Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio avenged another of his controversial defeat, this time to former flyweight world titleholder Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov to capture the Interim Flyweight World Championship in the main event of the ONE: Global Superheroes held last January 26, 2018 at the Mall of Asia arena in Pasay City.
The bout was a rematch of the pair’s September 2017 clash, won by Akhmetov via split decision. The result was much clearer this time.
Akhmetov started the bout looking to close the distance and use his wrestling against the seasoned wushu striker.
But Eustaquio showed vastly improved takedown defense, repeatedly fending off the former world champion, and even locking up a kneebar submission from his back after eventually being taken to the mat late in the round.
It was a sign that Eustaquio became more well-rounded and confident martial artist. This proved to be the difference maker throughout the entire contest.
Eustaquio took control of the cage and dictating the distance by comfortably unleashing his strikes. The Baguio City native landed leg and front kicks from range, and stepped in with the occasional punch.
Eustaquio continued frustrating Akhmetov in the second, rendering him unable to use his wrestling to gain advantage. Even when he did execute a takedown, Eustaquio often reversed the position quickly.
The action in the third and fourth stanzas stands the same, with Eustaquio avoiding more takedown attempts, including a guillotine choke, reversing clinches, and limiting Akhmetov’s striking attack to just single shots while countering effectively.
The fight was the first five-rounder for The Gravity.
“I don’t know what to say, guys,” said Eustaquio after the bout. He paid tribute to his family, team, and country, telling them: “This belt is not mine, it’s ours. I’m proud to represent the flag.”
Eustquio also challenged Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes, who defeated him on September 2014 in the inaugural title match.
“Adriano! I’ve got a belt!” Eustaquio exclaimed. “When we faced the first time, I didn’t make it to the third round. Give me one more try!”
The Brazilian, who was in attendance during the fight, entered the cage to congratulate Eustaquio and show his respect and accepted the challenge for the pair to meet again to unify the titles.
“I’d like to congratulate this guy. Geje Eustaqio really deserved this belt. I have too much respect for this guy,” he said. “Now he’s an interim flyweight world champion. But this is my throne, this is my house, so let’s do it again!”
Eustaquio improves his record to 10-6 while becoming just the second man to give Akhmetov a loss in 23 MMA fights.
Eustaquio earlier first “exacted revenge” on an opponent he earlier suffered a loss during their rematch with Thailand’s Anatpong “Mak” Bunrad last May 26, 2017 when he prevailed the same way he fell during their first match-up, a split decision victory. Bunrad got the nod also via split decision in the first encounter on April 24, 2015.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS