This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 50, we saw a matchup in the bantamweight division. Former title challenger Marlon Moraes (23-10-1) was looking to right the ship as he took on surging young contender Song Yadong (19-6-1).
Entering UFC Vegas 50, Marlon Moraes had lost three fights in a row and four out of five. In all four of those losses, Moraes had been stopped by TKO. Many, including myself, also thought he lost the fight to Jose Aldo at UFC 245.
However, two of the judges gave the fight to Moraes. Had one judge voted another way, he would’ve entered UFC Vegas 50 on a five-fight losing streak. A steep fall from grace for a guy who was once considered arguably the best bantamweight in the world.
This fight against Song Yadong was an opportunity to reset against a younger contender. However, Yadong didn’t give him any chance to reset. From the opening bell, Yadong was all over Moraes and he was throwing heat.
Moraes landing some good shots here and there, but Yadong was just walking him down. Just two minutes into the first round, Yadong landed a brutal uppercut and combination that put Moraes out cold. UFC Vegas 50 marked the fourth straight TKO loss for Moraes.
Is his UFC run over?
After the fight was over, Mores was viewed taking his gloves off inside the octagon. He didn’t lay them down in the center which is the mark of someone walking away, but he sadly looked down as he held his UFC gloves in his hands.
As mentioned, Moraes was once considered the most dangerous bantamweight on the roster. After losing his UFC debut by split decision, Moraes went on an incredible four-fight winning streak which included a knockout win over current champion Aljamain Sterling.
In an 18-fight stretch between various promotions and the UFC, Moraes went 17-1. He looked like a destroyer who was bound to become the UFC’s bantamweight champion. He had that shot against Henry Cejudo and through one round he dominated.
However, when Cejudo started to fight back, Moraes started to break. Cejudo would go on to finish Moraes and really “Magic” Marlon hasn’t been the same since. So now, he’s 1-5 in his last six and he’s been finished five times. Is the 33-year-old’s UFC run over?
I tend to lean towards yes, but there is one more fight that could be made. That could be a fight with former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (12-5). Like Moraes, Garbrandt was once considered one of the best in the world. He actually won UFC gold.
However, he’s also just 1-5 in his last six fights. It’s weird how similar their paths look. Garbrandt dropped to 125 pounds and was knocked out in his flyweight debut. The future is cloudy for him just like it is for Moraes. Perhaps the UFC pairs them together and the winner stays while the loser is let go.