Demetrious Johnson is fighting Adriano Moraes for the second time at ONE 161. He got caught by the Brazilian last time around and suffered a devastating knockout defeat.
Johnson says that even though he had time to prepare for Moraes’ counter striking style he was still surprised by just how reluctant the champion was to engage,
“I know I have to be patient. Before (we) fought I watched his fights, and I thought, ‘Okay, he never really engages.’ He’s always used his movement or whatnot. And then fighting him, I realized he really didn’t engage because I was chasing him the whole time.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) November 23, 2021
More of the same
It proved to be a fatal error for Johnson who walked right into an uppercut as he pressed forwards. Moraes also finished his last opponent and the former UFC flyweight champion was cageside to see that fight.
Johnson didn’t see Moraes making any major adjustments for that fight and is expecting more of the same from the Brazilian when they fight in August,
“Then watching him (against) Yuya Wakamatsu, he didn’t really engage. So this time, I just got to be on my Ps and Qs and just be more mindful of not overcommitting.”
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It is a long time since Johnson came into a contest as the underdog. Bug having been convincingly beaten by Moraes last time out he will not be a favourite ay ONE 161.
It is an unfamiliar role for the 35 year old but one he is willing to embrace,
“I mean, at the end of the day, I have nothing to lose. I’ve just lost, damn it. We’ve both proven so much in the sport of mixed martial arts. For me, my challenge is I haven’t beat him yet, so I have a challenge in front of me. I have to go prove I can beat this man.”
Johnson has also embraced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the buildup to this fight. Moraes holds a black belt but the American says he has been working with a new coach and training in the gi,
“I found a legit jiu-jitsu gym under a new professor Yan McCane, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt for 10 years, very knowledgeable. Now, I’ve been doing a lot more jiu-jitsu because it’s eight minutes from my house and a gold mine for me because it kind of breathes life back into my development.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) April 1, 2022
On the day
Being able to train locally is a bonus for Johnson who normally has to spend a lot of time commuting when he is in fight camp,
“Training is going great. I already feel like I’m in great shape. I will say the biggest thing is because I joined a jiu-jitsu school. And now I’m training pure jiu-jitsu. Usually, when I’m in not in fight camp, the gym that I trained at is so far away. It’s basically an hour and 15 minutes away.”
He knows Moraes will be in excellent shape and admits that it could all come down wo who is better ‘on the day’,
“He always comes prepared. He’s always in great condition. On that day I’m just going to go out there and fight and see.”