When the Philippines’ Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio met Brazil’s Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes for the inaugural ONE Flyweight World Championship in September 2014, it was a rude awakening for the young Team Lakay wushu artist.
The Baguio City native was finished via guillotine choke submission in two rounds, and he did not have much of an opportunity to showcase his skills.
However, this past Saturday, 23 June, nearly four years later, “Gravity” met his old rival in a World Champion versus World Champion main-event bout at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER.
Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio put on the performance of a lifetime, claiming a split-decision win & the right to be called the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion!
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, June 23, 2018
Eustaquio entered the contest as the interim titleholder, but after five grueling rounds, he left the Studio City Event Center in Macau with redemption, a split decision victory, and the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Championship.
“The feeling is awesome. I want to thank all my [Filipino countrymen] here who came out to support me,” the 29-year-old said in his post-bout interview with Mitch Chilson.
“I came to Macau with one vision, and that is to unify the Flyweight World Titles, and I know I was not capable of doing this alone. I want to thank God, Team Lakay, and of course my family. And to all the fans, thank you so much for the undying support.”
The first round began with both athletes strategically sizing each other up. Eustaquio then opened fire with a left kick, while Moraes countered with a thudding left straight.
As the Filipino pressed forward, he surprisingly shot in for a takedown, and brought “Mikinho” to the mat with an outside leg trip.
Prior to the contest, “Gravity” expressed his desire to grapple with the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, and he made good on his intent by driving Moraes to the canvas.
On the mat, however, Moraes displayed his jiu-jitsu expertise, and quickly began threatening with various submissions – most significantly a guillotine choke.
Shades of their first encounter flashed in fans’ minds, but “Gravity” showcased his improved ground game by escaping before dropping heavy ground and pound.
Things heated up in the second frame when Eustaquio countered a kick with a beautiful left hook, which had the Brazilian reeling. However, “Mikinho” continued to push forward in an effort to close the gap, as his adversary fired from range.
Despite holding a reach advantage, Moraes found little success in shortening the distance between the two in the early going. But with the Brazilian’s relentless pursuit of the takedown, it was only a matter of time before the action shifted from striking to technical grappling.
Eustaquio, who sensed his rival turning up the pressure, opened up the third round by increasing the volume of his strikes.
Moraes’ persistence eventually paid off, however. Soon, he was able to pick up his Filipino foe and slam him to the mat. Though “Mikinho” moved into half guard, Eustaquio made it difficult for his opponent to advance further.
As the championship rounds approached, the victory was within reach for both martial artists.
The Brazilian made the first major move, as he brought “Gravity” to the mat with single leg takedown to start the fourth. But Eustaquio made it back to his feet, and connected with more solid strikes.
Moraes, who appeared to be tiring, had a considerable decrease in activity. Despite that, he wisely fell back on his grappling, where he still enjoyed an advantage.
In the fifth and final round, with everything up for grabs, Eustaquio and Moraes left it all in the ONE ring.
Although “Mikinho” showcased his thrilling BJJ skills once again, even going for a kneebar with a minute remaining in the contest, the Filipino rolled out his submission attempt. Then it was Eustaquio’s turn, as he scored a takedown, threw a knee at the scrambling Brazilian, and took his back.
The pair exchanged positions on the ground, with Moraes throwing punches from the top, and “Gravity” retaliating from the bottom as time expired.
When the scores were tallied, Eustaquio earned the split decision victory, and was rewarded with the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Championship.
“Ladies and gentlemen, when I started 14 years ago, this was impossible. But now, after 14 years, impossible is not a word — it is just a reason,” the Filipino said to the crowd following his epic win.
“Anybody can be a world champion, as long as you have the drive and the attitude. I am proud to be the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion this time.”