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Brazilian Adriano Moraes (right) aims a high kick at Yasuhiro Urushitani of Japan during their bout at ONE FC
Brazilian Adriano Moraes (right) aims a high kick at Yasuhiro Urushitani of Japan during their bout at ONE FC: War of Nations in Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Negara on March 14. ONEFC.COM

Moraes promises a stand-up war

Adriano Moraes is one of the most exciting mixed martial arts prospects in the world and is looking to establish himself alongside the likes of Bibiano Fernandes, Ben Askren and Shinya Aoki as one of ONE FC’s top pound-for-pound fighters.

The Brazilian can take a big step in the right direction by becoming the organisation’s inaugural flyweight champion when the faces Geje Eustaquio of the Philippines in the main event of ONE FC: Rise of the Kingdom in Phnom Penh next month.

For Cambodia to play host to Asia’s biggest promotion is a major milestone for the country’s burgeoning MMA scene, but it will also be the most important night of Moraes’s career and he is determined to take the belt back to Brazil.

“I dream about becoming the champion all night,” he said. “It’s such a great honour for me being invited by ONE FC to fight for the inaugural flyweight title and I am doing everything possible to bring this title to my hometown.”

Standing opposite him will be Eustaquio, who beat three separate opponents inside the ONE FC cage to secure his title shot. Moraes is not taking the Filipino flyweight lightly.

“Eustaquio is such a great fighter, a very tough and smart athlete. It’s going to be a war, because the Filipino is a warrior and I am preparing my body and my soul for the biggest challenge of my life.”

In terms of experience, Moraes has a clear advantage with his 11-1 record slightly superior to Eustaquio’s tally, which currently stands at 6-2. Many feel the Brazilian should be undefeated, but he suffered a controversial split decision defeat on his ONE FC debut last year.

Despite this disappointing start to his ONE FC career Moraes, who is coming off back-to-back wins over experienced Japanese opponents, is loving life with the fastest growing MMA organisation in the world.

“Since the day I signed the contract with ONE FC, my life has been great. They gave me an opportunity to show the world my skills and this is such a big thing for me. Nowadays everyone is watching Asian MMA and it is an honour to be a part of it.”

After bouts in Malaysia and Indonesia, this will be the third country in which Moraes has fought in for ONE FC and he is excited about getting to visit Cambodia for the first time.

“I feel very happy because Cambodia is a place that I’ve wanted to visit. I love Asia, it has a very good vibe and I’m sure Phnom Penh will be no different.”

While Moraes will be seeing Phnom Penh with fresh eyes, local fight fans will also be getting their first glimpse at a live ONE FC event and the Brazilian assures them that his headlining bout will not disappoint.

“Me and Geje Eustaquio are both martial artists who are natural strikers, so I think this fight is going to be a stand up war that the audience and the fans will love.”

Tickets are on sale now for Rise of the Kingdom, which will be held at Koh Pich Theatre on September 12. Action will also be broadcast live on StarSports and local channel MyTV.

On August 29, ONE FC will host its inaugural event in Dubai, titled Reign of Champions, with a blockbuster card that includes three titles fights in the lightweight, welterweight and featherweight divisions.

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