Adriano Moraes Wins 2021 MMA Knockout Of The Year

Adriano Moraes celebrates his knockout victory over Demetrious Johnson

There have been a plethora of jaw-dropping MMA knockouts over the past 12 months in ONE Championship. 

From crunching elbows and truck-like fists to a spectacular 10-second knockout, 2021 treated fans to some of the most unforgettable highlight-reel KOs in recent years.

But one, in particular, was a cut above the rest – that being ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes’ crushing knee knockout of Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson at “ONE on TNT I” on Wednesday, 7 April. 

Before the blockbuster event, Moraes had yet to earn a knockout victory on the global stage. In fact, all his previous finishes in The Home of Martial Arts had come by submission.

So, what better way to remind the division’s top contenders that he is just as dangerous on the feet than by turning off the lights of the MMA GOAT?

Leading up to the showdown, Johnson – a 12-time Flyweight World Champion – promised to push the pace against the Brazilian kingpin. But Moraes, the taller of the two, stayed beyond his opponent’s reach every time he advanced.

After some time, however, the American legend managed to close the distance behind his punches. And just as he started hitting Moraes with more shots, the Brazilian caught Johnson’s left leg and pulled guard to attack for a leg lock.

Johnson – who is as equally well-versed as Moraes on the canvas – didn’t have much room to escape. Still, he stayed active from guard, even as “Mikinho” pounded away with short right hands.

Brazilian MMA fighter Adriano Moraes drills Demetrious Johnson with a knee

As the bell rang to begin the second frame, “Mighty Mouse” once again tried to close the distance with his punches. Moraes ate a couple of them, but none proved to be significant. He then used his kicks to fend off his oncoming rival.

The Brazilian circled Johnson, who was still eager to minimize the gap. But that proved to be a bad idea against the calm titleholder.

Moraes threw a right knee that “Mighty Mouse” attempted to catch, but the crafty flyweight king easily escaped and fired off a spinning backfist, which missed the mark. 

Thinking that the Brazilian was still finding his footing, Johnson continued to advance with a flurry of hooks and overhands. “Mikinho” avoided all of the shots, though, and then tagged the American with a right uppercut that instantly floored him.

Johnson tried to sit up and get an underhook, but the Brazilian capitalized on the slightest of openings. He found a small gap, loaded up his left leg, and threw a fully loaded knee, which caught the MMA GOAT smack on his face and shut off his lights.

Brazilian MMA fighter Adriano Moraes drills Demetrious Johnson with a knee

The referee waved off the action at the 2:24 mark of round two, giving Moraes his first KO victory on the global stage. 

This knockout win was Moraes’ best performance in a World Title defense. And to earn a finish like that against a legend – who had never been knocked out in 34 previous fights – proved to the world that “Mikinho” is indeed the greatest flyweight of this era.

Read more: Stamp Fairtex Named ONE’s 2021 Female MMA Fighter Of The Year

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