If you didn’t know the name Zorobabel Moreira prior to last weekend’s One FC event, you probably remember him now after his vicious soccer kick knockout win over Roger Huerta.
Moreira took the fight on short notice and jumped up to welterweight to accept the fight with Huerta. The Brazilian dismantled the former UFC fighter and finished the bout in the 2nd round with a soccer kick that rang back to the days of Pride Fighting Championships.
The finish didn’t come without some controversy due to the rules upheld by One FC that allow for kicks on a downed opponent only when the referee gives the fighter the okay to do so. There has been some controversy about the finish since it happened so Moreira sat down with MMAWeekly.com and explained the fight, the win and the finish as well as what’s next:
Damon Martin: Congratulations on a great win first of all…let me start by asking if the fight went down how you and your coaches had prepared for it to happen?
Zorbabel Moreira: The game plan was to use my Muay Thai by keeping my distance and use a lot of footwork. But after the 1st round, my coach Chatri Sityodtong changed the plan and told me to apply forward pressure and attack to force Roger to move backwards. We got the KO from there and I am lucky to have someone like Chatri in my corner, he help me a lot tonight.
DM: We know that you are a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter by heart but lately you’ve been showing off some really solid stand-up. How confident were you in your hands going into that fight?
ZM: I believe in my Muay Thai. I train under the best world champions every day at Evolve MMA like Lamanamoon (Sor Sumalee) and Namsaknoi (Yudthagarngamtorn). I believe in my coaches and I feel like if I am trained by the best fighters I can fight with the best fighters no problem.
DM: Both you and Roger took this fight at welterweight but are both truly lightweights so how was the extra weight for you in the fight? Did it affect you at all?
ZM: No, I can fight both weights, it was nice not having to cut the weight but I feel I am a lightweight and in future I prefer to fight at lightweight. If One FC want me to fight at welterweight then I can do that but I feel like 155 is better for me because I can make that weight no problem and I feel good at a 155.
DM: In the 2nd round you started to find a home for you kicks, and you blasted Roger with a straight right I believe that pretty much changed the fight. Can you walk us through that sequence and did you feel that you had broken him at that point in the fight?
ZM: Yes my coaches told me that he was breaking. He’s tough and everyone thought that he was going to knock me out. I just listened to my coaches Chatri Sityodtong and Heath Sims, I trust them and they told me what I have to do and it worked. Chatri changed the plan after the first round and told me what to do and because of that I was able to win the fight in round two.
DM: As far as the stoppage goes, obviously the soccer kick is allowed but you didn’t look like you really wanted to throw it. What was running through your mind at that moment and seeing the result would you say that you’re a fan of the soccer kick in MMA?
ZM: Before I threw it, I looked at referee and he gave me signal and I threw it. Against Andy Wang I did not throw it as I was adapting to the rules but now I love the Pride rules, this is Asian MMA. Roger is a very tough fighter so I had to do everything to win this fight and when I had a chance to knock him out I had to take it.
DM: It appeared like the referee said something or motioned something when Huerta went down. What happened there?
ZM: For ONE FC rules, the fighter must wait for the open attack signal that allows soccer kicks. The referee gave the signal and I took the kick. Roger is very dangerous opponent and if you fight against very good fighter like this and you have opportunity to finish the fight you must take it, otherwise maybe you lose. He has fought UFC and is strong and tough, if you have a chance to finish a fight against an opponent like this you must take or who knows what may happen after? Maybe if you wait you lose.
DM: On a very positive note, this is another huge win for you and over a very big star from America in Roger Huerta. How would you rank this achievement in your career?
ZM: It is just one more win. I train hard every day and I learn from the best trainers in the world and I have the best training partners in the world at Evolve MMA. This is what I love, this is my dream and I am so happy because I get to train with the best and I fight I feel like now I can fight with the best. Roger Huerta is a very tough fighter, very strong but I train with world champions every day at Evolve MMA and I am prepared for everything. I do not think any opponent can be harder for me than what I have to go through with the training when I wrestle with Heath Sims and do Muay Thai with Lamnamoon Sor Sumalee and BJJ with Gordinho and boxing with Yodsaenklai. Nothing can be harder than that. I am ready for anyone, I do not care. I will fight anyone.
DM: What can we expect to see next from Zorobabel Moreira in One FC? Back at lightweight? What fights interest you?
ZM: Yes I want to fight at lightweight. I will fight against anyone in the world, I am ready to fight anyone but it is up to One FC. When they want me to fight I will fight.