James Nakashima had a breakthrough year in 2019, and now the undefeated American has a chance to claim a World Championship on Friday, November 6 at ONE: Inside The Matrix II.
The Illinois native’s background is impressive. He was a member of the highly touted University of Nebraska Cornhuskers wrestling team that has produced a myriad of top talent, including Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs. After going the mixed martial arts route, Nakashima embarked on a journey that would lead him to ONE Championship.
For three years, Nakashima put in the work on the regional circuit. He took on some of the sport’s highest prospects and stole their thunder with his top-tier grappling and tireless gas tank.
Nakashima has moved to Arizona and trains out of the MMA Lab.
After amassing a 9-0 record, ONE came calling.
James Nakashima Shows Skills in Asia
In less than a year, Nakashima has picked three victories and moved himself in a position to challenge Kiamrian Abbasov for the ONE Welterweight World Championship.
Abbasov, himself, is streaking. “Brazen” is on a four-bout win streak and is coming off his title-winning performance against Zebaztian Kadestam in October 2019. He is tough-as-nails, gritty, and strong-willed.
It makes for an intriguing clash of blue-collar athletes who will not buckle under the pressure.
And that pressure has been embraced by the American.
The MMA Lab representative’s last outing, against Yushin Okami at ONE: Dawn Of Heroes, put him on the map and showcased his development as a martial artist. While the bout went to the scorecards, Nakashima’s grappling and striking were highlighted in the victory.
Under the bright lights of the global stage and against a fan-favorite like Okami, other talents would have folded. Instead, Nakashima shined brighter than ever with that pressure.
The rapid development of his striking is in large part due to his training in Italy. Nakashima has been spending time in Milan with Team Petrosyan and adding more tools to his already impressive tool kit.
As he challenges for the gold on Friday, November 6, Nakashima is in a prime position to achieve his dream of becoming a World Champion. A victory not only sees Nakashima become the champion but also a bigger star after years of hard work.
But it will be a tall task against Abbasov.
This is a can’t-miss bout for martial arts fans who love the grit and determination of athletes.
ONE: Inside The Matrix II airs on Friday, November 6, at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST for free on B/R Live.