AMERICA’s undefeated martial artist James Nakashima is ready to exhibit his unique martial arts skills on a global platform once again.
The welterweight athlete makes his third ONE Championship appearance against Japanese mixed martial arts legend Yushin “Thunder” Okami at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES on Friday, 2 August.
Both athletes are incredibly skilled, but Nakashima is certain that he will leave the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines with his perfect record intact.
“Yushin is a big welterweight,” Nakashima said. “He is not so much of a striker, but he is a good grappler.”
According to The MMA Lab representative, he will need to be smart to overcome one of his toughest bouts of his career.
“[For me, it’s about] getting more comfortable with my stand-up and allowing myself to get touched. Getting into a little bit of a boxing match is something that’s been a huge growth experience for me. I think that’s going to be big playing into this fight," he explained.
“I just need to be fundamental and smart. I’ve seen some tendencies in his game that I have to be aware of and be ready for.”
Competing against Okami, however, never crossed Nakashima’s mind. The former LFA Welterweight Champion admitted that he was hoping for a shot at the ONE Welterweight World Title, currently held by Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam.
Since the wish was not fulfilled, Nakashima knows the best way to prove his worth is to win.
“I do want that title shot, but [the matchmakers are] keeping me active, and I appreciate that. It will come. I’ve just got to keep chipping away, and my title shot will come,” Nakashima said.
Okami, a black belt judoka, could trick Nakashima in several areas. Not only does he boast a 10-centimeter height advantage, but he possesses tremendous knockout power in his fists.
But Nakashima is very adept at grappling and hones his striking skills with arguably one of the greatest kickboxers of all-time, Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan.
All these factors make the bout one of the most exciting battles in what looks to be the greatest night in Philippine martial arts history.