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Lito Adiwang scouts loaded ONE strawweight field ahead of exciting 2024

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Lito Adiwang scouts loaded ONE strawweight field ahead of exciting 2024 

ROAR. Lito Adiwang in action in ONE Championship.

ONE Championship

As he continues to heal from an ACL injury, Filipino MMA standout Lito 'Thunder Kid' Adiwang surveys potential opponents ahead of a big 2024 campaign

MANILA, Philippines – The first order of duty for Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang in 2024 is to scout out the loaded strawweight MMA division, and it all starts at the end of the month when two top contenders clash. 

Third-ranked strawweight contender Hiroba Minowa takes on No. 4 Gustavo Balart at ONE 165 on January 28 inside Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, and the Filipino will be watching intently. 

Adiwang has always wanted another shot at Minowa, while he’s been targeting Balart ever since he made his return. Now Adiwang hopes to face the winner of this clash. 

“When Balart and Minowa were announced, I was shocked because I wanted them both. I wanted to either fight Balart or rematch Minowa, but there they were fighting,” he said. 

“I’m excited to see the fight, that’s a very good matchup. We’ll see who ends up winning. I want to fight the winner.” 

Another guy on his radar is fifth-ranked Mansur Malachiev, a guy who Adiwang was supposed to welcome to ONE Championship last year. 

The “Thunder Kid” was scheduled to return from an ACL injury against the Russian wrestler, but he aggravated his knee, scratching the match altogether. 

During Adiwang’s time away, Malachiev faced two Filipinos, beating Jeremy Miado and losing to former ONE strawweight MMA world champion Joshua Pacio in a hotly contested three-rounder. 

For Adiwang, a matchup with Malachiev also furthers his trajectory through the strawweight division. 

“If it’s not them, I want to face Mansur. I think he’s a good matchup. We were supposed to meet before, and now’s the perfect time to pick up on it,” he said. 

“He’s also a ranked fighter, so it’s a perfect opportunity for me because I want to get back to the rankings. I am targeting that belt, so Mansur is the perfect challenge for me.” –

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