Adriano Moraes shocked the mixed martial arts world in 2021 with his knockout of Demetrious Johnson. Now, the Brazilian will be back under the spotlight at ONE X on Saturday, Mar. 26, to defend his ONE flyweight championship against Yuya Wakamatsu. However, martial arts is not the Brazilian’s only love.
The dominant ONE Championship flyweight is a talented skateboarder as well, and it’s been a passion of his since childhood.
“I started skateboarding when I was very young,” said Moraes. “I was 12 years old. There was a very large crowd that skated in my area in Brasília, and I started to skate too. At that time, we skated, did capoeira, fought in the street. And we did everything with skateboarding, went to skateboarding school, went to skateboarding training – skateboarding was part of my adolescence. In my teens, I participated in many skateboarding competitions. It was something regional, but I liked to participate. I won some competitions, I always won a medal. It was one of the best times of my life.”
Moraes touted his abilities with 360-degree spins and riding rails, but he admits that he was never at a level where he could have turned his passion into a career. The American Top Team representative instead devoted his life to mixed martial arts, but he believes that there are transferable skills between the two sports.
“Skateboarding helps you to have a lot of balance, it helps you to move with both arms and both legs, because it has the maneuvers on the base and on the switch, which is the base changed,” said Moraes. “So that forces you to have the ability to walk on both bases.
“Skateboarding has always been present in my life. To this day, I skate. Skateboarding helps me a lot, it relaxes me, it’s one of the things I like to do on Sundays. It helps me with my skills, it helps me to be calmer, to be more patient, to have more control. And best of all, balance. An MMA athlete today who doesn’t have a balance, he can’t go very far. And, skateboarding helps me with all that, because it’s a complete sport.”
Learning to become ambidextrous from skateboarding has been pivotal to Moraes’ success in MMA. He is dangerous from both Southpaw and orthodox positions, but he can attack with any limb in any position.
Unfortunately, training often restricts the amount of time that the reigning flyweight king can spend on his boards. That said, his childhood hobby still helps him to relax as he prepares for his outings in the ONE Circle.
“My MMA career takes a lot of time, but always on Sundays I like to go to the skate park, or when I’m going to the gym I go for a skate ride,” said the Brazilian. “Sometimes in front of the house, when I have some time. It’s a different adrenaline rush. For example, the adrenaline of MMA is unique. You walking into the cage and fighting someone who is prepared to rip your head off is a kind of adrenaline rush. And skating is a better adrenaline, because it’s a lighter adrenaline. It’s just you and skateboarding, it’s your moment, with the wind in your face.
“It’s a much quieter adrenaline rush. It’s an adrenaline rush made up of adventure. You’re surfing on concrete streets – being able to do tricks – you and skateboarding become one person, a single subject. It’s pretty cool.”
As Moraes moves closer to his next title defense at ONE X, he can take pride in appearing at one of martial arts’ most spectacular events to date. The Brazilian standout has proudly played a part in, and bore witness to, MMA’s rise in global popularity – and he has watched skateboarding explode onto the global sporting scene, too.
“I am very happy and fulfilled with my career in MMA,” said Moraes. “But I am also very happy, and, in a way, fulfilled to see skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport, and that society sees skateboarding today with different eyes.”
With ONE X just days away, Moraes has a chance to shine with more eyes than ever looking upon him as he faces Wakamatsu. And after the final bell rings, he’ll revel in his role in the spectacle while taking to the concrete once again.
ONE X airs live in its entirety on the ONE Championship website on Saturday, Mar. 26, beginning with ONE X: Part I at 1 a.m. ET, followed by ONE X: Part II begins at 5 a.m. ET. The action then moves to ONE Championship’s pay-per-view at 8 a.m. ET for the ONE X: Grand Finale.
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