DESPITE coming in as the favorite in his title defense here in Manila next week, ONE Championship world flyweight champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes of Brazil is not leaving anything to chance and coming prepared. More so that he set to face a talented and dangerous Filipino challenger.

Featured in the co-main event for “ONE: Legends of the World” on Nov. 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Mr. Moraes (16-2) is to stake his title against hometown bet Danny “The King” Kingad.

Recognizing that he is up against one of the upcoming fighters in the division in Kingad (5-0), and backed by a partisan crowd come fight night, Mr. Moraes said he has to be ready to take on the challenge.

“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,” said the Brazilian champion, who reclaimed the ONE flyweight gold by beating erstwhile champion Kairat Akhmetov in Macau last August.

“He is a young martial artist, undefeated, and a Wushu champion with good takedowns and good hands. 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 added.

While he is cautious of what Baguio native Kingad can do, Mr. Moraes nonetheless believes that he can rise up to the challenge and maintain his hold of the ONE flyweight title.

“It will be my first time in Manila. 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,” Mr. Moraes said.

ONE: Legends of the World will be headlined by the crossover fight between lightweight champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines and featherweight champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Australia where the former will stake his belt. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo