Reece McLaren Will Not Waste His Second World Title Shot

ONEchampionship.com

Reece “Lighting” McLaren wasted no time at all in making his presence felt in ONE Championship’s flyweight division.

This past November, the 26-year-old Australian debuted in this new weight class, and became the first man to finish top talent Anatpong “Mak Mak” Bunrad. He submitted the Thai via D’Arce choke in the first round.

Based on that spectacular victory, his immaculate martial arts skill set, and the fact he took ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes all the way to a narrow split decision in 2016, McLaren has been awarded with another shot at gold.

On Friday, 9 March, he will challenge ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes (17-2) for the prestigious title at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY. The event takes place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Aussie will be bringing plenty of confidence with him.

“Anatpong is an absolute stud,” McLaren says of his previous opponent.

“He got unlucky [in prior bouts] with Gianni Subba, and Geje Eustaquio, losing by split decision. He was up there [in the rankings], so getting to finish him in the first round the way that I did, so dominantly, it brought up the argument that I should get the next title shot. And why not?”

Unlike other contenders, McLaren has experience facing world champions.

In December 2016, at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION, he challenged ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes. He threatened the imperious bantamweight kingpin, and seemingly came close to finishing the titleholder when he rocked him and broke his nose midway through the bout. But in the end, he fell short of his quest, and lost via a close split decision.

The experience he now has going five rounds against the greatest bantamweight martial artist of all time will be key when he stands across the cage from Moraes in Kuala Lumpur next month, but it also helped to punch his ticket there in the first place.

As soon as McLaren made the move to flyweight in November, a closer fit to his natural body size, he was always going to be in the world title picture. Lightning has struck twice for the Aussie, and this time he intends to take full advantage of it.

“You do not get too many bites at an apple, and I am getting a second bite here,” McLaren explains.

“It is an opportunity that is absolutely amazing. I am grabbing it with both hands and leaving no stone unturned.

“I feel like a more complete martial artist this time round. I was kind of young in my career when I faced Bibiano. Even though it is only three bouts ago, the progression I have made since then, I have hit some leaps and bounds in skills and awareness.”

The confident warrior noted that he was anticipating the call from the promotion’s matchmakers about re-entering the world title picture.

After getting in some training with fellow countryman and two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen in Sydney earlier in the year, McLaren got the call he was anticipating.

He returned promptly to his native Gold Coast, where he officially kickstarted camp at his longtime home Potential Unlimited Mixed Martial Arts, otherwise known as PUMMA for short.

“It is all going full-blast ahead. You do what you have to do for these opportunities,” he says.

In Moraes, a fellow BJJ black belt, he meets a formidable adversary.

Last August, “Mikinho” outclassed previously-undefeated titleholder Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion, and then subsequently tapped out previously-unbeaten Filipino standout Danny Kingad in a quick-fire title defense three months later.

While McLaren recognizes and respects the dangers the Brazilian poses, he will not be stunned by the occasion.

“Now, I can say I have competed against the two greatest Brazilians to have competed in the martial arts scene. I am very honored,” he states.

“His jiu-jitsu is phenomenal, and his striking is not weak. If there is any weakness, it might be bridging the gaps between the different martial arts. I think I bridge them better.

“I feel like I have all the skills to match anyone in the world. I am just pumped. I cannot wait.

McLaren shows admiration for his rival ahead of the bout, but when it is time to stand across the cage from one another, it will be down to business. The Aussie wants to make the most of the second chance he has been granted at becoming a ONE World Champion.

Now, “Lightning” is reaching the crest of the wave that Moraes rides, and it should make for a scintillating encounter on 9 March in Kuala Lumpur.

“It is the best two flyweights that are entering their primes,” he continues. “It is the perfect time to make the match. It sells itself, if you look at our past bouts and our styles. It makes for an exciting contest. wasted no time at all in making his presence felt in ONE Championship’s flyweight division.

This past November, the 26-year-old Australian debuted in this new weight class, and became the first man to finish top talent Anatpong “Mak Mak” Bunrad. He submitted the Thai via D’Arce choke in the first round.

Based on that spectacular victory, his immaculate martial arts skill set, and the fact he took ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes all the way to a narrow split decision in 2016, McLaren has been awarded with another shot at gold.

On Friday, 9 March, he will challenge ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes (17-2) for the prestigious title at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY. The event takes place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Aussie will be bringing plenty of confidence with him.

“Anatpong is an absolute stud,” McLaren says of his previous opponent.

“He got unlucky [in prior bouts] with Gianni Subba, and Geje Eustaquio, losing by split decision. He was up there [in the rankings], so getting to finish him in the first round the way that I did, so dominantly, it brought up the argument that I should get the next title shot. And why not?”

Unlike other contenders, McLaren has experience facing world champions.

In December 2016, at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION, he challenged ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes. He threatened the imperious bantamweight kingpin, and seemingly came close to finishing the titleholder when he rocked him and broke his nose midway through the bout. But in the end, he fell short of his quest, and lost via a close split decision.

The experience he now has going five rounds against the greatest bantamweight martial artist of all time will be key when he stands across the cage from Moraes in Kuala Lumpur next month, but it also helped to punch his ticket there in the first place.

As soon as McLaren made the move to flyweight in November, a closer fit to his natural body size, he was always going to be in the world title picture. Lightning has struck twice for the Aussie, and this time he intends to take full advantage of it.

“You do not get too many bites at an apple, and I am getting a second bite here,” McLaren explains.

“It is an opportunity that is absolutely amazing. I am grabbing it with both hands and leaving no stone unturned.

“I feel like a more complete martial artist this time round. I was kind of young in my career when I faced Bibiano. Even though it is only three bouts ago, the progression I have made since then, I have hit some leaps and bounds in skills and awareness.”

The confident warrior noted that he was anticipating the call from the promotion’s matchmakers about re-entering the world title picture.

After getting in some training with fellow countryman and two-division ONE World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen in Sydney earlier in the year, McLaren got the call he was anticipating.

He returned promptly to his native Gold Coast, where he officially kickstarted camp at his longtime home Potential Unlimited Mixed Martial Arts, otherwise known as PUMMA for short.

“It is all going full-blast ahead. You do what you have to do for these opportunities,” he says.

In Moraes, a fellow BJJ black belt, he meets a formidable adversary.

Last August, “Mikinho” outclassed previously-undefeated titleholder Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion, and then subsequently tapped out previously-unbeaten Filipino standout Danny Kingad in a quick-fire title defense three months later.

While McLaren recognizes and respects the dangers the Brazilian poses, he will not be stunned by the occasion.

“Now, I can say I have competed against the two greatest Brazilians to have competed in the martial arts scene. I am very honored,” he states.

“His jiu-jitsu is phenomenal, and his striking is not weak. If there is any weakness, it might be bridging the gaps between the different martial arts. I think I bridge them better.

“I feel like I have all the skills to match anyone in the world. I am just pumped. I cannot wait.

McLaren shows admiration for his rival ahead of the bout, but when it is time to stand across the cage from one another, it will be down to business. The Aussie wants to make the most of the second chance he has been granted at becoming a ONE World Champion.

Now, “Lightning” is reaching the crest of the wave that Moraes rides, and it should make for a scintillating encounter on 9 March in Kuala Lumpur.

“It is the best two flyweights that are entering their primes,” he continues. “It is the perfect time to make the match. It sells itself, if you look at our past bouts and our styles. It makes for an exciting contest.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *