Geje Eustaquio may have gotten the shorter end of the straw when he first squared off against Kairat Akhmetov last September, but he vows to get the better of his Kazakh rival in their second faceoff come Friday, January 26, in the main event of “ONE: Global Superheroes”.
Also known as “Gravity,” Eustaquio is confident he has a better chance of putting one up over the former flyweight champion in their rematch not just because of having a longer preparation for the fight but because of the length of the bout.
Instead of three rounds, the two fighters will clash for five outings for the interim ONE featherweight belt and Eustaquio’s gut feel tells him the tides will turn come fight night.
“I am expecting another difficult bout. Kairat Akhmetov is tough and has a huge heart inside the cage. But I really prepared for this rematch and I’m aiming for victory,” the Baguio City native said during the event’s final presser held at the City of Dreams recently. “Winning over Kairat would land me a rematch against Adriano Moraes. I believe I have what it takes to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion in the future.”
“We worked on everything — wrestling, grappling, defense — and my stamina is better. I’m ready,” added Eustaquio.
For his part, Akhmetov, who snatched a split decision win over Eustaquio last September, knows he is a marked man and that pulling off another win versus his Filipino foe won’t be a stroll in the park.
“I am looking forward to reaching my dream to battle Adriano Moraes for the third time. But of course, to do that I have to beat Geje Eustaquio first to fulfill that dream,” said Akhmetov who currently totes a 24-1 professional MMA record.
Meanwhile, other Pinoy fighters are also expected to put on explosive performances in ONE Championships first event in the country for the year. Team Lakay stalwart and former strawweight contender Joshua Pacio will face Ming Qian Lan, while Eric Kelly is set to test his mettle in his comeback bout against Brazilian Rafael Nunes.