Demetrious Johnson’s chance for ONE Championship gold has once again been pushed back — but it appears that when he finally does challenge flyweight champ Adriano Moraes, a wider audience will be watching.
ONE Championship officials announced Friday on social media (and during the ONE: Unbreakable broadcast) that April 7 would see the promotion go live on U.S. cable network TNT. The broadcast is expected to take place during “prime time” stateside. Three sizeable fights were announced for the event, none bigger than Adriano Moraes vs. Demetrious Johnson for the promotion’s flyweight crown. But the addition of Eddie Alvarez vs. Iuri Lapicus should get MMA fans salivating, and flyweight Muay Thai champ Rodtang vs. Jacob Smith was a solid addition as well.
👑 Adriano Moraes 🆚 Demetrious Johnson
💥 Eddie Alvarez 🆚 Iuri Lapicus
🥊 Rodtang vs. Jacob Smith
We're bringing the HEAT on 7 April with THREE blockbuster fights — live on TNT! 🔥 @adrianomkmoraes @MightyMouse @Ealvarezfight #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/U49JGHvkvR
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) January 22, 2021
Johnson (30-3-1), a.k.a. “Mighty Mouse,” is considered by many to be one of the greatest fighters of all time. As the UFC flyweight champion, he set the record for most successful consecutive title defenses (11). In 2019, having moved to ONE Championship in a “trade” for Ben Askren, he won the promotion’s flyweight tournament, getting the better of Danny Kingad in the finals. That lined him up for a shot against Adriano Moraes, which the coronavirus pandemic his consistently pushed back. Moraes (18-3) is 5-1 in his past six bouts, and recently reclaimed the title he lost to Geje Eustaquio in a rematch.
Former UFC lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (30-7, 1NC) did not fare as well upon his arrival in ONE, being brutally knocked out by Timofey Nastyukhin. However, Alvarez bounced back against Eduard Folayang, earning a submission win over the former ONE champ. Both fights were part of ONE’s lightweight grand prix, which Alvarez was later forced to withdraw from.
Iuri Lapicus (14-1), who will meet “The Underground King” in April, is coming off his first loss as a professional. That came against Christian Lee in a challenge for ONE’s lightweight belt last October.
Additional bouts are expected to be announced for ONE’s April 7 event in the coming weeks.