Adriano Moraes’ two defeats have both come by way of split decision. It would be enough to make most men bitter but the Brazilian has no anger towards the four judges who deprived him of his undefeated record.
For Moraes life is too good to dwell on what could have been. He has the interim ONE Championship flyweight belt, a 15-2 record and a dream job coaching BJJ in Florida.
“I live in paradise. Nice weather, nice people. American Top Team gave me a big opportunity here. I teach kids the BJJ. I am thankful for God for giving me this and I just want to go fight and keep going with this life.”
He’s rematching Kairat Akhmetov at ONE: ‘Kings & Conquerors’ in Macau on Saturday night. The first fight ended in a split decision and Moraes feels he has an astute idea of his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
“His strength is his wrestling and his hands, that’s it. When he stays with his back on the floor, he’s like a kid.”
Moraes also acknowledges that he lost the first fight after spending far too much time on the floor.
“It was very close. I think the judges gave him the fight because he got more takedowns.”
THIS IS MY WORK, THIS IS MY LIFESTYLE AND THIS IS MY JOB. MIXED MARTIAL ARTS IS EVERYTHING FOR ME.
ONE Championship might be Asia’s biggest MMA promotion but it has not made much effort with the US market. However the promotion’s flyweight roster is very competitive and Moraes says this upcoming title match has captured the imagination of fight fans in the West.
“It’s a big fight. I am very excited and everybody around the world want to see this fight. At American Top Team everybody is talking about that fight.”
Moraes is an orphan and had a difficult upbringing. He feels it is his destiny to be a great champion and to use his success to inspire and influence others.
“This is my goal in life. To write a beautiful history with mixed martial arts and make things possible and show other people what you can do when you believe in yourself. I was born for this.”
Moraes is conscious of how far he has come. The laid back tourist town of Coconut Creek is a long way from the favelas of Brasilia where he first discovered BJJ after losing a street fight.
The lifestyle he has now wouldn’t be possible had it not been for MMA. Moraes is very aware of the debt he owes to the sport and he approaches every single training session with a mixture of gratitude and enthusiasm.
“This is my work, this is my lifestyle, this is my job and mixed martial arts is everything for me. I love what I do.”
He also loved being the undisputed ONE Championship flyweight champion. It’s a moniker he is determined to earn again and this weekend Moraes will be looking to avenge his split decision loss and become the first fighter to ever defeat Akhmetov.