Adriano Moraes will finally get to defend his flyweight world title against Demetrious Johnson at ‘ONE on TNT’ on April 7th. The pair were initially due to clash in April last year but the bout has been repeatedly postponed due to Covid-19.

Moraes won the title back from Geje Eustaquio at ONE: ‘Hero’s Ascent’, in total he has faced the Filipino three times. He also holds wins over the likes of Danny Kingad, Kairat Akhmetov and Yasuhiro Urushitani.

In Johnson, the Brazilian faces an adversary who is widely considered to be one of the greatest fighters of all time. He successfully defended his UFC flyweight title on no fewer than 11 occasions.

But Moraes is not intimidated by his opponent’s credentials. He sees this as an opportunity to prove that ONE Championship fighters are a match for anyone currently competing in the UFC,

“DJ is DJ, he’s really good everywhere his transitions are awesome and he’s a legend. Win or lose I’m going out there to give my best an try to finish him. Its’ a good opportunity to be live on TNT and defend the ONE flag in UFC territory.”

Different approach

Moraes has been on the ONE Championship roster since 2013. His record stands at 18-3 but every single defeat came by way of split decision, had just one judge seen each of those bouts differently he would be 21-0.

After establishing himself as one of the top fighters on the ONE Championship roster Moraes was offered the opportunity to train and coach at American Top Team, moving from Brasilia to Florida in 2016. He subsequently earned a black belt in BJJ and has also won a gold medal at the NAGA Championships.

Early on in is career the 31-year-old was more renowned for his grappling than his striking but Moraes, who is five inches taller than Johnson, wants to take a different approach against ‘DJ’,

“My gameplan is to use my Muay Thai, my elbows my knees and everything and to finish him. I want to finish him with a special move.”

Fast feet

Johnson has won three fights out of three for ONE Championship But Moraes is adamant he will not make the same mistakes that Yuya Wakamatsu, Tatsumitsu Wada and Danny Kingad made,

“To fight against DJ you need to have good footwork because he’s so fast. The opponents of DJ in the Grand Prix didn’t have good footwork (but) I’m going to put my footwork to work.”

Moraes tends to either win by submission of decision.  However the Brazilian, who has already stated he wants to focus more on his striking for this fight, hints that he might have a special surprise in store for the former UFC flyweight champion,

“I’m the champion, every time when I go to defend my crown it’s going to be a special fight and this time it’s against a legend. I’m going to put on a show and I’m going to finish him with a very good move.”