UFC booking Marlon Moraes – Song Yadong

The UFC is close to finalizing a fun matchup in the bantamweight division. MMA Junkie was the first to report earlier this afternoon that the promotion was targeting a matchup between “Magic” Marlon Moraes (23-9-1) and Song Yadong (18-5-1).

The matchup is expected to take place at a UFC Fight Night on March 12th. For Song, this is a massive opportunity against a former title challenger. Recently, Song was listed as ESPN’s top fighter under the age of 25 and for good reason.

The UFC prospect from China has looked very solid in his young career. Since making his debut with the UFC, Song has gone an impressive 7-1. During that stretch, he has very impressive wins over the likes of Chito Vera, Casey Kenney, and Julio Arce.

The lone loss came to another top prospect in Kyler Phillips. However, the wins over Kenney and Arce followed the lone loss in his UFC career. If Song can pick up the win in March over Moraes, it will prove that he’s ready to share the cage with guys near the top of the bantamweight division.

UFC’s Moraes looking to snap losing streak

While Song looks to be surging towards the top of the UFC’s bantamweight division, Marlon Moraes is sinking like an anchor. It’s crazy to think about where Marlon Moraes is now compared to where he was when the calendar moved to 2019.

At the beginning of 2019, many considered Moraes to be the best bantamweight on the roster. He was lined up to fight Henry Cejudo for the vacant bantamweight title and he was pegged as the favorite. After one round, he looked like he was going to cruise.

However, as the fight went on, Cejudo started to break Moraes. Cejudo stopped Moraes and started him down this tough path. Since the Cejudo loss, Moraes is just 1-3. The lone win came against Jose Aldo in a fight that most believe he lost. Aldo actually got a title shot off the loss to Moraes which should tell you something.

His last fight came back at UFC 266 against Merab Dvalishvili. In the first round of that fight, Moraes hurt Merab bad. Moraes looked like he was going to get a TKO win. However, Merab survived. When Merab survived, it broke Moraes.

Merab would go on to finish Moraes in the second round. Right now, Moraes is looked at as a guy that will break if he can’t finish you early. He’s going to have his hands full in March and he might be fighting for his UFC career. If he loses again, he might be staring at the harsh reality of getting cut by the world’s premier MMA promotion.

Marlon Moraes continued to fall at UFC 266

In the featured prelim at UFC 266, we saw a bantamweight matchup between “Magic” Marlon Moraes (23-9-1) and Merab Dvalishvili (14-4). Both of these men entered the contest going in completely opposite directions.

Dvalishvili was souring heading into UFC 266 and looked like he was ready to take the next step into serious title contention. Meanwhile, Marlon Moraes has been tail spinning ever since he lost to Henry Cejudo in a battle for the UFC bantamweight championship.

The fight on Saturday couldn’t have started better for Moraes. Moraes was lighting Dvalishvili up with powerful kicks and then he landed vicious shots that had Dvalishvili out on his feet. For a moment, it looked like a Moraes finish was in the bag.

However, Dvalishvili somehow survived and the fight continued at UFC 266. Once Moraes didn’t get the finish, you could actually see the desire and fight inside of him completely leave his body.

After nearly finishing Dvalishvili, Moraes almost got finished by Dvalishvili late in the first round. The rest of the fight was completely dominated by The Machine and Dvalishvili went on to score a second round TKO.

What’s next for Moraes after UFC 266?

Marlon Moraes lost his UFC debut to Raphael Assuncao (27-8). After that loss, he won four straight which included avenging that loss against Assuncao. He also knocked out Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera during that stretch.

Those four wins gave him a UFC title shot against Henry Cejudo. In that fight, Moraes dominated the opening round. However, when it became clear that Cejudo wasn’t going away, Moraes started to break.

Cejudo would go on to stop Moraes in the third round. After that, Moraes got a win over Jose Aldo, however, the majority people thought he lost. Then, he was knocked out in back-to-back fights by Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font.

Those losses led him to UFC 266. Again, Moraes started great, but broke when he couldn’t get the finish. There are spots in Moraes’ fights where he looks like one of the best in the world. However, if his first gameplan doesn’t work, he completely falls apart.

There’s so much talent there, but he’s becoming so predictable. If you can survive the onslaught early, you’re going to finish him more than likely. He has some real soul searching to do ahead of his next UFC fight.

In terms of what’s next, I’m honestly not sure. He’s dropped to tenth in the rankings and the only fight that I can think of that makes sense is Raphael Assuncao again. The two are 1-1 in their series and the trilogy makes a ton of sense.

Now, Assuncao is fighting Ricky Simon in December. Regardless of that result, I think Assuncao should be the fight for Moraes.

Merab Dvalishvili survives early scare to finish Marlon Moraes at UFC 266

In the featured prelim at UFC 266, we saw a big time matchup in the bantamweight division. Former title challenger and top contender Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) was trying to get track as he took on the surging Merab Dvalishvili (13-4).

Just a couple of years ago, Marlon Moraes was looked at as potentially the best bantamweight in the UFC. After submitting Raphael Assuncao in the first round at a Fight Night in 2019, Moraes got a title shot against Henry Cejudo.

After starting well in that fight, Moraes faded badly and it’s been all downhill sense. Cejudo would finish him and then Moraes would go 1-2 in his next three after with the one win being a very questionable decision. In the eyes of the public, Moraes had lost four straight coming into tonight.

While his career has gone down, Merab Dvalishvili’s career has surged. After losing his first two fights in the UFC, Dvalishvili has really taken off. The bantamweight from Georgia has won six fights in a row including wins over Casey Kenney, John Dodson, and Cody Stamann.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 featured prelim kicked off with a touch of the gloves and a yell from Dvalishvili. Moraes started in the center with Dvalishvili bouncing on the outside. Dvalishvili lands a low kick to start his striking.

Moraes answers with a massive low kick that spins Dvalishvili. Another brutal kick from Moraes and that draws Dvalishvili to fire back. The two exchange big shots in the pocket and Dvalishvili lands a takedown.

Moraes defends well and gets back to his feet. Nice 1-2 from Dvalishvili. Huge right hand from Dvalishvili but Moraes seems very composed. Powerful left hook from Moraes stiffens up Dvalishvili briefly but he shakes it off.

Another brutal left hook and Dvalishvili looks out on his feet. Moraes is pouring it on here and Dvalishvili is wobbling all over the octagon. This fight looks very close to being stopped but Dvalishvili is somehow surviving.

Somehow Dvalishvili is going to survive and now you have to question the cardio of Moraes. Dvalishvili pushes Moraes against the fence and lands a takedown. Now it’s Dvalishvili who’s starting to work his ground and pound.

Big shots from Dvalishvili from the guard. Now it’s Dvalishvili who’s nearing a finish. My goodness what a round and I have now idea who should get it. Somehow, Dvalishvili might be up 1-0 at UFC 266.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 266 and all the momentum is with Dvalishvili. Moraes looks a little wobbly to start the second round and he doesn’t look confident at all. Huge right hand from Dvalishvili sits Moraes down.

Dvalishvili settles in the guard and he’s hurting Moraes badly on the ground. Big shots to the body and then he’s coming up top. It’s all Dvalishvili here in the second round. Brutal elbows from the guard from Dvalishvili and Moraes looks broken here.

More elbow from Dvalishvili and this fight looks like it’s going to get stopped. After Dvalishvili takes a little bit of a break, he goes right back to work with brutal elbows. Moraes is just laying there on the guard not doing much to defend.

Hammer fists from Dvalishvili and Moraes explodes to try and get back up. Moraes gets up and presses Dvalishvili up to the fence. However, Dvalishvili reverses and takes Moraes back to the ground.

Big shots from Dvalishvili and Moraes gets warned by the referee to defend himself. Moraes moves but is still taking more shots and this one is over. Merab Dvalishvili has finished Marlon Moraes at UFC 266.

Merab Dvalishvili def. Marlon Moraes by TKO – Round 2

UFC 266 Preview: Marlon Moraes – Merab Dvalishvili

Saturday night in the featured prelim at UFC 266, we will see an incredible matchup in the bantamweight division. Former title challenger and top contender Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) will try to get back on track as he takes on the surging Merab Dvalishvili (13-4).

Just a couple of years ago, Marlon Moraes was looked at as potentially the best bantamweight in the UFC. After submitting Raphael Assuncao in the first round at a Fight Night in 2019, Moraes got a title shot against Henry Cejudo.

After starting well in that fight, Moraes faded badly and it’s been all downhill sense. Cejudo would finish him and then Moraes would go 1-2 in his next three after with the one win being a very questionable decision. In the eyes of the public, Moraes has lost four straight.

While his career has gone down, Merab Dvalishvili’s career has surged. After losing his first two fights in the UFC, Dvalishvili has really taken off. The bantamweight from Georgia has won six fights in a row including wins over Casey Kenney, John Dodson, and Cody Stamann.

UFC 266 Prediction

It is truly crazy how quick the narrative change change when it comes the UFC. If this fight was two years ago, I would’ve laughed at anyone saying that Dvalishvili would defeat Marlon Moraes.

Now, I’m almost finding myself on the complete opposite side. I really don’t know what to expect from Moraes right now. When he’s at his best, he’s fantastic. Incredible striking technique with good power in his hands and feet.

He also has very good grappling. Dvalishvili is going to bring a ton of energy into this fight and he won’t stop moving forward. I’m expecting a lot of takedown attempts from Merab in this fight.

Ultimately, I think the energy level of Dvalishvili is going to be the key at UFC 266. We’ve seen Moraes break a number of times and I think Dvalishvili’s suffocating style doesn’t match well with him. I think you’re going to see Dvalishvili take a big step forward on Saturday.

Prediction: Merab Dvalishvili by Unanimous Decision

What’s next for Cody Garbrandt after UFC Vegas 27?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 27, former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (12-4) took on Rob Font (19-4) in the main event. This was a pivotal matchup between two top five contenders in the bantamweight division.

Garbrandt was making his first appearance since UFC 250 last June. That night, the former champion knocked out Raphael Assuncao in the second round. That win snapped a three-fight losing streak for the former champion.

After that win, Garbrandt intended to move to flyweight to challenge for the UFC flyweight title. However, a battle with COVID-19 and injuries kept Garbrandt out for a significant amount of time.

After resuming training, Garbrandt decided to stay at 135 pounds for now. Ultimately, Garbrandt said that he wanted to hold two UFC titles at the same time. He was undecided on which division he would pursue.

The former champion looked motivated and focused heading into UFC Vegas 27. However, that focus didn’t translate to the performance. While Garbrandt landed some decent shots, Rob Font beat him to the punch and pretty much dominated on Saturday night.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 27?

After this loss, the former UFC champion is just 1-4 in his last five fights. So, where does ‘No Love’ go from here? Well, a lot of that will depend on which weight class he decides to pursue.

As mentioned, he seemed torn between flyweight and bantamweight moving forward. The UFC has options for him depending on which weight class he decides to pursue and there are options.

If he moves down to 125 pounds, I think a fight with someone like Alex Perez (24-6) makes a lot of sense. Perez is coming off a loss in a title fight and he’s squarely in the mix. If Garbrandt moved down and defeated Perez, he’d likely be right in line for a title shot.

If Garbrandt decides to stay at bantamweight, the UFC could pair him with someone like Marlon Moraes (23-8-1). Moraes is in a very similar position having gone 1-3 in his last four although the one win should’ve been a loss.

Magic Marlon is still ranked sixth in the division so Garbrandt would still be getting a top opponent. Either one of these fights would make sense for the former champion, but it will all come down to which weight class he wants to try next.

UFC: Rob Font wants a March headliner against TJ Dillashaw

One of the UFC bantamweight contenders with the most hype right now is Rob Font (18-4). Font starched Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) with a devastating performance in his last fight. It was a fight where Font had to show a number of his skills.

Going into the December matchup at UFC Vegas 17, we knew that Rob Font had really good boxing. However, there were questions around how he would handle someone with strong kicks and how his grappling would hold up.

Well, he was taken down early, but he got back up. He did take some kicks from Moraes, but the damage he did with his own punches was far more severe. Just under four minutes into the first round, Font put Moraes out.

It was the third straight victory in the UFC for Font. After the win, Font rose to fifth in the bantamweight rankings. A spot well deserved after the performance that he put on last month.

Font has made it very clear in what he wants next. He wants a shot at the former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4). Dillashaw’s two-year suspension ends this week, and he needs an opponent.

Will the UFC make it?

Font told MMA Junkie that he would love to headline a card with March against Dillashaw. He also said that he believes the former champion is mentally broken now that he has to compete after being a proven cheater.

Dillashaw is currently weighing his options for his next matchup in the UFC. He’s made it clear that he wants a title shot right out of the gate, however, it isn’t clear on if the promotion is a fan of that option.

Jose Aldo (29-7) also said that he would like to be the one to welcome Dillashaw back to the octagon. At this point, there is no telling on what direction the promotion is leaning. However, the Font fight does make sense.

Rob Font has a ton of momentum after his last fight. It was a great performance and he could be looking at a title shot if he has one more big win. Well, it wouldn’t get much bigger than a win over the former UFC champion.

Cody Garbrandt (12-3) and his management have been asking the UFC for a fight with Aldo. Garbrandt is currently waiting for a flyweight title shot, however, with the title tied up until mid-2021, he’s looking for a big fight.

The promotion could book Garbrandt and Aldo which would open the door for Dillashaw to face Font. It’s a fight that makes a ton of sense for the division and whoever wins would earn themselves a title shot with that performance.

State of the UFC’s bantamweight division entering 2021

One of the divisions that has really flipped in 2020 is the UFC‘s bantamweight division. I’m not sure anyone saw the division going the way that it did when the year started. Granted, I don’t think anything about 2020 went as planned.

When the year started, Henry Cejudo (16-2) was the reigning UFC bantamweight king. He was angling for a fight with former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (29-7), after Aldo lost by split decision to Marlon Moraes.

Cejudo and the UFC brass felt that Aldo won the fight. The two men were scheduled to fight in May. However, after the pandemic hit, Aldo was not able to travel for UFC 249 to take on Cejudo.

That’s when former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3), stepped to the plate. Cruz had been out since 2016, but in that fight he lost his world title. The two men met at UFC 249.

That night, Cejudo finished Cruz in the second round then retired after the fight. The promotion decided to give Aldo a title shot after he was promised one and paired him against top contender, Petr Yan (16-1) for the vacant title.

At UFC 251 on Fight Island, Yan and Aldo met for the bantamweight championship. Aldo had some good moments early, however, Yan took over late. Ultimately, Yan finished Aldo in the fifth round to become bantamweight champion.

UFC’s Bantamweight Division in 2021

We already know the first title fight, we just don’t know when. Yan was supposed to defend his title against Aljamain Sterling (19-3) at UFC 256. However, Yan had to pull out for undisclosed reasons. That fight is supposed to be setup early in 2021.

An interesting wrinkle in the division is the return of former champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4). Dillashaw never lost his UFC title in the ring, but his suspension forced him to be stripped of the 135 pound title.

Dillashaw’s two-year suspension is up in January and he’s looking to get right back in the mix. Jose Aldo is one of the men that wants a shot at Dillashaw. Aldo is coming off of a big win against Chito Vera at UFC Vegas 17. 

The two former UFC champions could make for a very compelling matchup. Another key matchup early in the year is the matchup between Cory Sandhagen (13-2) and former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1).

That matchup on February 6th might be a title eliminator. Rob Font (18-4) might be the one contender to watch in 2021. Font just knocked out Marlon Moraes at UFC Vegas 17. His hands looked incredibly crisp and he’s busted into the top five at bantamweight.

The UFC‘s bantamweight division is absolutely stacked. I didn’t even mention the matchup between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera that’s booked on January 20th. So many incredible matchups in that division.

Petr Yan looks like a world-beater. However, his division is full of guys who are waiting to take away that crown. So many interesting storylines and potential matchups surround the UFC’s bantamweight division entering 2021.

UFC: What happened to Marlon Moraes?

At UFC 238, Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) entered the cage as the betting favorite to capture the vacant bantamweight championship. Standing in his way was the promotion’s flyweight champion of the world, Henry Cejudo.

Entering UFC 238, Moraes had gone 17-1 in his previous eighteen fights. The lone loss was a split decision to Raphael Assuncao which Moraes emphatically avenged when he stopped Assuncao in the first round of their rematch.

Moraes had finished his previous three UFC fights in the first round and many believed he would be too much for Cejudo. In the first round, Moraes was really dominating the fight on the feet. He brutalized Cejudo with low kicks and kicks to the body.

Cejudo looked like he was going to be overwhelmed by Moraes. However, he wasn’t going to go away easily. The first half of the second round looked the same with Moraes dominating the striking. However, momentum started to switch.

You could almost see Moraes starting to break at UFC 238 after Cejudo refused to fall to his attacks. In the third round, Moraes looked like a broken fighter and Cejudo went on to finish him in the third.

Since that loss, Moraes has not looked like the same fighter in the UFC. He defeated Jose Aldo last December by split decision, but the vast majority of people believe that Moraes lost the fight.

Rough 2020 for the UFC’s Magic Man

Entering 2020, Moraes had a lot to prove inside the octagon. Cejudo completely broke him at UFC 238 and many thought Aldo won their fight. Aldo was actually awarded the title shot over Moraes despite Moraes technically winning their fight.

After being out the first part of the year, Moraes got his first UFC contest of 2020 in October against Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen was coming off of an embarrassing loss and many believed that this was a good fight for Moraes to get back on track with.

However, that didn’t happen at all. Sandhagen went on to finish Moraes in the second round of their fight. Frustrated with another loss, Moraes wanted a quick turnaround. The UFC game him Rob Font at UFC Vegas 17.

Font has really good boxing, but the grappling and kicking advantage would go to Moraes. For those reasons, I believed Moraes would win the fight. However, what transpired was another loss for Moraes.

Moraes started out strong, however, it was clear that he didn’t want to stand with Font. After taking him down early in the first round, Moraes was forced to stand after Font worked his way back up. It didn’t take long for Font to knock him out once on the feet.

In the eyes of many, Moraes has lost four fights in a row starting with the Cejudo loss. I personally think that Moraes needs to take some time to really evaluate where he’s at in his career and how can proceed forward.

He’s gone from being the UFC‘s magic man to truly everyone knowing his tricks. I still believe he has a lot of talent, but if he suffers another loss, he could be on the chopping block.

What’s next for Rob Font after UFC Vegas 17?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 17, Rob Font (18-4) made the walk for the first time in 2020. Font carried a two-fight winning streak into the octagon as he took on former title challenger, Marlon Moraes (23-8-1).

For Font, it’s been a struggle to get back into the octagon. The UFC bantamweight has only fought twice since December of 2018. He’s dealt with a number of injuries and he also dealt with COVID this year.

However, he was finally healthy and ready to go at UFC Vegas 17. Font is really known for his outstanding boxing, but I figured he would have a little trouble with the kicking game of Marlon Moraes.

When the fight started, Moraes actually shot for a takedown on Font. It really gave you an idea of how much Moraes respected the hands of Rob Font. Font was able to work his way up to his feet, and from there Moraes was in trouble.

After the two got back to their feet, Font rocked Moraes within seconds. His hands looked extremely crisp and he wobbled Moraes a few times. A big uppercut put Moraes down for good and gave Font the biggest win of his UFC career.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 17?

Font entered UFC Vegas 17 ranked as the 11th bantamweight while Moraes was ranked third. With the performance that he put on Saturday night, I’m expecting Font to jump into the top five when the rankings come out today.

I was incredibly impressed with his performance. After the fight was over, Font called out former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw’s two-year suspension is up in January and he needs a new opponent.

In reality, it’s a fight that makes a lot of sense especially if Font is ranked in the top five. There are a couple of additional options for Font including Jose Aldo who defeated Chito Vera on Saturday night. 

Both Font and Aldo called out Dillashaw, but the UFC could pair the two winners against each other. One additional option would be the winning of the Pedro Munhoz – Jimmie Rivera fight which takes place in January.

Rob Font knocks Marlon Moraes out at UFC Vegas 17

One of the more anticipated matchups on the UFC Vegas 17 main card was the bantamweight matchup between “Magic” Marlon Moraes (23-7-1) and Rob Font (17-4). Font was making his first walk of 2020.

He was entering this fight on a two-fight win streak. A win over Moraes would really put Font on the map in the UFC‘s bantamweight division. However, getting passed Moraes is not an easy task.

Just a couple of years ago, Moraes was looked at as potentially the best bantamweight in the world. Now, he’s coming into UFC Vegas 17 having lost two out of his last three. He was looking to use this fight against Rob Font to get back on track.

UFC Vegas 17 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 17 bantamweight contest got underway with a body kick from Moraes. After landing a second body kick, Moraes shot in for a takedown and took down Rob Font. Moraes tried to transition into a guillotine, but he lost the top position as a result.

Font was able to get back to his feet, but Moraes was able to take him right back down. Moraes did a really good job of controlling Font once the fight got back to the ground. Font was finally able to get back up with two minutes left in the round.

Once back on the feet, Moraes was rocked by Rob Font with a couple of shots. Moraes landed a headkick to counter, but Font started putting it on him. Font dropped him with a couple of uppercuts and finished the fight with massive follow up shots.

Huge statement from Rob Font. The UFC’s bantamweight division has a new contender.

Rob Font def. Marlon Moraes by TKO – Round 1