EXCLUSIVE | After 3 years away, undefeated Hawaiian Lowen Tynanes returns to kick off ONE Lightweight Grand Prix

Lowen Tynanes

In April of 2015, at ONE: Global Rivals, Hawaii’s Lowen Tynanes improved to an impressive 9-0 with a unanimous decision defeat of respected Japanese veteran Koji Ando. The future looked very bright for the young Hawaiian, as a ONE Championship lightweight title shot seemed to be just around the corner.

Unfortunately, he has not fought since.

On Friday night, at ONE: Hero’s Ascent in Manila (Friday morning in North America) that will change, as Tynanes will return to action opposite former ONE Featherweight Champion Honorio Banario.

The pair will meet in the first quarterfinal bout of the ONE Championship Lightweight World Grand Prix, which also features names like Amir Khan, Timofey Nastyukhin and Eddie Alvarez.

To say Lowen Tynanes is excited about his imminent return to action would be an understatement.

“I’m so excited. It’s been a long time coming,” he told BJPENN.com just days ahead of his fight. “I put in some work. Put in lots of work, physically, emotionally, mentally, and I cannot wait to get in there January 25.”

For Tynanes, this long absence from the cage was all about healing — physically and mentally. His body told him it was time for a break, and he listened to it.

“I’ve been finding myself emotionally and physically,” he explained. “I’ve been injured for a couple of years now. I had a herniated disk in my L4-L5. I had to listen to my body and recover. But somehow, some way, I always knew that I wanted to fight, and I found myself right back here, about to step into the cage.”

When we talk about fighters making comebacks after long absences, we almost always talk about ring rust too. Tynanes isn’t sure this menacing x-factor exists, but is certain he’ll find out one way or the other when he steps into the cage in Manila on Friday.

“If ring rust exists, I’m going to find out on Friday,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not worried. I put in work. I grinded every single day. So we’ll find out. I’ll let you guys know after.”

Ring rust isn’t the only factor Tynanes will be faced with in The Philippines. He’ll also have to deal with his own nerves.

“Yes, I’m very nervous,” he said. “But excited. I feel a little bit of everything, but I think I’ll hold my own.”

Amid these intangibles, Tynanes will also be forced to deal with the versatility and experience of the former featherweight king Honorio Banario.

He says has massive respect for his opponent, and is not expecting an easy night of work.

“I think Banario is phenomenal,” Tynanes said of his foe. “He’s a warrior, a Filipino warrior, and he’s been in some crazy wars. He always brings it. He’s always a game opponent. So I’m very excited to put on a show with him come January 25.

“He’s pretty well rounded,” he added, discussing his foe’s best attributes. “Like I said earlier, he’s very, very exciting. He’ll bring it in the stand-up, and with the kicks, and the grappling, wrestling. Everywhere.”

If Lowen Tynanes is victorious in his long-awaited return to action, he’ll advance to the second round of of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix. While he admits he doesn’t know too much about the other fighters in the tournament, he is aware that former UFC and Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez will be in the mix, on the same side of the bracket, and would love the opportunity to fight him in the near future.

” I only know there there’s Eddie Alvarez in the Grand Prix,” he said. “Honestly he’s a legend, outside of the ring and inside of the ring. But if he steps in the cage with me, if it happens, he’s just another guy.”

Lowen Tynanes

Although Tynanes is hesitant to look past Honorio Banario and the other fighters in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, he is confident that, if he fights well, he will be wearing ONE gold by this time next year.

“If you’re a fighter in an organization and you’re not going for the gold, then you’re in the wrong sport,” he said. “I want to be the champion, and I probably will be by this time next year.”

For Tynanes, the goal of finally earning the ONE lightweight title begins on Friday in Manila. While he is reluctant to make a prediction for something as volatile as an MMA bout, he’s confident that the fight will be thrilling and that he’ll have his hand raised in the end.

“It’s been a couple years since I’ve been in there, and going to be a lot of energy — physical, emotional and mental — that will be released,” he said. “And Banario is a game opponent so he’ll bring it also. I think it’s going to be a very fun and exciting fight to watch.”

“I just need to win,” he concluded. “That’s the primary goal. Just win. Any way, any fashion, it don’t matter.”

Catch the anticipated return of Lowen Tynanes at ONE: Hero’s Ascent this Friday.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/24/2019.