“ONE on TNT I” will feature a true clash of titans, as ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes puts his gold on the line against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in a historic matchup on Wednesday, 7 April.
Johnson entered ONE Championship as the most dominant flyweight ever in North America, while “Mikinho” holds that distinction in ONE, with six World Title victories on the global stage.
“Mighty Mouse’s” status as the Flyweight GOAT appears to make him a formidable challenge for Moraes, but the Brazilian star is a world-class operator who’s been the dominant force in his division for many years.
Here are five reasons why the promotion’s reigning flyweight king can defeat Johnson in ONE’s debut on U.S. prime-time television.
#1 Most Dominant Flyweight In ONE History
To see why Moraes can defeat any flyweight in the world, you only have to look at his resume with The Home Of Martial Arts.
The Brazilian owns nine victories in the flyweight division, including six wins in eight World Title contests against elite opponents like Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov, and Danny “The King” Kingad.
His only championship defeats came via extremely tight split decisions, and he avenged both of those losses with rematch victories over Eustaquio and Akhmetov.
Since he arrived in ONE, Moraes has proven his ability to both dominate and evolve – and there’s no doubt he will bring his best in the biggest fight of his career.
#2 BJJ Mastery
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu saved Moraes from a life on the streets, and in return, he dedicated himself to the sport from a young age.
Since then, grappling has been the driving force of his success in mixed martial arts, with nine career victories coming via submission, including six in ONE.
Moraes achieved his BJJ black belt under coaches at Constrictor Team, Erick Medeiros and Ataide Junior. True to the name, he is a master of chokes, with guillotine, D’Arce, arm-triangle, and rear-naked choke victories to his credit.
That positional mastery means the Brazilian is adept at taking the back — something Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada did to Johnson — and if Moraes gets there, his control and submission acumen will make him a massive threat to the AMC Pankration athlete.
Interestingly, the only shared opponent for Moraes and Johnson is Kingad. Moraes choked the Filipino out in round one, while the American defeated him via decision to claim the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Championship.
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#3 Size Advantage
“Mikinho” is an imposing figure at flyweight. Standing 172 centimeters tall, he will own a 12-centimeter height advantage over the challenger — something Johnson recognizes as an issue to overcome.
Of course, it doesn’t mean anything without the right application. Fortunately for Moraes, he puts his assets to good work.
In the striking exchanges, the Brasilia native employs strong straight punches and low kicks that make the most of his length. He’s also careful not to give his range away by exchanging in the pocket, instead moving in and out to attack.
And on the ground, Moraes’ long legs make it easier for him to cinch up his favored body triangle, which offers him the control he needs to hold position and attack for chokes.
“Mighty Mouse” is used to facing taller opponents, but at this level, every small edge can make a difference.
#4 Backing From Elite Coaches
Now based out of the renowned American Top Team in Florida, Moraes is learning from a wealth of coaching talent that has forged numerous World Champions.
ATT features world-class instructors in striking, wrestling, BJJ, and mixed martial arts. With their help, “Mikinho” believes he can overcome the famously well-rounded Johnson.
“Katel Kubis is doing a lot of good strategy with me. Conan Silveira gave his thoughts, of course, and Mike Brown is one of the best coaches in the world,” the Brazilian says.
They have also helped athletes prepare for “Mighty Mouse” in the past — Brown in particular — which provided a head-start for research on this upcoming battle.
Against a formidable opponent like DJ, the little details can be the difference between success or defeat. There’s no doubt that Moraes’ coaches have done their due diligence to help their charge retain his World Title.
#5 Top Training Partners
On top of his quality coaching, Moraes also has the chance to pressure-test his strategy against elite flyweight training partners.
With the likes of Jussier Formiga and Kyoji Horiguchi on the mats with him every day, “Mikinho” will be pushed to iron out the creases, as he won’t be let off the hook when they tussle in sparring sessions.
Multiple-time Mixed Martial Arts World Champion Horiguchi also went five rounds with Johnson back in 2015, so he is well-acquainted with the Washington native and can offer some unique insights about the flyweight superstar.
Moraes will be pushed physically and mentally inside the gym so he can be ready for action on fight night.