Many people were surprised when ONE flyweight champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes knocked out Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson last year. But not Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao.
In fact, he believes the outcome will be the same when Moraes and Johnson run it back in the main event of ONE Fight Night 1 on August 27 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Their first match was one of the biggest shockers of 2021, especially since it happened live in U.S. primetime – where people weren’t used to seeing Johnson lose, let alone get finished.
But for Sangiao, Moraes’ physique and impressive skill set were enough to handle the American.
“I wasn’t surprised at all. He’s big for this weight class. You look at his upper body, his height, that’s an advantage already in itself. I think it speaks a lot about his discipline with his body,” Sangiao said.
“Then you put that physicality with his skills, [and] I wasn’t really surprised. We all know DJ is one of the GOATs, but Moraes is really the champion.”
Sangiao knows all about Moraes, having prepared his athletes to face him four times already.
During those attempts, he saw how the Brazilian progressed from being just a good grappler to one of the most well-rounded fighters in the world today.
That well-roundedness paid off for Moraes when he timed an uppercut before finishing Johnson with a knee, handing the American the first stoppage loss of his career.
“He really prepared well when it came to striking. We all know Adriano relied too much on his grappling and wrestling, but in that match he held his own in the striking department,” he said.
“There was also a point where he took down Johnson, and that’s just a testament to how he prepared for that match. He truly became well rounded.”
When asked to predict the rematch, Sangiao didn’t think twice about his response.
“I’m still siding with the champion, with Moraes, and I believe it will end again via stoppage,” he said. “Either [by] submission or via knockout.”