Kairat Akhmetov makes quick return, faces Geje Eustaquio in Jakarta

Kairat Akhmetov makes quick return, faces Geje Eustaquio in Jakarta
PHOTO: Kairat Akhmetov makes quick return, faces Geje Eustaquio in Jakarta

ONE Championship is set to return to the Jakarta Convention Center on 16 September.

The promotion recently announced that ONE: TOTAL VICTORY will feature former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat Akhmetov (23-1) against the Philippines’ Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio (9-5) in the main event. It is the promotion’s second event in Jakarta this year.

Former flyweight division king Akhmetov was in action against interim champion Adriano Moraes in Macao just a few weeks ago. Akhmetov wound up on the wrong end of a unanimous decision verdict, after being dominated by Moraes in both the striking and grappling exchanges.

Akhmetov obviously feels a rematch is in order with Moraes, but in order to get another chance, he has to go through Eustaquio, who also previously challenged Moraes for the title a couple of years ago.

“I am excited to get back in the cage and compete. Defeat is part of this game, the important thing is to come back better,” said Akhmetov.

“The body is ready, the mind is strong, and the spirit is willing. [Geje] Eustaquio is one of the best competitors in the division, and a victory over him will mean a lot. I have one goal, and that is to get back my title. I will take care of anyone who stands in my way.”

Both Akhmetov and Moraes have one win apiece, and a rubber match makes complete sense if Akhmetov can get past Eustaquio. The Filipino flyweight and Team Lakay veteran however, would like nothing more than to take Akhmetov’s place, and challenge Moraes once more.

“This is a huge bout against a former world champion, it is very important to me,” said Eustaquio.

“Thank you ONE Championship for the opportunity. I will showcase my best skills in this bout and take home a win for the Philippines. [Kairat] Akhmetov is a world-class martial artist, and I can’t wait to test my skills against him. When the cage door closes, it’s time for battle. I will make sure to come well prepared.”

Eustaquio took on Moraes in 2014, challenging for the ONE Flyweight World Championship in Phnom Penh. The Filipino lost via second-round submission that evening, after taking it right to the champion on the stand-up. With a much-improved grappling game, Eustaquio could be better equipped this time around for a ground battle.

A lot is at stake in this possible title eliminator. Additional bouts at ONE: TOTAL VICTORY are set to be announced at a later date.