which is something he hopes to do again when he faces Geje Eustaquio at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES on August 2 at the Mall of Asia in Manila, Philippines.
“It was in Japan, so a lot was expected of me, and I was a bit scared that I’d lose quickly,” Wakamatsu said.
“That was the scariest thing for me. I wanted to win and leave a statement. Right after it, I realized that I can compete at a world-class level, but I know it’s not an easy world. I noticed that what I’ve been doing has raised me to a high level all around – my condition, mental strength, and skills have given me confidence. I had no idea if I could compete at a world-class level before, but [that bout] gave me the confidence to realize I could.”
The Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion now has a better understanding of how the competition works in ONE Championship, which has given more confidence in facing the former ONE Flyweight World Champion in his hometown.
“He’s a veteran, so I don’t think he’ll fight very differently from what I’ve seen,” Wakamatsu said.
“He’ll look to time his takedowns off my attacks, and look for counter punches. I’m now used to ONE, so I think if I fight hard for the full three rounds, there’ll be no problem. I’ve fought DJ and stronger opponents than him, so I’m not really bothered about his experience.”
Wakamatsu lost his first two matches with ONE, but from each setback, he gained experience and saw some positive takeaways which he can use in the match against Eustaquio where he hopes to score his first win.
“The fans can expect to see what I’m known for – knockout finishes,” Wakamatsu concluded.
“I want to show them not just my hands, but my kicks, takedowns, and other techniques. I need a win to stay alive. I’ve absorbed everything from my losses and become stronger. I want to show everyone a strong comeback.”