Adriano Moraes is the ONE Championship flyweight king. Again.
“Mikinho” was granted an immediate rematch with Geje Eustaquio after losing his title in a controversial split decision call last June, and had his hands raised this time in the main event of Friday’s ONE: Hero’s Ascent in Manila, Philippines.
Moraes, who was 1-1 against Eustaquio after submission win back in 2014, didn’t have a good start in the trilogy fight. Eustaquio connected with good punches in the opening round, while Moraes mostly worked on the kicks.
The Brazilian grappler only went for a takedown in the second round, immediately going for a guillotine choke before taking Eustaquio’s back and working on a rear-naked choke. Eustaquio survived, and both flyweights engaged in an insane grappling exchange with submission attempts from both sides, though Moraes had the better ones.
After a back-and-forth action on the feet in the third, Moraes scored another takedown in the fourth round and came close to submitting Eustaquio with a Suloev stretch, but the Philippines native survived for a minute before finally escaping in front of his countrymen.
The fifth round started with both flyweights looking to make a statement. Eustaquio rocked Moraes with combinations in the first minute, but Moraes once again used his superior grappling to take the fight to the mat. In the end, Moraes was declared the new flyweight champion via unanimous decision.
”I get to very, very close submission and he didn’t tap. Oh my god,” Moraes said in his post-fight interview in English. “But I’m so happy to bring (back) my belt here in Philippines, Manila.”
Speaking in his native Portuguese, Moraes said “Brazil, this is ours, it has always been. We came here to settle this mess and thank God (the belt) is with us.”
With ONE Championship promoting a flyweight tournament in 2019, including former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson, Moraes says he now looks forward to “enter this flyweight grand prix with power.”
In the co-main event on Friday, undefeated Lowen Tynanes finished former champion Honorio Banario to advance to semifinals of the ONE lightweight tournament. Danny Kingad, who suffered the only blemish in his record in a title fight against Adriano Moraes in 2017, going 4-0 since then with a decision over Tatsumitsu Wada.
In the remaining MMA bouts on the card, Reinier de Ridder submitted Rong Fan with a d’arce choke in the first round, while Kai Tang and Himanshu Kaushi scored knockouts against Sung Jong Lee and Eka Aprilianto, respectively.