What’s next for Marlon Moraes after UFC Fight Island 5 Loss?

Last night was another rough night at the office for “Magic” Marlon Moraes (23-7-1). UFC Fight Island 5 was supposed to be a bounce back fight for Moraes despite a win in his last outing that came against Jose Aldo at UFC 245.

While Moraes walked away with his hand raised that night, most people thought he lost the fight. Prior to that loss, Moraes challenged for the UFC bantamweight championship against Henry Cejudo back at UFC 238.

In the first round of that fight, Moraes looked like the dangerous contender everyone thought he was. Devastating kicks and combinations flustered Cejudo. However, Cejudo wouldn’t go away. Eventually, Moraes tired, and Cejudo went on to break and finish Moraes in the third round.

Cory Sandhagen (12-2) is a tough matchup for anyone. He was actually the betting favorite last night, but I thought it was going to be a good night for Moraes. I thought his crisp striking would be enough to carry him to a victory.

However, UFC Fight Island 5 proved to be another bump in the road for Moraes. He struggled to land anything against the longer Sandhagen. In the second round, he was caught with a spinning kick and was finished on the ground seconds later for his second loss in three fights.

What’s next after UFC Fight Island 5?

In the eyes of many, Moraes is a fighter who has lost three fights in a row. Granted, the fights were to Cejudo, Aldo, and Sandhagen who are all either former champions or a top contender. Still, three bad performances in a row for Moraes.

The UFC is in an interesting position when it comes to Magic Marlon. Entering last night, he was the number one ranked bantamweight in the UFC‘s rankings. However, I’m expecting a big drop after the performance he had last night.

In looking at the rankings, I think a good next fight for Marlon would be a matchup between him and Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC). Munhoz is ranked sixth in the rankings currently, but he is also on a two fight losing streak.

To me, it’s perfect match making to pair the two of these top contenders up. One of them is bound to right the ship, while the other will continue to sink. Both of these top contenders could be looking at a sink or swim next fight in the UFC.

UFC Fight Island 5 Main Event Preview: Marlon Moraes – Cory Sandhagen

One of more anticipated fights from the UFC‘s second trip to Fight Island headlines tomorrow night’s fight night. Top bantamweight contenders Marlon Moraes (23-6-1) and Cory Sandhagen (12-2) will try to take another step towards a UFC bantamweight title fight.

The UFC‘s bantamweight division has turned into arguably the deepest and most exciting division for the promotion. Any of the top ten fighters paired against each other would get UFC fans excited for the matchup. And, there are a ton of top guys just outside the top 10.

This matchup is so fascinating on a number of levels. Marlon Moraes is trying to get back on the right track after his last two performances. Yes, he technically won his last fight at UFC 245. However, the majority of people watching felt Moraes lost to Jose Aldo.

On the other side of the cage is Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen was one win away from a UFC bantamweight title fight before getting demolished by Aljamain Sterling back at UFC 250. The fight wasn’t even remotely competitive as Sandhagen was submitted in 88 seconds.

Prior to that loss, Sandhagen had won his first five fights in the UFC. Sandhagen looked like a future champion, but the loss caused some doubts. However, Moraes has doubts of his own after his last two performances inside the octagon.

UFC Fight Island 5 Main Event Prediction

This is such a good fight because both men are so evenly matched. If you’re looking for the more explosive fighter, you would want to look at Marlon Moraes. There is no place that this fight will go that Moraes won’t feel comfortable.

His all around skills are what led him to a UFC title shot back at UFC 238. Moraes has explosive power on the feet, and he’s very technical with everything that he does. However, Moraes does have a tendency to fade a little as the fight goes on.

You could make the argument that Sandhagen is just as well rounded as Moraes. Sandhagen has very slick striking and despite his last performance, he’s very good on the ground. There is one area where Sandhagen as a big advantage.

Sandhagen is a much larger man than Marlon Moraes. His frame is much bigger, and he just looks like the bigger man. If you ask me, I think he needs to lean on that size in this one. Maybe try to engage in some clinch work early to tire Moraes out.

