One Flyweight tournament semi-finalist and two-time Deep flyweight champion, Tatsumitsu Wada, has the chance to shock the world on the 2nd of August.
Let’s not kid ourselves, we all gave Yuya Wakamatsu little to no chance against pound-for-pound great, Demetrious Johnson, however, that was a highly competitive, back and forth fight. We seem to be doing the same again with Wada, who will face the former UFC flyweight king in the semi-finals of One Championship’s major tournament.
Wada is a veteran of the Japanese Mixed Martial Arts circuit, he holds a record of 21-10-2 (1) which many will take a look at and allow that alone to fuel their dismissal towards the fighter.
While unquestionably unblemished, it must be considered that Wada came up through the Japanese MMA world.
All it takes is a viewing of any Japanese MMA promotion whether it be Pancrase, Shooto or the show that Wada cut his teeth on, Deep.
There are fighters who have 50/50 records, sometimes with more losses than wins, but their performances wouldn’t tell you that, often looking performing to a level that wouldn’t be expected of a ‘journeyman’ fighter.
There’s also a lot less matchmaking and record padding, which is why even the top fighters out of Japan like Kyoji Horiguchi, the Rizin and Bellator champion, weren’t able to make it to the big shows undefeated.
Wada is no exception to this, in fact, he is a perfect example of why your early career doesn’t necessarily define you. Actually, Wada had the worst possible start one can get in MMA; five straight losses with two stoppages.
Most who lose their first two in a row call it quits, let alone three and four, even in Wada’s case five. That’s five shortcomings without experiencing victory. It tells you something about Wada, it tells you that he has exceptional perseverance, and in a sport where fights can be won on toughness alone – think Elkins vs Bektic – perseverance is key.
Toughness isn’t the only trait that Tatsumitsu Wada possesses however, He has a fantastic ground game and is able to snatch up quick submissions in scrambles or right off of takedowns, he also has an interesting style of striking, where he’ll stand just out of range with his hands down, waiting to counterstrike, a style of striking built off of his childhood in karate.
He often wins his fights on points though, which could be a huge benefit in his fights over Johnson, the scoring system is different in one, it’s a way of scoring fights that Wada is very used to, while Johnson has acknowledged that there will be a change in judging criteria stating that “(He is) looking forward to actually scoring the fight as a whole and not just trying to win round by round.”.
With all respect to the Yoshida Dojo fighter, we must all remember that D.J is one of the world’s greatest fighters, and a heavy favourite over Wada, for a reason. But we all love underdog stories, and very few would be better than the veteran, with an unimpressive 2-2-0 record under the ONE Championship banner defeating arguably the greatest flyweight in the world.
Regardless of the result, this fight will be huge, deciding one of the One Championships flyweight tournament finalists. Best of luck and skill to both men.