‘He’s On Another Level’ – Moraes Says Buchecha Will Dominate Reug Reug, Continue MMA Ascent

Apr 11, 2022
Friends Adriano Moraes and Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida

Adriano Moraes has forged a tight friendship with Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida ever since the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend joined his famed stable at American Top Team.

And the reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion has nothing but praise for “Buchecha,” who will continue his intriguing switch to MMA in a heavyweight fight against “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane at ONE: Eersel vs. Sadikovic on Friday, 22 April.

Before the 17-time BJJ World Champion faces “Reug Reug” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Moraes recalled the start of their relationship.

He told ONE Championship:

“When ‘Buchecha’ arrived at ATT, everyone already knew about him. I’ve been a fan of his work for many years. Even though he’s a heavyweight, he can roll very well with lighter athletes. He’s a very cool guy. He likes to teach, to learn. He’s a very friendly guy. We have a very similar personality, and I think that’s why we became great friends.”

After joining the Florida gym in 2020, “Buchecha” made his ONE Championship debut in September 2021 and quickly announced his presence with a first-round submission of Anderson “Braddock” Silva.

Just a few months later, he did the same to South Korean destroyer Kang Ji Won, securing a rear-naked choke in the opening stanza at ONE: WINTER WARRIORS.

Some might be surprised by the Brazilian’s effortless switch to MMA – but not Moraes.

The flyweight king has gotten a firsthand look at his compatriot and believes his ground game is simply on a different plane than every other heavyweight.

“I like to say that there are some good jiu-jitsu guys, and there are ‘Buchecha’-level guys. He’s on another level. He is a very complete athlete – he sweeps, passes guard, takes the back. He has his favorite positions, an offensive game that’s unique. In his division, there’s no one who comes close to his level in jiu-jitsu.

“What impresses me the most is that a guy who has already broken all [BJJ] records is at the gym every day looking to improve. As I said, he likes to be a student, he likes to learn, and that inspires me. He trains every day to improve his transition to MMA.”

Adriano Moraes on “Buchecha’s” fast start in mixed martial arts

Adriano Moraes Expects ‘Buchecha’ To Submit ‘Reug Reug’

If you ask Adriano Moraes, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida won’t have a problem getting past Senegalese wrestling sensation “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane.

The longtime flyweight titleholder expects his teammate to turn in another spectacular performance on 22 April and continue establishing himself as a force in MMA.

“Mikinho” told ONE Championship:

“It’s a very good fight for ‘Buchecha.’ Although ‘Reug Reug’ is also a grappler, his level isn’t even close to ‘Buchecha’s level. ‘Reug Reug’ is a scared fighter, so I think ‘Buchecha’ will do very well. I believe it’s a great fight for ‘Buchecha’ to further leverage his name in the ONE Championship heavyweight division.”

Despite that confidence, some believe “Reug Reug” poses a legitimate threat to the BJJ legend.

The 30-year-old began his own MMA career with three consecutive TKO victories before suffering his only setback against former ONE World Title challenger Kirill Grishenko.

But while the popular African brings powerful striking and a wrestling background to the table, Moraes says Almeida can cruise to a victory if he sticks to his strategy and utilizes his iconic ground game.

“‘Buchecha’ needs to use his footwork a lot. Like I said, ‘Reug Reug’ is a scared fighter. He’s going to want to throw his punches in a straight line. If ‘Buchecha’ works well from a distance, he’ll be able to find the space to grab, take down, and finish the fight.

“I see ‘Buchecha’ moving around a lot, dropping some punches, kicking, keeping his distance and being smart to put down and finish the fight. I believe this fight ends in the first round by submission.”

Adriano Moraes on “Buchecha’s” game plan against “Reug Reug”

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