Adriano Moraes of Brazil (left) clips Geje Eustaquio of the Philippines on his way to a unanimous decision.
Miguel de Guzman
Eustaquio yields crown to Brazilian
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — In six days, the Philippines lost not one, but two titles in ONE Championship.

Brazilian Adriano Moraes relied on his strong grappling game to beat Geje Eustaquio via unanimous decision in ONE: Hero’s Ascent last Friday, and reclaim the flyweight title he lost to the same Filipino fighter.

While the trilogy match was closely fought, the decisive stretch came in the fourth round when Moraes went for a takedown and came close to submitting the Team Lakay standout with a Suloev stretch or a hamstring submission using the kneebar from the back mount.

Although Eustaquio showed unreal flexibility to escape submission, the damage has been done as all three judges scored it in favor of Moraes, who improved to 18-3 (win-loss).

“I was very, very close to submission but he didn’t tap. Oh my God. I felt I’ve taken him out. I’m so happy to bring my belt back,” Moraes told the crowd at the MOA Arena.

It was the second defeat for the Philippines after Joshua Pacio conceded the strawweight belt to Japanese Yosuke Saruta in ONE: Eternal Glory in Jakarta, Indonesia last Jan. 19.

That leaves Brandon Vera (heavyweight), Edward Folayang (light) and Kevin Belingon (bantam) as the last three Filipino champions in ONE.

Others thought Eustaquio won the match since he survived all takedown attempts by Moraes and had the edge in the striking battle with his powerful counterpunches.

In the end though, it was Moraes’ ground and pound that prevailed.

The win set up Moraes for the much-awaited flyweight grand prix that would be participated in by former Ultimate Fighting Championship titlist Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, considered as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the planet today.

And it could have been Eustaquio, who called out Johnson before the fight, saying that the flyweight division belongs to Asians.

Honorio Banario likewise suffered a defeat, losing to undefeated American Lowen Tynanes via a first round stoppage that sent the latter to the semifinals of the ONE lightweight grand prix.

Flyweight Danny Kingad, who lost to Moraes in a title fight two years ago, saved the day for the Philippines as he came through with a unanimous decision win over Tatsumitsu Wada of Japan.

Earlier, Reiner de Ridder won via first round submission over Rong Fan. Kai Tang and Himanshu Kaushi defeated Jong Lee and Eka Aprilianto via knockouts, respectively.

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