Hawaii has been a traditional hotbed for mixed martial arts talent, and the state may have found its newest star in lightweight Lowen Tynanes.
The unbeaten prospect pushed his record to 9-0 with another dominating performance inside the Singapore-based One Championship organization on April 15, as he took a unanimous decision from Sengoku and Road Fighting Championship veteran Koji Ando. The 31-year-old Ando had won six of his previous seven bouts, losing only to Shinya Aoki. Tynanes used his wrestling skills to gather takedowns and sharp leg kicks to pick apart his opponent at One Championship 41.
“That was my game plan and I followed it,” Tynanes told Sherdog.com, “but I wanted to finish him, though.”
The 25-year-old Hawaiian has won all five of his fights in One Championship and appears to be knocking on the door to a title shot. Aoki currently holds the promotion’s lightweight crown and has not lost a fight in more than four years.
“I want to fight the champion, for sure,” Tynanes said. “I’ve been wanting a title fight, and I feel like I earned it.”
Tynanes, 25, started training in various martial arts disciplines as a child. His father, Myles Tynanes, was a professional fighter himself and made his pro MMA debut in November 2001. The younger Tynanes was in fourth grade at the time. As the sport evolved, so did the skills on which father and son focused.
“The sport was so new, and it was growing so fast,” Tynanes said. “My dad would go to all these different gyms, and whatever he took from those guys, he would come home and say we have to do this.”
Boxing was a staple of their training, until his father returned from a training session at a new gym. His eyes had been opened.
“My dad came home one day after training and told us we have to do jiu-jitsu,” Tynanes said. “It’s the new thing, so we did that.”
Soon after, Tynanes began to supplement his skills with judo. Once he started high school, wrestling came into the picture. Tynanes went on to become a two-time state wrestling champion, the experience providing him with a successful base through which to launch into MMA. He won his first four amateur fights before turning pro. Tynanes debuted on Sept. 25, 2011 at a Heat event in Nagoya, Japan, earning a two-round unanimous decision over Yosuki Suto. The victory was made all the more special by the fact that his father was in the main event and stopped Henry Miller with first-round punches.
“It was super sick and an awesome experience,” Tynanes said, “but I was more worried about him than anything.”
Tyanes moved quickly. In his second professional appearance, he challenged Universal Reality Combat Championship titleholder Eduard Folayang. Tynanes forced a doctor stoppage after a takedown led to a brutal elbow that finished the Filipino champion. He went on to capture a King of the Cage championship at age 23, as he submitted Kris Armbrister with an arm-triangle choke in April 2013. Five more wins have followed, four of them in One Championship.
At 5-foot-10, Tynanes admits he enjoys grappling and dealing with his opponents on the ground.
“I like taking them down,” he said. “I feel like I am a bigger and stronger person than most guys in my weight class.”
Tynanes operates out of the Hawaii Elite MMA camp, where he sharpens his skills with some of the top fighters in the world. One of his primary training partners is Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight contender Max Holloway. Though they compete in different weight classes, they are roughly the same size and give each other different looks through their contrasting styles.
“We benefit each other greatly,” Tynanes said. “Max is a phenomenal striker and my strong point is wrestling, so that is what most guys will do to him. We take it and give it to each other, for sure, but that is how it is with all the guys at the gym.”
Tynanes finds himself on the verge of a title shot at 155 pounds. Should he take on Aoki, it would give him the chance to open the eyes of MMA fans around the world. Aoki has cemented himself as one of the sport’s most accomplished lightweights and one of its most dangerous submission grapplers. Tynanes has one fight remaining on his current One Championship deal, a fact that could conceivably complicate matters. However, the Hawaiian does not sound concerned with contract negotiations. He just wants another championship belt resting on his waist by the end of 2016.
“The next goal is definitely to be a world champion,” Tynanes said, “so as of right now, my only goal is to be the One FC champion.”