ONE Championship is billing Saturday’s co-main event as the biggest championship rematch in the promotion’s history, and that might not be hyperbole.
With an undefeated flyweight champion in Kairat Akhmetov (20-0), ONE Championship 58’s co-feature has his unblemished record on the line, as well as his 125-pound title against interim champ Adriano Moraes (15-2). To put a little more at stake, Moraes will be trying to avenge a loss to Akhmetov from nearly two years ago, when he dropped a split decision.
“ONE Championship 58: Kings & Conquerors” takes place Saturday at Cotai Arena in Macau, China. The card streams via online pay-per-view in North America.
Akhmetov has not fought since his win over Moraes in 2015, and Brazil’s Moraes is hoping his two wins over that same stretch help make the difference.
“I’m very happy with this opportunity to be able to face Kairat again,” Moraes told MMAjunkie. “It’s been two years since we last fought. Thankfully, I fought twice more since then. I’m coming off two victories. I stayed active. I’m really happy ONE gave me this shot at the belt again. I believe Kairat wasn’t fighting due to injury. Thankfully he’s well now, so we can fight again and see who really is No. 1.”
Moraes said the 20 months since their initial meeting has given him plenty of time to reflect on the split-decision setback, which took place at ONE Championship 34. And when he wasn’t preparing for his fights against Eugene Toquero and Tilek Batyrov, both of whom he submitted, he no doubt was thinking about getting another crack at Akhmetov.
“I have studied him very well,” Moraes said. “When we first fought, he took me down a few times, so I’ve been working on takedown defense. I’m working on my wrestling with Steve Mocco at American Top Team. I’m also giving emphasis to my jiu-jitsu. If we scramble, my jiu-jitsu is of a higher caliber, no doubt. My training partners are Kyoji Horiguchi, Pedro Munhoz and Gleidson de Jesus. …
“Winning is most important, but my objective is to have a great fight and win by knockout or submission. I’m looking for a great victory. I’ll give everything I have.”
But that activity, even though it was only two fights, again is something Moraes hopes is a check in his favor. Two fights in 20 months compared to none for his opponent could make a huge difference.
“It’s great to be able to be active,” he said. “If too much time goes by, we end up developing rust. There’s a lack of adrenaline. Sometimes you feel that during a fight. It’s a point in my favor. So I’ll exploit it as much as possible. … I believe he’ll be well trained, but remaining active is my advantage. I think my fight memory will be sharper.”
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Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie