Ones to Watch in ONE – Lito Adiwang

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ONE Championship is blessed with an abundance of talent within their roster. Their promotion includes names everyone knows, such as Brandon Vera (16-8), Angela Lee (10-2), Demetrious Johnson (30-3-1), and Aung La Sang (26-10).

Although ONE Championship have a lot of recognizable names, they also have an abundance of emerging talent. The athletes in this emerging talent pool are who we will focus on. This time, we’re looking at Lito Adiwang (11-2).

When the Thunder Kid Strikes

When ONE Championship returned to Manila for their first 2020 event in the country, the hometown fighters didn’t disappoint. But one man’s performance stood out from all the top-tier international talent and even his own championship-caliber teammates.

Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang brought the Fire and Fury in the second time that he entered the main stage of the biggest MMA promotion in Asia. He finished the redemption-seeking Pongsiri Mitsatit via Kimura in the first round after staggering the Thai fighter early with strikes.

Adiwang improved to 11-2 with only one win going to the judges.

Lakay Looking to the Future

{Left to right) Gina Iniong, Joshua Pacio, Lito Adiwang, Eduard Folayang. Via Next Shark.

The Baguio-based gym proved their dominance over the competition back in 2018, when four Lakay fighters became champions at the same time. Now, they are shifting their focus and producing young new talent that may become the new gold standard.

Lito Adiwang has been fighting professionally since 2012. He fought under the URCC, Yoddha Fighting Championship, Primal FC, and Ultimate Beatdown before earning a spot in One Warrior Series 3.

Bringing the Thunder

Lito Adiwang versus Senzo Ikeda. Take from ONE Championship.

Drawing comparisons from former Bantamweight champion and fan-favorite Kevin Belingon, Adiwang is energetically aggressive. Almost jumping forward towards his opponents with every punch thrown a real threat to end the night early.

What makes Thunder Kid special among his talented Lakay peers however, is his impressive ground game, a testament to how the gym has evolved since their first forays into ONE. This is only the second time Adiwang has fought on the main ONE stage, and for the second time the fight ended with arm submission in the first round.

They aren’t the one-dimensional strikers of years past.

ONE Warrior Series – Template for Success?

Lito Adiwang ONE Warrior Series. Via ONE Championship.

Lito is the first Lakay fighter to come out of the ONE Warrior Series program where he won all three of his matches before being granted an official contract. In a backstage interview after his debut at ONE: Century Part I, Adiwang credited his time with Warrior Series for helping him develop his mindset during fights.

This seems to hold true, as he is looking like one of the most well-rounded fighters in the stable. Time will tell if such a program proves fundamental to young talents, as the Thunder Kid moves on to fight bigger names.

The Philippines’ First Two-Division Champ?

After his victory over Mitsatit, Lito was asked what his big plans for the decade are, and he responded by saying he wanted to have a belt over each shoulder.

ONE Championship’s Straw and Flyweight divisions are among the most talented in the promotion. But, with his eye-catchingly aggressive style and work on the ground, there’s little doubt he’ll become part of title conversations very soon.

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