Even after being pitted against one another thrice for the last five years, Geje Eustaquio and Adriano Moraes hold no grudges against one another.
Friday evening, their trilogy was held, serving as the main event of ONE: Hero’s Ascent.
For 25 minutes, the two elite warriors brought everything they’ve got — including a rare submission hold that did not result in a tap. Still, there had to be a victor and it was Moraes who had his hand raised to serve as the rivalry’s victor.
Though the decision was a bit controversial to say the least, Eustaquio, who lost his ONE Flyweight World title, had no bad blood against the Brazilian — even professing his gratitude to Moraes for making him a better fighter.
“I thanked him for bringing the best version of Geje because without Adriano I won’t be as skilled. It’s all because of him.
“If you’re the champion, the rest of the division is looking at every move you do. I got a chance to say thank you to him for making me a better Geje Eustaquio,” expressed the 29-year-old Igorot athlete.
During the span of their three-bout series, Moraes has grown to respect Eustaquio. Not only that, he was able to gain a friend and “teammate”.
“We have history. We’re opponents and were friends too. We’re like teammates.
“I’m happy Geje was a champion too,” the 29-year-old Brazilian jiujitero shared.
An immediate fourth bout is not far-fetched for the two flyweights as their last two bouts ended via razor-thin decisions. But for the both of them, they just want to move on from their series and see whether their paths would cross again.
“Part four? Maybe mas maganda kung ibang putahe naman.
“If he’ll still be the undisputed champion, give me enough time, we will win again,” said Eustaquio, who fell to 11-7.
“I guess fourth time, nobody wants to watch more of me here,” quipped Moraes, who is now 18-3.
“Maybe we want to play poker, snooker together, but to fight? I want to move past this and get to more fights.”
And the two martial artists, who came from very different backgrounds, are just glad to have made history together.
“I’m the people of the mountain, there’s no mountain we can conquer,” vowed Eustaquio.
“Today we finished this history and I’m so glad to end it as the winner,” closed Moraes.