Reece McLaren is known for being a grappling-heavy fighter, but the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has called in reinforcements to help him in the striking department ahead of his bout at ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen, this Friday, 3 June, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“Lightning” is set to square off with Xie Wei in a flyweight mixed martial arts battle, and he has been working with striking legend John Wayne Parr in order to sharpen his stand-up game for the Chinese powerhouse.
“I've known Wayne for many years. Obviously, he is who he is. And obviously, I've been a big fan. You know, just things kind of ran full circle, and now I'm training out of there full time. I've been welcomed into the Boonchu family, and I'm very proud to call myself now a fighter from Boonchu,” McLaren said.
“It's a strange one because [you] look up to people. And then you finally meet them and then start to grow a relationship with someone with such high caliber. We were all just ordinary people, you know what I mean? But we just get in, battle hard. And the only reason we get how far we get is that we just got it more than anyone else – commit[ment].”
The Aussie veteran, who is ranked #5 in the flyweight division, has a record of 7-5 in the Circle, with five of those wins coming by KO or submission – so he knows how to get the job done.
But McLaren is focused on improving his arsenal further, and he’s feeling supremely positive about his new training facility and program.
“My training, man, I swear, I'm feeling different. I'm feeling incredibly thankful and fit and grateful. And just [to] have a bout, to fight someone, to get paid to do it, it's just crazy. Now, I'm just excited. Everything at the moment is lining up. I'm just ready,” he said.
“Lightning’s” upcoming opponent will undoubtedly test every part of his skill set. Xie has amassed a record of 8-1, and all of his victories have come by KO or TKO. "The Hunter" is hungry to make a name for himself by usurping a ranked athlete, which means he’ll be coming at McLaren with everything he has.
The 30-year-old star is well-aware of the attention his position in the division brings, though, and he’s just as eager to defend it while looking for a chance to move even higher in the competitive weight class.
“I think the ranking systems are awesome; they put a good target on your back. And it's a nice [to be] appreciated, you know what I mean? I'm not here to stand in no line if they want to give me the opportunity to call anyone out. I'm definitely going to be calling up the champ,” McLaren said.
Watch ONE 158: Tawanchai vs. Larsen live on Disney+ Hotstar or Star Sports Select 2, beginning with the lead card at 3 p.m. India Standard Time (IST) on Friday, 3 June. The main card broadcasts live on Disney+ Hotstar and Star Sports Select 2 at 6 p.m. IST.