At one point in time, Adriano Moraes was the most unheralded man in the sport of mixed martial arts. However, he changed all that when he put away Demetrious Johnson in 2021. A rematch that will happen on August 26 at ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II.
But getting to that moment was not an overnight success. Moraes did not take any short cut. He proved himself and tirelessly worked his way up the mountain top one bout at a time.
“Mikinho” started his professional career with nine consecutive victories. Undefeated and making noise, Moraes found himself in ONE Championship in 2013. However, the pathway to becoming a superstar did not start off with a bang as the Brazilian lost his debut match, at bantamweight, against Yusup Saadulaev by split decision.
But Moraes was quick to get back in the win column with back-to-back submission wins to earn a shot at the vacant ONE Flyweight World Championship against Geje Eusraquio. He would continue his submission streak and grab the first championship of his career.
After a successful defense against Riku Shibuya, Moraes suffered the first setback of his title reign against Kairat Akhmetov by split decision. But perseverance would soon become the trademark of Moraes as the world’s leading flyweight.
Moraes nabbed a rebound win over Eugene Toquero in March 2016 and followed it up by winning the ONE Interim Flyweight World Title against Tilek Batyrov with a second-round rear-naked choke. It set up his chance at redemption against Akhmetov in a unification bout.
Although Akhmetov proved too tough to finish, Moraes unified the titles and came out with a unanimous decision victory.
Following a defense of the gold against Danny Kingad, Moraes was once again on the wrong end of a split decision. This time it was against Geje Eustaquio.
But Moraes was right back to work.
His ability to quickly put a loss behind him and return better than ever is the true mark of a champion, and that is why he has always been able to jump right back into action and excel inside the Circle. Moraes never loses his motivation.
In January 2019, their trilogy came to a head, with Moraes reclaiming the title again.
On April 7, 2021, Moraes got a chance to finally show the rest of the world why he was the best flyweight in the world against “Mighty Mouse.” In a statement-making performance, Moraes defeated Johnson by knockout.
The victory was validation. His place among the elite could not be denied after putting away “Mighty Mouse” and affirming his status on top of the flyweight mountain. Where many others had faltered, Moraes succeeded.
In March 2022, Moraes returned at ONE X to defend the gold against Yuya Wakamatsu. Moraes got a guillotine choke finish in the third round in a commanding performance to continue his reign as king.
Now sitting at 20-3 in his illustrious career, Moraes is ready to show the world his previous win over Johnson was no fluke. Moraes will headline ONE’s first-ever event on Amazon Prime Video on August 26 in the latest defense of the title he has held for the better part of eight years.
At ONE on Prime Video 1: Moraes vs. Johnson II, “Mikinho” will stand beneath the spotlight on the biggest platform he has competed on to date. He has earned this moment.
ONE on Prime Video 1 airs on Prime Video on Friday, August 26, at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.