The Philippines has crowned its first undisputed world champion in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) last Friday, June 23 in the glamorous entertainment capital of Asia
In a five-round championship clash that would certainly be a strong candidate for “Fight of the Year” honors in 2018, Filipino MMA star Geje Eustaquio reached the apex of ONE Championship’s flyweight division by defeating Adriano Moraes in the main event of ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER at the Studio City Event Center in Macau, China.
The 29-year-old Baguio City native showcased his brilliance in the biggest bout of his 14-year professional career, displaying skills that he has been sharpening inside the Team Lakay gym since 2014 when he yielded to Moraes by second-round submission.
Superior stand-up and superb ground game were very evident all through out the contest, which was a complete opposite when they first met for the Inaugural ONE Championship flyweight title in September 2014.
“Our game plan is to stand up with him, and then take him down and do some ground-and-pound. I know he was not expecting me to do,” Eustaquio revealed. “I felt that he was confused, and his confidence level dropped when he noticed that I was also initiating takedowns.”
Moraes had his moments against Eustaquio, mounting his dreaded submission offense all throughout the grueling encounter, including a deep guillotine choke in the opening minutes of the title tilt.
Although Mores’ approach was focused to pressure and suffocate his Filipino opponent through his bread-and-butter, Eustaquio came prepared and even outwrestled Moraes as the match progressed.
There was also an instance in the bout that one of the trainers in Moraes’ corner claimed that Eustaquio tapped while Moraes had the guillotine locked in, but the Filipino ring warrior disputed the claim and clarified that his fist was closed at that time as he was throwing punches.
“After the fight, he was telling me that I tapped, but I said it was a punch. We have the best referee looking at the situation, and we have the video that we can check all day,” Eustaquio said. “I won’t tap and will have the pride to be choked out if that happens, but I was in good position at that time.”
Eustaquio also bared that he is open on fighting Moraes for the third time and acknowledged that a rubber match between the two of them is always a possibility.
Eustaquio likewise disclosed that he is willing to take the risk and choose the best opportunity in his next outing, either fighting Moraes for the third time or welcoming a new challenger for his gold-plated strap.
“If that’s what the fans want to see, then me and Adriano can do it again. At the end of the day, I will always choose what’s best for me and for the fans,” Eustaquio stated
Now as a world champion, Eustaquio stated that nothing will change for him as a person and as a fighter.
According to Eustaquio, he will always be the team’s number one supporter, assuring that he will always apply the life lessons that coach Mark Sangiao has instilled to every member of the Team Lakay roster.
“I will still be their janitor and water boy inside the gym. Nothing will change,” Eustaquio ended.