Team Lakay is very familiar with ONE Atomweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who will headline “ONE on TNT I” this Thursday morning, April 8.
Moreover, the fabled team from Baguio City knows it will be a close contest. Ultimately, though, they believe Johnson has every notable advantage in this World Title bout.
Danny “The King” Kingad — the only person in the organization to ever face both Johnson and Moraes — doesn’t want to discount Johnson’s chances.
“It’s really hard to gauge this match, but if I’m to choose, I’m picking DJ via decision,” Kingad said, calling Johnson “the greatest of all time.”
His head coach, Mark Sangiao, didn’t disagree with his assessment of the American. After all, he was ringside when the two athletes clashed in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix.
“We’ve had one fight with DJ and got to experience that with Danny [Kingad]. He’s an incredible martial artist and one of the best in the world, also a very technical fighter. DJ is amazing in every category,” Sangiao said.
“He’s a complete fighter, which is what makes him great. This fight is going to be a technical spectacle.”
The team didn’t want to slight Moraes’ chances though, since they don’t expect the World Champ to roll over and hand the strap to Johnson.
Sangiao has prepared for Moraes four times already, from his trilogy with former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio to his previous clash with Kingad.
The soft-spoken mentor talked about how Moraes has improved in each bout, and he expects the same from the Brazilian in this clash.
“We’ve had several fights against Moraes since the start of ONE Championship, so we know what he brings to the table,” Sangiao said.
“We’ve seen how he has developed into a tremendous fighter — all of the mistakes he made, as well as all of the improvements. He’s a great athlete and champion, very technical and calculated.”
At the end of the day, they just don’t see Johnson losing this match for a variety of reasons.
“The difference between the two will boil down to quickness, and I’ve seen how quick Demetrious Johnson is, both physically and mentally,” Kingad said.
“I think that’s what truly makes him great. He’s always a step ahead of everyone, he thinks quickly on his feet, and he already knows what you’re about to do even if you’re only thinking about it.”
For Sangiao, it’s Johnson’s versatility.
“Demetrious can score takedowns anywhere in the Circle. If he can’t get one against the fence, he’ll take it to the center. He reads his opponents and then controls them on the ground. Moraes is a great grappler, but so is Demetrious. That’s what makes this fight compelling,” Sangiao said.
“Who’s going to initiate a ground battle first? This may come down to the striking. If so, who’s the better striker? We’ll find out. I just don’t see how Moraes can get past Demetrious’ advantages. I don’t know if he can stop him from doing what he wants.”
Catch “ONE on TNT I” on ONE Sports or ONE Sports+ live at 8:30 a.m. Philippine Standard Time (PHT) on Thursday, April 8.
Both ONE Sports and ONE Sports+ will have an encore showing at 8:30 p.m. PHT on Friday, April 9. Also, there will be an encore showing on TV5 at 11 p.m. PHT on Saturday, April 10.
It will also simultaneously air live on the ONE Super App.
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