MANILA, Philippines – Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes regained the undisputed ONE flyweight world title just three short months ago, but his claim to the belt is already being challenged.
The 29-year-old Brazilian champion is slated to put his coveted gold-plated strap on the line against Filipino prospect Danny “The King” Kingad in the co-main event of ONE: Legends of the World, which takes place at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on 10 November.
Moraes is riding a wave of momentum after handing archrival Kairat Akhmetov his first loss in 23 matches, and unifying the ONE flyweight world championship last August. Yet he knows he cannot afford to overlook Kingad, as the Filipino is a legitimate threat to his second title reign.
“Danny Kingad is a great competitor and he has earned the highest level of my respect. If anything, there is no chance of me underestimating him. That would be unwise,” Moraes declared.
A true warrior from the mountains of the Philippines and one of the top prospects to come out of Baguio City with an immaculate record of 5-0, Kingad is a tremendous striker who possesses well-rounded grappling skills.
Due to his outstanding run in local promotions, ONE Championship noticed Kingad and gave him a spot on the undercard of ONE: Global Rivals in Manila in April 2016. Kingad came out on top of his maiden ONE Championship assignment by scoring a first-round technical knockout of Malaysia’s Muhamad Haidar.
The young Baguio City native had an impressive follow-up to his ONE Championship debut by submitting compatriot Eugene Toquero with a first-round armbar in December 2016.
In his most recent trip to the ONE Championship cage, Kingad turned in a complete performance, putting his wide range of techniques on full display in a unanimous decision conquest of Malaysia’s Muhammad Aiman this past April.
“He is a young martial artist, undefeated, and a Wushu champion with good takedowns and good hands,” Moraes said of Kingad. “He is talented, and he has had good matches with the organization.”
Moraes stressed that he will be preparing for the best version of his Filipino counterpart.
“I am preparing for the best Danny Kingad possible, and that is the only way I can prepare to be at my best. I believe this match is going to be a battle between two top-notch martial artists. It is going to be a battle from start to finish,” he predicted.
Moraes is eager to remain as the organization’s 61.2-kilogram titleholder and prove that he is the best flyweight on the planet at the expense of an undefeated standout like Kingad.
“It will be my first time in Manila. I am very excited to compete against Danny Kingad. Deep in my heart, I know that I am the best out there. I am here to prove it. I feel great to defend my belt in Manila, expecting to hear the words, ‘And still,’ once again,” he said.
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