Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang will have a new challenger this Friday at ONE: Unbreakable.
Originally scheduled to battle "Wolf Of The Grasslands" Hexigetu, Adiwang now tackles Japanese champion Namiki Kawahara at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in ONE Championship's first show of 2021.
The change will be a test for Adiwang and his camp, but "Thunder Kid" understands that such issues are part of the sport.
"There are going to be some major adjustments for sure. We really have to tweak our game plan for him, but we don't mind," Adiwang said.
Besides, Kawahara's style might suit him even better.
Though taller than Hexigetu, Kawahara favors striking more than the Chinese star - far from what Adiwang and his coaches at Team Lakay have prepared for.
However, since Adiwang won't back down from a striking battle, he feels his new opponent suits him perfectly.
"I am confident that if it stays on the feet, I'm at an advantage. I just have to focus on his point of attack and be accurate with my counters."
Redemption will be on Adiwang's mind, especially after a letdown performance against Hiroba Minowa at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III late last year.
"Namiki is a good, well-rounded fighter. I can't underestimate him or say anything bad about him. I just need to be careful. He appears to be strong in all areas. However, I do see some holes in his game that I plan to expose. If I can impose my will and execute the game plan, I will be victorious," said Adiwang.
"He's faced some good, strong opponents in the past. But the big difference is that he has never faced a fighter like me. I'm better in all areas, including my submission game and my striking. It's going to be a technical, high level fight.
"One mistake and I will finish him. I will make his first mistake, his last," Adiwang added.
Once one of the hottest young stars in the promotion, Adiwang now finds himself trying to avoid back-to-back losses that could have serious implications for his career.
"The pressure is on," he said. "Yes, I know I have to prove myself to the world and earn people's respect. I'm working on that."
ONE: Unbreakable will air live and on One Sports, One Sports+ on Friday at 8:30 p.m. with replay on TV5 on Saturday at 11:00 p.m.