Demetrious Johnson is once again a world flyweight champion, this time in ONE Championship after ONE on Prime Video 1 in Singapore Friday night.
Johnson (31-4-1), 36, overcame some tough grappling and ground control from Moraes (24-4-0), 34, in the first two rounds, using footwork and some nifty elbows from the bottom on the ground to catch Moraes in the fourth with a short right hand and a perfectly timed flying knee.
But the first two rounds looked vaguely like the first fight, with Moraes mixing up kicks and strikes, including a kick that grazed Johnson, but wobbled him. But unlike the first fight, Moraes was unable to wear down Johnson or land damage but had to contend with an active guard from ‘Mighty Mouse,’ including several elbows that opened a big cut under the left eye of Moraes.
The footwork and elusiveness of Johnson on the feet started to take over the championship rounds. With Moraes fading and on the defensiv, hoping to catch Johnson coming in like the first fight, Johnson instead continued to land shots and pile up the points until the right hand which knocked Moraes into the cage, followed by the flying knee right up against it.
The win earned Johnson a $50,000 USD performance of the night bonus. It also almost certainly sets up a rubber match in the future.
Christian Lee reclaimed the lightweight championship at ONE 160 the day before, avenging a previous loss to Rae Yoon Ok back at ONE Championship: Revolution last September.
In other bouts:
DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON DEF. ADRIANO MORAES VIA KO (FLYING KNEE) T4 3:50
NONG-O GAIYANGHADAO DEF. LIAM HARRISON VIA TKO R1 2:10
PANPAYAK JITMUANGNON DEF SAVVAS MICHAEL VIA KO R2 0:10
MARCUS ALMEDIA DEF. KIRILL GRISHENKO VIA SUBMISSION (HEEL HOOK) R1 1:04
AMIR ALIAKBARI DEF. MAURO CERILLI VIA TKO R2 4:02
SUPERLEK KIATMOO9 DEF. WALTER GONCALVES VIA KO R1 1:35
DIANDRA MARTIN DEF. AMBER KITCHEN VIA UD
ITSUKI HIRATA DEF. LIN HEQIN VIA UD
ZEBAZTIAN KADESTAM DEF. IURI LAPICUS VIA KO R1 0:57