American wrestling specialist James Nakashima wants to rediscover his winning ways when he faces Saygid Izagakhmaev at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS this Friday, 14 January.
The Arizona-based fighter knows what it takes to leave the Singapore Indoor Stadium with his 13th career win, but understands it won’t come easy. Like him, Izagakhmaev’s game plan also revolves around his stamina-draining wrestling.
“I know it’s going to be grindy because of the way that both of us fight. But I would like to have some really nice moments,” the 33-year-old shared. “I’ve been working this whole year to change my game a little bit to work toward the finishes, and I got to get there at this point in my career.”
“His level of competition has been pretty good. I don’t know about the regional Russian MMA scene, but it’s probably solid. I respect him and his skill set, and he’s fought some tough opponents.”
Nakashima’s wins have often depended on his wrestling repertoire–his throws, takedowns, grips, and aggression on the canvas.
While he only has one finish from 12 victories, the competitor from MMA Lab dominated all of his opponents in the past except Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki and Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov.
His defeats at the hands of those two warriors allowed him to work on his shortcomings. Nakashima has spent countless hours at the gym with coach John Crouch, lightweight kickboxing star Nick Chasteen, and other Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners to improve his all-around arsenal.
James Nakashima wants to finish Saygid Izagakhmaev
He plans to showcase the upgrades against the Russian sensation who will be making his ONE Championship debut. Khabib Nurmagomedov’s training partner and close friend owns a 19-2 resume with seven first-round finishes.
“I really think that I’ve done a lot of work in the last year. I’m an overall complete fighter. I’ve had these two losses, but at the same time, I was five minutes away from being an undefeated world champion. I know who I am,” the former ONE Welterweight World Title Challenger offered.
“I’m a better striker. I’m a better grappler, too. I need great performances. I need to finish this guy. I want to finish this guy, and it’s exciting for me.”
Download the ONE Super App to catch these two wrestling stars in action at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS.
Fans in India can watch the show live on Disney+ Hotstar or Star Sports Select 2, beginning with the lead card at 3:30 p.m. India Standard Time (IST) on Friday, 14 January.