Demetrious Johnson Vs. Adriano Moraes III: 4 Keys To Victory In ONE Flyweight World Title Trilogy
American MMA legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Brazilian superstar Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes have more knowledge than ever as they prepare for the main event of ONE Fight Night 10 on Prime Video.
The two cerebral athletes have already shared the Circle twice, and they will use those lessons in their massive ONE Flyweight World Title rubber match this Friday, May 5.
That history makes the trilogy bout even more intriguing from a technical standpoint, while their previous six rounds of combat produced a highlight-reel knockout from each competitor.
Ahead of ONE’s groundbreaking U.S. debut at 1stBank Center in Colorado, here’s how both defending king Johnson and #1-ranked Moraes can settle the score and walk away with 26 pounds of gold.
#1 Moraes Luring In Johnson For Counter-Strikes
Johnson has accused Moraes of being unwilling to engage, but “Mikinho” is right to use his patience and reach to his advantage.
The Brazilian can use his long limbs to keep the shorter man at bay, with straight punches and kicks being his main weapons.
Like in the first fight, this strategy could cause “Mighty Mouse” to rush his entries and open up opportunities to counter.
Moraes can then plant his feet and let rip with hard uppercuts – like the one that started his finishing sequence at ONE on TNT I. Plus, his dangerous guard provides an extra safety net if he gets taken down while standing his ground.
#2 Johnson Feinting And Cutting Off The Circle
Knowing he’s at a length disadvantage, Johnson must find a way inside to attack. Otherwise, he risks being peppered on the outside and losing long stretches of the contest.
As noted, this led to rash decisions in the first bout, but if the flyweight GOAT lays his foundations the right way, he can work his way inside to score more safely.
Feints are key, as they will force Moraes to use his arms to defend rather than strike. In the second meeting, they opened up several opportunities for Johnson to shift his feet and into close range.
“Mighty Mouse” can also combine this with some savvy footwork to cut off his challenger’s lateral movements.
If he can block Moraes’ exits and trap him closer to the Circle Wall, the reigning titleholder can stay closer to his foe and land his punches.
#3 Moraes’ Top Game
Moraes enjoyed long periods of dominance in both matches when he used his takedowns to counter the American’s striking and take top control on the ground.
Most of his takedowns came from catching his rival’s kicks – which are a necessity for Johnson when he can’t close the distance to throw hands – so discipline is also key here.
“Mighty Mouse” struggled to get back up and was only able to escape those situations at the end of the rounds, which shows just how suffocating Moraes’ pressure can be.
While it’s unlikely he’ll be able to submit Johnson, the BJJ black belt’s grappling acumen means he can control his opponents well on the canvas and score with ground-and-pound.
#4 Johnson Mixing It Up
Johnson is arguably the best true mixed martial artist of all time in terms of his ability to flow between ranges. Forcing this intensity on Moraes will be crucial.
If “Mighty Mouse” becomes predictable by only wanting to strike, it will give the former ONE Flyweight World Champion the chance to bait and counter.
However, if the new king mixes in some clinch work and takedown attempts with his hands, Moraes won’t only have to focus his defensive strategy on one area.
While that might be a problem for the challenger, Johnson thrives in the chaos, striking off takedown feints, using his speed to get to the legs, and breaking off when necessary.
If he does get a deep entry into a takedown, Johnson has strong top control, but if “Mikinho” defends well, the American is a master at looking for submissions in the transitions. That element of surprise has been a key factor in DJ being able to tap out elite grapplers in the past.