Japanese challenger Sekine undaunted by 'icon' Brandon Vera, hostile Manila crowd
Brandon Vera defends his ONE title against Hideki Sakine on December 2.

HIDEKI Sekine has something up his sleeves as he looks to dethrone heavyweight champion Brandon Vera in ONE: Age of Domination next month in Manila.

Sekine comes in unbeaten in seven matches going to his ONE debut on December 2 event at the Mall of Asia Arena, but Vera’s vast experience has made him the clear favorite.

The Japanese fighter, however, is confident that he can go toe-to-toe against the Filipino-American champion, whom he calls as a legend in the MMA.

“I have nothing bad to say about Brandon Vera. He has been in the industry for a long time. He deserves the respect and he is somewhat of a legend. I believe he’s also very good at what he does.

“But I am also good at what I do. We have this saying in Japan, 'nanakorobi yaoki.' it means, 'I won’t tell you what I’m going to do in this fight, it will be a surprise,” said Sekine.

A jiu-jitsu specialist, Sekine makes his ONE debut two years after his last fight at Real Fight Championship 1 against Ryuta Kono where he won via technical knockout in the first round. His previous six fights were with Deep, a Japan-based MMA promotion.

Sekine, also called ‘Shrek,’ added it was a perfect time for him to go to ONE and strut his wares especially with the MMA promotion set for expansion in Japan in the coming months.

“ONE Championship has plans to enter the Japanese market soon. That puts me in the perfect position to lead the charge for my country. I think Japan can become the center of MMA and martial arts again. There are a lot of great competitors in Japan. I am honored to be among them.”

Sekine is also not concerned about the Filipino fans who are expected to cheer on Vera.

“I have waited a long time for this. I believe my time is now. ONE Championship is the largest MMA promotion in Asia and I’m excited to showcase my skills in front of thousands of MMA fans.

“It doesn’t bother me that I will be competing in hostile territory. I know [Brandon] has a lot of fans, that’s fine. He’s an icon in the MMA world. But my time is now and I feel I can give him a good challenge,” said Sekine.

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