As ONE Championship’s historic debut in the United States approaches, several Filipino mixed martial artists are weighing in on the marquee attraction.
ONE Fight Night 10, which will take place at the 1stBank Center in Denver, Colorado on Saturday, May 6 (Philippine time), is headlined by the highly anticipated rubber match between Demetrious Johnson and Adriano Moraes for the coveted flyweight championship.
The intense rivalry is currently tied at one bout apiece. Moraes drew first blood by scoring an upset victory by way of a second-round knockout in April 2021, while Johnson exacted revenge by stopping the Brazilian standout 16 months later to wrest the flyweight belt.
Stephen Loman, who is presently ranked as the No. 2 contender in the bantamweight division, feels Moraes is in for another surprise at the hands of “Mighty Mouse.”
“DJ is a very conscious and smart fighter, and I don’t think he will have the same plan of attack for this third one. I truly believe ‘Mighty Mouse’ will mix it up to get the victory. Remember that he has a superb ground game, and we may see it in the third fight,” he told Tiebreaker Times.
Meanwhile, Kevin Belingon sees it as a 50-50 encounter. However, the former ONE bantamweight titlist believes that the American superstar’s fight IQ and cage experience will spell the difference.
“This is the fight game, and anything can happen. You never know. People evolve, and I am sure Adriano has come prepared for this one. It can go either way, but DJ possesses a better experience. Plus, his fight IQ is second to none,” Belingon explained.
On the other hand, Jhanlo Sangiao foresees another knockout win in favor of the defending champion.
“I’m picking DJ to win because he has all the characteristics of a complete fighter. To me, it’s possible that he can knock out Moraes again,” Sangiao shared.
Honorio Banario, who once held the ONE featherweight belt, expects the third date between Johnson and Moraes to go the distance.
“I truly believe that the dynamics will change in the third fight, making it a more difficult fight compared to the first two. I’m pretty sure that this fight can go the full five rounds,” Banario explained.
Although Banario thinks that the three judges at cageside will be needed to decide the outcome of the trilogy’s final chapter, he is firm that Johnson will walk away with his hand raised in triumph.
“The longer the fight takes, the more dangerous and efficient Demetrious Johnson becomes. He knows how to adjust, and his conditioning is always on point. That’s why I’m picking DJ,” Banario stated.
For Jeremy Pacatiw, he is at one with his contemporaries on the belief that Johnson will prevail over Moraes at ONE Fight Night 10.
But with Johnson making a stunning revelation a few weeks ago that this could be the swan song of his legendary career, Pacatiw roots for the 36-year-old from Parkland, Washington to author the perfect ending to his illustrious run.
“I really feel that we will all see another extraordinary performance from DJ, especially if it’s true that this will be his last fight. I know he’s going to be extra motivated for this one,” Pacatiw mentioned.
Per BestFightsOdds.com, Johnson is currently running as the -156 favorite to come out on top of Moraes (+122 underdog) on Saturday.