After Joshua Pacio and Eduard Folayang got confirmations of their title defenses in rematches, a third one, Geje Eustaquio also got his in the person of Adriano Moraes.
This is as ONE Championship recently announced that the “Gravity” will defend his ONE Flyweight world Championship belt against “Mikinho” in an immediate rematch on January 25, 2019 at Mall of Asia Arena.
This is the third bout between the longtime rivals, completing a trilogy, the first in ONE promotional history.
The bouts between rivals were all at the highest value and intensity as the ONE World Flyeweight Belt was at stake in all three bouts.
Moraes and Eustaquio first met for the inaugural ONE Flyweight World Championship in September 2014.
The Brazilian’s superior grappling skills earned him the victory on that night when he submitted Eustaquio with a second-round guillotine choke to become the first champion of the weight class.
They met again last June with Eustaquio as the Flyweight Interim Champion at that time, challenging for the world title in a unification match.
Armed with a much-improved ground game to go with his superb striking skill, the “Gravity” earned two of the three judges’ nod after five fiercely-contested rounds to end “Mikinho’s” second reign with a split decision.
This is the first fight of both Eustaquio and Moraes since their June square-off.
Eustquio is carrying an 11-6 career fight record going to the bout while Moraes is 17-3 in his even 20 fights.
In a related development, Pacio draws a new opponent as Hayato Suzuki had to back out of the rematch due to injury.
He will instead defend his title against Yosuke Saruta in the main event of ONE: Eternal Glory on January 19 at Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Saruta is a newcomer in ONE. He made his ONE debut early December against Alex Silva and went on to defeat the former champion by unanimous decision.
The 31-year old Japanese carries a career fight record of 18-8-3 coming to this bout. He is a former Shooto strawweight champion before hooking up with ONE.
Pacio captured the ONE strawweight belt when he outgunned Yoshitaka Naito last September 22 also at Indonesia.
Pacio is carrying a 13-2 career fight record to this bout. He currently on a four-bout winning streak that consists of finishing fellow-Filipino Roy Dolinguez in the second round by a spinning backfist, stopping Ming Qiang Lan by rear-naked choke in the first round, and sending home Pongsiri Mitsatit in the first by displaying the hammerlock submission move for the first time to ONE audiences, a move he christened “The Passion Lock” and the Naito fight.
This event officially kicks off ONE Championship’s 2019 season.
Meanwhile, Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly would probably still be the underdog as he draws a tough he has already beaten for his first fight of 2019.
Kelly and Christian “The Warrior” Lee will renew their rivalry in the same event.
Lee was getting the better of Kelly in their first bout held last September in Shangai, China with his aggressive attacked but inadvertently slammed the Team Lakay fighter onto his head.
That move, a WWE belly-to-back like suplex that landed Kelly on his head and neck and rendered him unconscious, was concluded by ONE officials as illegal under the promotion’s Global martial art rules after watching the replay of the takedown and presented Lee with a red card.
That caused the contest to come to an abrupt end with Kelly being awarded the win by disqualification.
The win improved Kelly’s record to 11 wins and 5 losses.
The loss was the third of Lee’s career. He reentered the cage last November and registered a TKO win by punches against Kazuki Tokudome last November to climb to 10 career wins.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS
Banner photo by ONE Championship