Gianni Subba is oozing with confidence as he gets set to headline ONE Championship’s return to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 9.
The Malaysian has been trusted with a main event matchup with Reece McLaren after McLaren’s original opponent, Adriano Moraes, experienced an unfortunate knee injury just last week.
McLaren was scheduled to challenge Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Championship, but will now find himself presented with another hurdle – one of the highly skilled Subba brothers – before being permitted a shot at the champion. But as much as Moraes’ injury is equally disappointing and unfortunate, it has presented Bali MMA’s Gianni Subba with the chance of a lifetime.
Gaining an edge
With a victory at ONE: Visions of Victory, Subba can overtake Reece McLaren, Geje Eustaquio, and Stefer Rahardian, to cement himself as the top contender in the flyweight division.
“The people at the top said this was a #1 contender fight,” Subba told The Body Lock. “I’ve been waiting for this fight the last two years.”
Even before Moraes’ injury was announced, the flyweight division was approaching a state of disaster.
Geje Eustaquio defeated Kairat Akhmetov in January 2018 to capture the newly formed ONE Interim Flyweight Championship. He joined Stefer Rahardian as a notable top contender and worthy title challenger after Rahardian defeated Muhammad Imran in what was advertised as a ONE Flyweight Title Eliminator bout.[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”16″]“I understand the creation of that interim belt for Geje, him and Kairat fought to a close decision the first time, and it’s always good to have another Filipino champion in the organization. Stefer is definitely up there too. He’s so talented and he’s going to shock a lot of people this year. He’s a teammate of mine; I don’t think I would ever consider fighting a teammate.”[/perfectpullquote]
Regardless of the situation, Subba is undeterred knowing that “the winner is the clear cut next in line for the title.”
And for now, all of Subba’s focus is on defeating Reece “Lightning” McLaren.
A flash of “Lightning”
When Subba and McLaren finally stand toe-to-toe on March 9, it is expected to be an exhilarating three-round war. Both of these young athletes are renowned for their ability to entertain the crowd with their exciting styles.
“I know Reece is flash, I’m flashier, so it will be a fun fight,” Subba shared.
In many ways, Moraes’ injury has provided Subba with much more than just a contest with potential title implications. The 25-year-old will be able to headline an event in front of his fans in Malaysia, as well as enjoying all the extra exposure that comes with it.
“It’s truly an honor to fight at home, the crowd just gives off this unbelievable energy,” Subba explained.
As for what fans should expect on March 9, Subba shared his prediction:
“We touch hands, I land, he shoots, I score.”
Gianni Subba vs. Reece McLaren is the scheduled main event of ONE: Visions of Victory in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 9.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.