Former ONE Flyweight Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio is predicting a repeat by former foe, Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes, when the reigning ONE Flyweight Champion faces wily legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson at ONE 161 on August 26 but #4-ranked ONE flyweight Danny Kingad can’t say for sure who will be leaving Singapore with the gold.
Eustaquio have fought each other three times inside the ONE Circle, so the Team Lakay stalwart is very familiar with how Moraes will bring it to DJ in their much-awaited title fight.
“I expect fireworks from both warriors. Both of them are fire-tested and both of them are legends. I expect nothing but a full display of mixed martial arts,” said the Igorot warrior.
But truth be told, Eustaquio is leaning more towards Moraes in this face-off. Regardless of their past rivalry, the Team Lakay star is very much proud of his former rival’s achievements in ONE Championship.
“Adriano, you have to remember that when all of them doubted you to win against DJ, you proved them all wrong by giving him his first career KO. You have to stay on that mentality and I wish you a safe and healthy competition,” he said.
He even gave a tip on how Moraes can repeat over DJ and still retain his ONE Flyweight Championship.
“Adriano needs to be unpredictable in order to retain the title, he has to move constantly because DJ is very crafty in playing the game. Adriano has all the tools and had them all tested before,” he said.
“Win or lose brother, you have proved more than enough to this sport. I am proud of being part of your journey. I wish you luck.”
Although the 33-year old former teacher recently accepted a challenge to face an up-and-coming ONE Flyweight contender in Gurdashan ‘Saint Lion” Mangat, he does not deny that he’s keeping his eye on the prize, and that is to get back in the Flyweight division rankings and grab a chance to do a 4-part against his former rival Moraes.
Ultimately, he wants to bring the ONE Flyweight World Championship belt back into the Cordilleras.
“If you are still the champion of our division then, there’s no escape brother. We will soon meet again. I’ll keep racking up victories and gamble on the title shot one more time,” he says resolutely. “God bless, brother.”
On the other hand, Kingad is another interested spectator of the match that will also be carried via Prime Video 1, the first ONE Championship card that will stream live on Amazon Prime Video in US Primetime.
Kingad said that the world title rematch between Moraes and Johnson would surely be a martial arts spectacle but there is no clear winner of this grudge rematch.
The Team Lakay star pointed out how both fighters have been ramping up their preparations for the match. Moraes has been grinding it out at his home gym of American Top Team in Florida while Johnson recently trained with former UFC rival Henry Cejudo.
“This rematch will of course be an exciting match. I think DJ’s been putting in the work because I saw on his social media posts that he’s been training with Cejudo. I think Cejudo’s been helping DJ in his training. I really don’t know what will happen in this match, but I’m sure that this will be a great fight. There will surely be differences from their last match,” Kingad said.
Moraes first defended the ONE Flyweight World Title against Johnson at ONE on TNT I in April 2021 in a chess match of a fight. Both fighters had moments holding dominant positions but the fight largely happened on the feet.
The second round saw, arguably, the most iconic knee strike in ONE Championship when Moraes cracked Johnson with a thunderous left knee to remain the flyweight king.
Kingad, whose career losses came only against both Moraes and Johnson in two high-profile matches, believes the two fighters have greatly improved since their 2021 meeting.
“Adriano is now much better on his feet, he’s more comfortable on his striking compared to before. He usually favored his grappling in his previous fights, but he’s now moving better on stand-up scenarios,” he continued.
“DJ improves every day. He’s always working on something to get better, it’s almost impossible to see what his weaknesses are. He can also train with other elite fighters there abroad that’s why he’s always improving.”
By: Armando M. Bolislis