Over two years have elapsed since Zorobabel Moreira challenged for the inaugural ONE FC lightweight title, a period in which many fans were left wondering whether the Brazilian would ever set foot inside the cage again.
Moreira earned a title shot on the back of three hugely impressive ONE FC wins in the promotion’s early days, but came up short against Kotetsu Boku when he fought for the belt in a result that ranked as one of the biggest upsets of 2012.
He hasn’t been seen inside the cage since that night, but at ONE FC: Battle of Lions on Friday, the fighter commonly referred to as ‘Zoro’ returns to the Singapore Indoor Stadium to take on top Japanese lightweight Koji Ando.
Two years is a very long time for any athlete to be away from competition and particularly for a fighter competing in a sport where sharpness and conditioning can be the difference between success and failure, but Moreira is confident he can recapture the form that once made him the top contender at 155 pounds.
“I have had a full training camp at Evolve MMA for this fight and I also fought in Muay Thai in Thailand two months ago. I went to Ubon Ratchatani, which is the home of my trainer Kru Yo, and won in the third round, so my body is ready, I feel good.”
Moreira is a former BJJ world champion, but he established a reputation for his striking during a period that saw him face Andy Wang, Felipe Enomoto, and Roger Huerta, as well as Boku inside the ONE FC cage.
Standing at around six-feet-two-inches, he is one of the tallest fighters in the division, but says he is still confident he can make the weight despite not having had to so since late 2012.
“I did not have to cut weight for my last Muay Thai fight, but I fought for three rounds, no problem. I have the best team in the world at Evolve MMA and they help me with my diet and nutrition as well as my training, so I am sure I will not have a big problem with my weight.”
Moreira is not getting a tune up fight though, he’s been thrown right back in the deep end against one of the best fighters in the entire division. Ando is riding a four fight win streak in which he defeated Jadamba Narantungalag to become Legend FC 155-pound champion and is coming off a quickfire submission win over Rafael Nunes on his ONE FC debut.
ONE FC’s lightweight roster has improved exponentially since Moreira last fought and there’s no doubt that Ando is one of the top fighters in the division, but the Brazilian is confident he can get back to winning ways…