Malaysian standout Gianni Subba finds himself in a very fortunate position as he is on the cusp of a world title shot.
Subba is scheduled to take on with Filipino-Australian spitfire Reece “Lightning” McLaren in a flyweight world title eliminator at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY, which takes place at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 9 March.
The three-round flyweight encounter will serve as the night’s main event, with the winner to get a flyweight world title shot in the future.
Originally penciled to square off with former world title contender Danny Kingad on the same card, Subba was called up to the headlining bout to replace ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes, who was forced to pull out of his title defense versus McLaren due to an injury that he sustained in training.
The 25-year-old Malaysian dynamo is looking to follow up on his impressive August 2017 decision victory over ex-flyweight world title challenger Riku Shibuya and has been training consistently at Bali MMA in an effort to secure a world title opportunity.
“It is such a great opportunity to be in this position. Every martial artist dreams to become a champion. If I win, I believe that I am one step away from vying for that belt. I am not going down that easy in this bout,” Subba declared.
Subba has been competing under the ONE Championship banner since October 2012, but it will be the first time that the main event spotlight will be on him.
According to Subba, it feels extra special as he will headline a ONE Championship event in front of his family and countrymen.
“Competing at home is always really cool,” he stated. “We get all these family members and friends to come out. The crowd really supports us, and that really helps a lot.”
Even if Subba’s maiden main event stint is seen by many as a cause for celebration, the Malaysian martial artist knows that he will need to be at his best against McLaren, who is no stranger to facing elite opposition.
McLaren owns a commendable professional record of 10-5 with eight of those wins coming by spectacular finish.
The 26-year-old Filipino-Australian had a hot start in the promotion as he rattled off a pair of victories against top bantamweights Mark Striegl and Muin Gafurov before challenging division kingpin Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes in December 2016.
Although he ultimately lost the contest by a razor-thin split decision, it was by far the toughest test of Fernandes’ legendary run to date, proving McLaren’s exquisite talent.
Following a tough loss to Fernandes, McLaren dropped down a weight class and immediately made an impact in the flyweight division.
Last November, McLaren masterfully submitted the highly-regarded Anatpong “Mak Mak” Bunrad in the first round via D’Arce choke and became the first person ever to finish the Thai competitor.
“Reece McLaren comes out hard, and he looks to have good cardio. But I like to compete against people who come forward I like these types of matches. They are fun. I feel like a matador,” Subba said.
Subba hopes that he can reach a milestone in his professional career and become the division’s next title challenger.
“I have been labelled a top Malaysian prospect for the last couple of years now. I want to have a performance that moves me into the contender spot,” he concluded.
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