The strawweight MMA showdown between Keito Yamakita and Alex Silva promises to be one of the most intriguing contests at ONE Fight Night 8: Superlek vs. Rodtang on Prime Video.
Stepping into the Circle for the first time on March 24, Yamakita will take on former ONE Strawweight World Champion Silva, proving that matchmakers think very highly of the 7-0 Japanese sensation.
For his part, Silva is durable and experienced, having consistently faced the world’s best strawweights.
The Brazilian grappling specialist has no intention of being a stepping stone, and he’ll provide a litmus test for whether Yamakita is ready to charge toward the division’s upper echelon.
Check out what both men had to say about their high-stakes encounter at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in U.S. primetime.
Keito Yamakita has gotten his MMA career off to the perfect start with seven straight victories and a Pancrase Strawweight Title.
The 26-year-old Japanese athlete knew that winning the prestigious regional award in his homeland last July would capture the eyes of the big leagues, and he’s been waiting for his chance to perform on the global stage since then.
Excited that his dream has become a reality, Yamakita said:
“Since the moment I got the Pancrase Title, I’ve been preparing for this opportunity to fight in ONE Championship. When I got this offer, I really felt how serious ONE is, and I can see the expectation they have of me because they’re giving me Alex Silva, who is a former ONE World Champion.
“He’s a very good fighter. He can submit and can also strike. This is going to be a nonstop fight both on the ground and standing.”
Silva has 19 ONE Championship fights on his resume and has battled top-tier opponents for more than 10 years, but Yamakita wants to prove that he’s the man of the moment.
While he acknowledges the skills and history that “Little Rock” brings to the table, the decorated wrestler expects to push the pace and make a statement in his ONE debut.
“I believe my stamina and strong scrambling ability are advantages for this fight.
“I will aim for the finish. I respect Alex Silva, but if I want to be ONE World Champion, I can not lose at this level. I will win quickly and move on to the next level. It’s my turn to shine. I will get the belt. This is the first step.”
Alex Silva has squared off against many rising stars looking to make a name off his accolades, but he has never been a walkover for anyone.
At 40, he’s a veteran in the strawweight ranks, but keeping up with younger fighters like Keito Yamakita is what gets him up in the morning and pushes him through hard training camps.
“Little Rock” said:
“He’s good, young, and a champion. He has all of my respect. I think this is good matchup. He looks like a very well-rounded fighter. He’s a champion in Japan. I love this kind of challenge. This is what motivates me to keep fighting.”
Before switching to MMA, Silva was a BJJ World Champion, and he usually leans on his devastating submission skills inside the Circle.
Combined with his time spent going up against the division’s top athletes, the Brazilian thinks he can derail Yamakita’s hype train by finishing him on March 24.
“I think my experience is my advantage, and I always bring and believe in my jiu-jitsu. I will submit him in the second or third round.”