One Championship is staging its return to U.S. airwaves in April with a tentpole card.
The organization announced via press release on Friday that it would be holding an event on April 7 that will be shown in prime time on American television. The card, which will take place on a Wednesday night for U.S.-based audiences, will contain a title fight and several major names. The currently unnamed show draws a headliner of Adriano Moraes (18-3) vs. Demetrious Johnson (30-3-1) for the One flyweight title. The two were originally slated to meet in February, but the promotion pushed it back for undisclosed reasons.
Moraes recaptured his title in 2019 against Geje Eustaquio by decision, winning it back from a man that took it from him in 2018. Moraes became a three-time champ at the One flyweight division by beating Eustaquio, and his first defense will come against a pound-for-pound ranked opponent. “Mikinho” has finished his opponents in six of his last nine victories, tapping out Danny Kingad, Tilek Batyrov and Eugene Toquero along the way. Moraes has never been finished as a pro, and it will have been over two years since his last bout when he meets Johnson.
Since his trade from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Johnson has encountered little difficulty advancing through the ranks. A tricky first round against Yuya Wakamatsu led to a submission in the following frame in his promotional debut. Going on to win the tournament to earn a title shot against Moraes, “Mighty Mouse” beat Tatsumitsu Wada and Kingad to put a stamp on his 2019 season. Like his foe, Johnson did not compete in all of 2020.
Additionally, the organization will be slotting Eddie Alvarez (30-7, 1 NC) in the co-main event of this card, pitting him against former title challenger Iuri Lapicus (14-1). Unlike Johnson, the former UFC champ Alvarez hit a major speed bump in his first trip to the One ring, when Timofey Nastyukhin knocked him out in the first round. “The Underground King” returned against ex-champ Eduard Folayang and submitted him in the opening round. Lapicus, on the other hand, most recently suffered his first career loss at the hands of Christian Lee in a title fight, as Lee flattened him three seconds slower (2:19) than Alvarez finished Folayang (2:16).
Finally, the promotion placed a major muay Thai matchup on the card in its flyweight category, pitting champ Rodtang Jitmuangnon against Jacob Smith out of the U.K. in a non-title affair. One will add more bouts at a later date, and it will be running a live media conference call on Jan. 27 to speak to the fighters and potentially fill out the card.