Adriano Moraes shocked the world Wednesday night with a brutal second-round knockout against Demetrious Johnson in the first-ever ONE on TNT event.
Despite coming into the fray as the reigning ONE flyweight champion, Moraes was an outspoken underdog to Johnson, who was one of the promotion’s biggest additions after a historic transaction transferred him in exchange for Ben Askren going to the UFC. None of that seemed to bother Moraes, who showed confidence throughout the fight until he eventually made contact with an uppercut and a massive knee that destroyed Johnson and the fight ended at just 2:24 in the second round.
It was the first time in Johnson’s storied career that he had ever been defeated by strikes.
“This is a dream come true,” said Moraes after the win. “I work really hard every day. I don’t have the words to describe this moment. We did it. I grew up watching DJ fights. He’s a legend. I knew his game exactly. Me and my team have come up with the perfect strategy to fight him. I came to him with a good uppercut. I am so delighted. “
“It is no surprise to me. I work with the best guys in the world. We succeeded today. ”
With a significant reach advantage, Moraes wanted to keep Johnson at bay early on, but the former UFC champion worked his way in, where he wanted to face the Brazilian in the clinch. A scramble caused the fighters to go to the ground, and Moraes was able to use his size to reverse his position and spend the last minute of the opening round on top of Johnson, getting away with strikes.
When round two started, Johnson was more aggressive in his approach as he continued to search to stop the reach advantage for Moraes, who was constantly clawing at him from the outside.
Johnson’s attempt to enter eventually backfired after he got into an argument with Moraes and the reigning ONE flyweight champion unloaded a perfectly timed uppercut that sent “Mighty Mouse” to the canvas.
That’s when Moraes shot Johnson with a massive knee strike while still on the ground – a move that’s completely legal in the ONE Championship ruleset – and after a few more punches, the referee rushed to call the match. stop.
Afterwards, Johnson paid Moraes credit for a job well done, while still needing more time to re-watch the tape to understand exactly what went wrong.
“I have to go back home and watch the fight to see where I made the mistakes,” Johnson said. “He’s very tall, big, I tried to get him, but it’s part of the game. You’ve been in the game for so long, it will surely happen one of these days. “
Johnson drops to 30-4-1 in his career with the loss, while Moraes solidifies himself as the best flyweight in ONE Championship in his third reign with the title, undoubtedly taking the biggest win of his career.