When it comes to the prediction I’m torn. On one hand, I think Moraes is going to get the best of Sandhagen early on. I think Moraes will have something to prove. However, the longer the fight goes, Sandhagen can end up with the advantage. I think this is the fight of the night, but I’m going to lean Moraes in an absolute war.

Prediction: Marlon Moraes by Unanimous Decision 

After UFC Vegas 7, what’s next for Frankie Edgar?

Frankie Edgar

Last Saturday night at UFC Vegas 7, former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1), made a successful bantamweight debut. Edgar edged out the fifth ranked bantamweight in the UFC, Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC).

This was the third weight class that Edgar has competed in during his hall of fame career. Given Edgar’s size, he looked like he was finally in his natural weight class after always being the smallest guy at lightweight and featherweight.

Edgar is expected to debut this week in the top five of the bantamweight rankings after his victory over Munhoz. With Aljamain Sterling getting the next shot at the champion Petr Yan, what should the UFC do with Edgar’s next fight?

UFC and Edgar’s next steps

Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that Edgar needed to win one or two more times before he could get a shot at the UFC bantamweight title. Realistically, I would say he just needs one more win to earn that shot.

The UFC loves Edgar, and if he comes out and looks impressive in another win, I could see them giving him a title shot. However, booking Edgar against another contender might not be easy.

If you examine the rankings, all of the guys who will be in front of Edgar are already booked. The UFC champ, Yan, is likely fighting Sterling. Marlon Moraes is booked to fight Corey Sandhagen in October. Cody Garbrandt is moving down to flyweight so he’s not in the picture.

That leaves Edgar with no one in front of him in the rankings at the moment. He just defeated Munhoz, and I can’t see the UFC booking him against Jose Aldo, who is ranked sixth, for the third time. So who should he fight?

Two Options

To me, there are two options that the UFC could go with right now. If the promotion wants to give him someone that makes sense with rankings, I’d go with Jimmie Rivera (23-4). Rivera is ranked seventh and is coming off of a win against Cody Stamann at UFC Fight Island 1.

Rivera tried to step in to fight Edgar on short notice after Munhoz originally tested positive for COVID-19, but Edgar decided to wait on Munhoz. El Terror felt that Edgar was dodging the fight. A matchup between the two could bring a little heat.

The other option would be the biggest one the UFC could make on name recognition. How about a fight with former bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3)? Cruz is coming off of a title fight loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249.

The two men are legends of the sport, and it would make for an extremely interesting matchup. The winner could likely jump right back to a UFC title shot. If I’m Dana White, I would start with this one, but if I’m a fight fan, I’d be happy to see Edgar fight either one of Rivera or Cruz next.

Frankie Edgar proves he’s still elite at UFC Vegas 7

There were many questions about Frankie Edgar (24-8-1) entering UFC Vegas 7. He was making his bantamweight debut at the age of 38 after spending his entire career at lightweight and featherweight.

Of course, Edgar was diving right into the deep end taking on the UFC‘s fifth ranked contender in Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC). It was a sink or swim test for Edgar in his first outing at bantamweight. After a five round war, Edgar proved that he can still swim with the best of them.

UFC Bantamweight’s Newest Contender

In an instant classic, Edgar and Munhoz went to war. Both men had big moments in the fight. Both men wobbled the other at various points, and both displayed crisp striking over five rounds.

In the end, the two of the three judges gave the split decision to the former UFC lightweight champion Edgar. It was a razor close fight, but I believe that the judges got this one right. Munhoz had big moments, but Edgar’s output and higher number of strikes landed won the fight on my scorecard as well.

One of the UFC‘s most dynamic divisions just got a little more dynamic and deep with Edgar making his successful debut. With defeating the top five ranked Munhoz, expect Edgar to be in the top five to start the week next week.

Personally, I would like to see Edgar get one more win in the division before getting a UFC title shot. Aljamain Sterling has worked for and earned the next shot, but Dana White has yet to confirm that he’s next for the UFC‘s champion, Petr Yan.

Either way, at UFC Vegas 7, Edgar proved that he belongs at bantamweight. He didn’t tire from the weight cut, and he looked just as sharp as ever. One has to wonder what it would have been like if he jumped straight to bantamweight instead of his time at featherweight.

UFC: Marlon Moraes – Cory Sandhagen to headline October 10th Fight Night

The UFC is planning on having a big time bantamweight fight headline their fight night on October 10th. According to multiple reports, Magic Marlon Moraes (23-6-1) will be taking on Cory Sandhagen (12-2).

What does the mean for UFC’s title pictures?

Originally, it was being reported that the UFC was trying to book Moraes with former champion, Cody Garbrandt. However, Garbrandt recently told Ariel Helwani that he was wanting to drop to flyweight to take on the champion, Deiveson Figueiredo.

With the UFC moving to book Moraes/Sandhagen, it looks like the writing is on the wall with a couple of title fights. One being the title fight between Garbrandt and Firgueiredo while the other title fight will be Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

Dana White has been hesitant to say that Sterling was next for Yan after Yan won the title at UFC 251. However, with all other top contenders booked, it appears that the UFC will be making Yan – Sterling after all.

Moraes – Sandhagen

Now back to this fight. This is a fantastic matchup in the bantamweight division. I’m a little surprised that the UFC is having Sandhagen fight a guy like Moraes after he was steamrolled by Sterling in the first round.

I was thinking maybe a guy like Jimmie Rivera could have been next for Sandhagen. Either way, it’s a big time fight for the division. A win for either of these guys might put them in line for a title shot next.

Moraes was in a weird spot after his last fight. He beat Jose Aldo, but the court of public opinion gave Aldo the win. Even the UFC gave Aldo a title shot over Moraes. The former title challenger will look to cement his top contender status with a win over Sandhagen.

The UFC‘s bantamweight division is on fire right now. The weight class is filled with tremendous talent and they have budding superstars. This will be a division to keep your eyes on moving forward.

UFC: Aljamain Sterling still not confirmed as number one contender

After UFC 250 back in June, there was little doubt in the MMA community as to who was the number one contender in the bantamweight division.

Aljamain Sterling (19-3) steamrolled Cory Sandhagen in 88 seconds in what was supposed to be a title eliminator. Everyone (including myself) made the assumption that Sterling would be next for the UFC bantamweight title.

However, UFC president Dana White has yet to confirm Sterling as the next contender. White is usually pretty firm about the next guys in line. Just look at how he’s talking about Gilbert Burns. White was asked about Sterling at the post-fight press conference last night.

Who is the UFC’s top bantamweight contender?

White continues to evade from confirming Sterling as the next contender for Petr Yan’s first title defense. Yan (15-1) just won the vacant UFC bantamweight title a little over a week ago on Fight Island.

I just can’t help but think that if Sterling is not the next contender, who is? The only two guys ranked around Sterling are Marlon Moraes and Cody Garbrandt. Those two guys are rumored to be fighting in October.

Yan has said that he wants to defend his title for the first time in October. So that would rule out those two. Sandhagen just lost to Sterling and Aldo just lost to Yan. The only other guy in the top six is Pedro Munhoz who is fighting Frankie Edgar at UFC 252.

Is it possible that the UFC is waiting to see if Frankie Edgar (23-8-1) can defeat Munhoz at UFC 252? Are they thinking more about name recognition instead of resume?

Whatever the reason, it just doesn’t make sense. Despite the chaos in other divisions, the bantamweight division seems very clear. There is a true number one contender and his name is Aljamain Sterling.

 

Frankie Edgar – Pedro Munhoz moved to UFC 252 main card

Over the weekend, the main card was officially announced for UFC 252. A couple of exciting bantamweight fights will be on the main card. One featuring the Suga Show, the other featuring the bantamweight debut of Frankie Edgar (23-8-1).

