MMA Lab’s John Crouch Talks John Moraga, Says Flyweight Contender is “Growing Leap and Bounds”
By Kelsey Mowatt
John Moraga may have had to overcome a few scary moments at UFC on FOX 13, but the flyweight stormed back to record a victory, and ensure he remains a top ranked, contender.
Moraga scored a third round, submission win over Willie Gates last month, but not until after he was floored by the UFC newcomer in the opening frame. Moraga was struck with a low blow early in the bout, which referee Jason Herzog said he did not see. As the flyweight turned to argue the non call, he was sent to the canvas by a follow up punch.
The 30 year-old, MMA Lab fighter fought through the ensuing attacks from Gates, however, and turned things around in rounds two. In round three, Moraga ended the fight with a rear-naked-choke at the 4:06 mark.
“I thought he looked great man,” MMA Lab’s head coach John Crouch said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing Moraga’s latest win. “I thought he looked like a much more mature fighter, like he’s growing in all aspects, and I thought he handled the fight easily.”
“Other than that little mishap in the first round, when there was a misunderstanding on the kick to the groin, and then the kid hit him in the back of the head, other than that, what, 40 seconds? I thought we won the entire fight” furthered Crouch.
Although Gates isn’t a top ranked flyweight yet, it was a memorable performance for Moraga nonetheless, especially when you consider the bout’s opening minutes.
“Yeah, Johnny’s a tough kid man,” said Crouch. “You’re not going to see…he would never quit. It doesn’t matter. He’ll go out on a shield, so, and that’s not unexpected, but it was pretty cool to watch.”
Moraga also showcased his grappling and wrestling skills during the bout, and in doing so, he recorded his third, submission win in the Octagon to date. Moraga faced Justin Scoggins in September, and he took out the rising flyweight with a second round, guillotine choke.
“I think people are exaggerating that he has bad wrestling; he really doesn’t” Crouch noted about Moraga, who earned All-American honors in wrestling while competing for Arizona State University. “He’s a good wrestler. He just loves to throw his hands hard and he overextends himself.”
“So, really it’s just a matter of keeping him settled in his stance, and being reactive defensively,” Crouch added. “He’s going to be fine…he’s been working really hard and everything’s growing, growing leaps and bounds. So he’s doing a great job.”
Moraga (16-3) has gone 5-2 in the UFC thus far, and is currently ranked #4 in the promotion’s 125 division.