After back-to-back knockout wins over Miao Li Tao, Jeremy Miado will kick off the main card at ONE: Heavy Hitters against Senzo Ikeda on Friday, January 14. ONE Championship’s first event of 2022 will serve as Miado’s biggest outing to date.
And that is not lost on the Filipino strawweight.
“I think this is the biggest test of my career. He’s a very experienced fighter, and he’s no pushover. He’s already become a champion in Japan, and we all know the caliber of fighters in Japan. They’re all very good. That’s why I consider him as the biggest test of my career,” Miado told ONE.
To be in this position, Miado credits the improvements he has made since the first meeting with Miao on his move to Marrok Force in Thailand.
“I’m so happy because we have a lot of teammates now, so I believe that helps me take my game to the next level. Because there are a lot of great fighters in the gym now, I have a plethora of training partners I can work with and help me get better. They are all top-level as well,” said Miado.
“The level of wrestling here is different. The method of training is pretty much the same, but the level of skills and technique is way ahead here compared to the ones where I trained before. Sure there are a lot of great wrestlers in the Philippines, but I never had a chance to train with them, be it because of logistics or whatnot.”
“We also had two BJJ black belts from Brazil come here, and that’s a great thing because now I will finally have the chance to work with black belts on a consistent basis.”
The addition of highly-regarded grapplers will be needed as Ikeda will test his defensive abilities.
Miado has studied the game of his Japanese counterpart and is preparing himself for the oncoming pressure. The Marrok Force representative understands the striker vs. grappler matchup will give him a big test as he tries to break through to the top five.
“He’s a pressure fighter. I feel like that’s one thing that could give me a hard time, but I’m ready for that. We’ve been preparing for that for a long time,” said Miado.
“I think his main game plan is to focus on grappling and use his wrestling to frustrate me. They know that I’m a striker, so I expect them to cut the distance and not give me a chance to get a rhythm on the feet.”
“To sum it up, I know I’ll have an advantage with my boxing and my age while I’m preparing for his pressure and grappling. But we’re prepared for everything. Wherever this match goes, I know I’m prepared.”
As for a prediction? Miado foresees a knockout, but he is not counting on it coming easy. The pressure-grappling of Ikeda is squarely on his mind.
“I feel like he’s going to pursue a takedown. I want to avoid getting taken down so I can turn it into a striking battle. He’s also a decent striker. He has an unorthodox style on the feet, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to stay on the feet. However, I expect him to use his bread and butter, which is his grappling,” professed Miado.
“I want a finish. I don’t want to leave it in the hands of the judges. Either a TKO or KO victory will work for me.”
Miado’s chance to push closer to the official ONE athlete rankings comes on Friday, January 14, at ONE: Heavy Hitters. The event airs on Bleacher Report’s YouTube channel at 5:00 a.m. EST/2:00 a.m. PST.