From Fight Island to the UFC APEX

Edgar was scheduled to make his bantamweight debut this week on Fight Island. The former lightweight champ just signed a new deal ahead of this fight.

This is the third weight class that Edgar will have competed in during his UFC run. This also might be the first time that Edgar is fighting at his natural weight.

The UFC didn’t give him an easy first fight pairing him with Pedro Munhoz (18-1, 1 NC). Their fight was scheduled to be the co-main event this week, but a positive COVID-19 test nixed the fight.

Edgar was offered a few replacements, but he seemed content with waiting for Munhoz. Munhoz will have been cleared by the time August rolls around, so the the fight was shifted to the main card of UFC 252.

The bantamweight division is quickly turning into the most dynamic and deep division in the UFC. This is such an exciting matchup, and you have the company’s future superstar also competing on the same card.

UFC: Landscape of the Bantamweight Division prior to UFC 250

Less than a month ago, Henry Cejudo (16-2) stopped Dominick Cruz (22-3) in the second round at UFC 249 to retain his bantamweight title. To the surprise of pretty much everyone, “Triple C” announced in the Octagon that he was leaving the sport following the Cruz victory. Cejudo said he felt like there was nothing left for him to accomplish and hinted that he wasn’t getting paid enough to stick around for any additional fights. With Cejudo out of the mix, the bantamweight division is wide open. While we do have some clarity in the title picture, the rest of the division is wide open with a lot of intriguing possibilities.

Yan vs. Aldo for the Title

UFC President, Dana White, came out last week and announced that Patr Yan (14-1) and former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (28-6) would be fighting sometime this summer for the vacant bantamweight title. It was a fight that personally left me a little surprised. Jose Aldo is coming off of a loss in his divisional debut to Marlon Moraes (23-6) back at UFC 245 although many people including myself believe that Aldo won the fight. Aldo was called out by the former champion despite losing the fight on the scorecards. Because Cejudo wanted to fight him, Aldo was granted the title shot. With Cejudo out of the picture, I figured the UFC would pivot to someone at least coming off of a win. However, the UFC is still giving the former featherweight king the shot. Yan is the one guy in the equation who you cannot deny deserves the shot. He should have been in line ahead of Aldo in the first place. Yan is 5-0 since joining the UFC and has looked spectacular in every outing. He’s coming off an incredible win where he demolished UFC Hall of Famer, Urijah Faber. With Cejudo gone, Yan is the #1 guy in that division if you ask me. It will be a very interesting fight when he and Aldo square off given their skillsets. If you would have asked me a few years ago who would win, I would lean towards Aldo. However, if you ask me tonight as I’m writing this, I would lean towards the Russian, Yan. It will be a fun fight that fight fans should be looking forward to at some point this summer.

UFC 250 Has Big Implications

The rest of the division is completely wide open. There are two fights scheduled for UFC 250 which should help narrow down the contenders a bit, but it’s still not easy figuring out who would be next in line after the Yan/Aldo fight. Using the UFC’s rankings, #2 Aljamain Sterling (18-3), and #4 Cory Sandhagen (12-1) will be squaring off next Saturday in a fight that on paper would likely indicate the challenger for the winner of the Yan/Aldo fight. Sterling has rattled off four consecutive wins and Sandhagen is unbeaten since joining the UFC. A lot of people believed that Sterling should have been given the title shot over Aldo. The same night of the Sterling/Sandhagan fight we have former bantamweight champion, #9 Cody Garbrandt (11-3), and #5 Raphael Assuncao squaring off. Garbrandt was on the fast track to stardom after he dethroned Dominick Cruz for the title back in December of 2016. “No Love” was a knockout artist who looked like he could lead the division for the long haul. Garbrandt’s career has completely been derailed since that victory over Cruz. Garbrandt has dealt with numerous injuries and has been knocked out in three consecutive fights. This is a fight that could get him going back in the right direction. Assuncao, who is 11-3 in his last 14 fights, has been on the cusp of a title shot numerous times. Right before he’d get the shot someone would beat him. Back at UFC 200, it was TJ Dillashaw, then at UFC Fight Night 144 it was Marlon Moraes. Both guys were previously defeated by Assuncao, but he would fall to them both when a title shot was on the line. A win over Garbrandt could once again get Assuncao close to a title shot.

