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MMA: Improving Geje Eustaquio not one to be underestimated, champ says

With his improved grappling skills, Geje Eustaquio has become a well-rounded fighter. ONE Championship

Defending ONE flyweight king Adriano Moraes is making sure he's prepared for the best version of Geje Eustaquio, who is seeking to unify their titles when they face off in Macau on June 23.

The 29-year-old Brazilian champion owns the regular crown, but Eustaquio won the interim title by upsetting former world-title contender Kairat Akhmetov in January.

“Geje Eustaquio has earned the highest level of my respect. If anything, there is no chance of me underestimating him. That would be unwise. We’ve all seen his improvement as a martial artist,” Moraes said.

It will be a rematch between the two warriors who first fought in 2004 for the the inaugural ONE flyweight championship. Moraes won that bout via tap-out.

But Eustaquio has improved since then and is now gearing up for a second attempt at Moraes.

“I am preparing for the best Geje Eustaquio possible, and that is the only way I can prepare to be at my best,” Moraes said.

“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.”

Moraes was cageside when Eustaquio toppled Akhmetov, noticing that the Team Lakay stalwart has become a more well-rounded fighter.

“I’ve seen many of his fights, including his last one in Manila against Kairat Akhmetov. He’s more of a striker, but he has picked up his game remarkably. He is a different fighter now. That makes him so dangerous,” Moraes said.

Moraes, however, is confident that he could still outclass Eustaquio.

“Every fight is different, and each fighter has his or her strengths and weaknesses. We’ve expanded our skills since the last time we fought each other. He will come in prepared, but one thing is for sure: I will have my hand raised,” Moraes said.

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