Adriano Moraes shocked the world on Wednesday night with a brutal second round knockout against Demetrious Johnson in the very first ONE on TNT event.
Although he entered the fight as the reigning ONE flyweight champion, Moraes was a decided underdog for Johnson, who was one of the promotion’s biggest additions after a historic trade brought him in. in exchange for Ben Askren going to the UFC. None of this seemed to bother Moraes, who showed confidence throughout the fight until he finally connected with an uppercut and huge knee that demolished Johnson with the fight ending at just 2: 24 in the second round.
It was the first time in Johnson’s legendary career that he had ended in strikes.
“It’s a dream come true,” Moraes said after the victory. “I work really hard every day. I don’t have the words to describe this moment. We did it. I grew up watching DJs fight. It’s a legend. I knew his game exactly. My team and I made the perfect strategy to fight him. I got to him with a good uppercut. I’m so excited.”
“It’s no surprise to me. I work with the best guys in the world. Today worked.
With a far reaching advantage, Moraes was looking to keep Johnson at bay early on, but the former UFC champion made his way indoors where he sought to engage with the Brazilian in the clinch. A stampede drove the fighters to the ground and Moraes was able to use his size to reverse positions and pass the last minute of the first round above the striker-studded Johnson.
As the second round began, Johnson was more aggressive in his approach as he continued to seek to reduce the range advantage for Moraes, who was constantly hitting him from the outside.
Johnson’s attempt to get inside eventually backfired after he had a trade with Moraes and the reigning ONE flyweight champion unleashed a perfectly timed uppercut that sent ‘Mighty Mouse’ across the canvas.
That’s when Moraes hit Johnson with a massive knee strike while still on the ground – a completely legal move in ONE Championship rules – and after a few more punches, the referee rushed to stop the contest.
Afterward, Johnson paid homage to Moraes for a job well done while still needing more time to watch the tape again to figure out exactly what was wrong.
“I have to go home and watch the fight to see where I made my mistakes,” Johnson said. “It’s very long, big, I was trying to get to it but it’s part of the game. You’re in the game for so long that it’s bound to happen someday.
Johnson drops to 30-4-1 in his career with the loss as Moraes solidifies as the top flyweight in ONE Championship in his third reign with the title while arguably securing the biggest victory of his career.