Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang has long dreamt of being a headliner that not even his defeat to Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks in the main event of ONE: NEXTGEN III can wipe the smile off of his face.
But it doesn’t mean that lessons can’t be learned, all the more with him suffering a second round submission defeat to the brash American fighter.
“This match was an eye-opener for me,” admitted the Team Lakay rising star. “The biggest lesson that I took home after facing Brooks was that in this high level of competition, one mistake, no matter how small it is, can cost you a million. So you really need to be with yourself, to be 100-percent focused mentally and physically.”
Adiwang had every reason to feel like it.
Before tapping out, he felt that Brooks was already running out of steam and was just patiently waiting for his time to strike.
“I knew I was about to finish him,” said Adiwang, not buying that his leg kick hit Brooks’ groin and instead, the American used it to his advantage to get a little bit of his air back and rest midway through round two. “It was clear that he was running out of air every time he held me down and that’s why I was letting him pin me down, for him to get tired. Then I’d capitalize and finish him. But he was lucky to get that submission before I got to end the game.”
Adiwang even argued that though it seems Brooks was able to show his power, it really wasn’t the case in person.
“It’s very different on the TV screens than it was live. He seems to be so strong when I watch him on screen but believe me, people in the arena can clearly see that he was gassed out and tired. This is what hurts me the most because I knew that if he did not get that submission or we did not have that break, I knew that I was to finish him,” he said.
“That’s what I’m saying. I’m not making excuses here but in this already high level of game, a tiny single mistake can cost one a lot.”
Nonetheless, Adiwang can still hold his head high knowing that he performed at the best that he can in his first ever main event billing.
“It was my first main event in ONE and I was ecstatic about it. I actually visualized these things and now they’re happening, and they’re coming off quicker than I anticipated,” said the ONE Super Series winner. “This just shows that once you give your all and work hard for the things you believe you can achieve, then they will happen.”
And this loss won’t dim the shine that the Thunder Kid has as he expects to come out stronger after this setback.
“I totally understand and accept that to become a champion, it’s not that easy and simple. And to be defeated is just a part of the process but also part of the learning, too. There are things that are meant to happen to make you grow and be a better version of yourself,” he said.
That could only mean a better and stronger Adiwang for 2022.
“What’s next for me is to do the right things and that is to go back to the game. There is no other way for me but up and I will rise again,” he said. “I’ve said that this is a part of my journey to become a champion and I will deal with it. I’ll take advantage of this setback as I believe nothing happens by chance.”