“The Answer” Drops Down

Last week there was another big announcement for the UFC’s bantamweight division in that former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (23-8) would be dropping down to 135 to make his debut against #7 Pedro Munhoz (18-4). The last time we saw “The Answer” he was certainly not at his best. Edgar took a short notice fight against Chan Sung Jung and was taken out early in the first round. That loss came on the heels of his title loss to former featherweight champ, Max Holloway. Edgar hasn’t held UFC gold since 2011 and this drop to 135 is looked at as his last chance to win a title. Edgar had a solid run at featherweight but went 0-3 in his title opportunities. Now, Edgar is moving to the weight class he probably should have been in for a long time. Pedro Munhoz will be standing across from Edgar after a year layoff following a loss to Aljamain Sterling back at UFC 238. Going into the Sterling fight, Munhoz was riding a three-fight win streak which included a knockout of former champion, Cody Garbrandt. Munhoz is an extremely tough customer for Edgar’s first fight in the bantamweight division, but you wouldn’t expect anything less for Edgar. With his history, an impressive win over Munhoz on July 11th could vault Edgar right into title contention. I would like to see him get a couple of wins at 135 before getting a shot, but with the UFC, you never know.

What About GOATs?

With no disrespect to Henry Cejudo, the two greatest bantamweights of all time are Dominick Cruz and TJ Dillashaw. Yes, Cejudo did beat both, but he beat an older Dominick Cruz who hadn’t fought in three years and he beat a very depleted TJ Dillashaw at flyweight. When it comes to the body of work and longevity, the two best ever at 135 are Cruz and Dillashaw. So where do they fit into all of this? TJ Dillashaw popped for EPO back in January of 2019 after his loss to Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw had never failed a drug test before, but admitted he used it to assist him in having the energy to get himself down to 125 pounds. Dillashaw was suspended for two years, but that suspension will be up in January. Dillashaw thinks that he could warrant a title shot once he returns, but I’m not convinced the UFC will go in that direction.

Then you have Dominick Cruz. Cruz looked a step off in his fight against Cejudo at UFC 249. It was his first fight since the Garbrandt loss back at UFC 207 and he did not appear to be very sharp. In his time away from the sport due to injuries, Cruz continued to perfect the craft of being a commentator appearing on many of the UFC’s events over the last few years. Cruz is primed for a career at the booth once his career is over, but I’m not convinced he’s done just yet. He hinted that he might have retired if he would have won the belt from Cejudo, but I can’t see Cruz going out after that loss especially ending the way it did. So if Cruz isn’t going to retire and Dillashaw doesn’t get the title shot, what do you do with both of them? You can probably see where I’m going in suggesting you have them headline a card in January. I don’t see Cruz taking a fight against just anybody in the division and he might want to give himself a long training camp before his next fight. Dillashaw is going to need a big name for his return, and the two have a history with Cruz edging out Dillashaw for the title back in 2016. A fight between these two makes a ton of sense to me and I would not be shocked to see this fight announced in the fall.

Where’s the Magic?

I feel like someone is missing from all these potential matchups. Well, how about the UFC’s #1 ranked Bantamweight Marlon Moraes. I’ve mentioned Moraes a few times, but I haven’t talked about who he’s fighting next. Well, that’s because there’s no fight currently scheduled for him. Moraes, according to Dana White, was going to fight Yan in June, but that fight has been scrapped in favor of the title fight mentioned above. At this point, there’s not anyone for Moraes to fight that wouldn’t be a big step down in competition with most of the top ten already booked. At this point, I guess the UFC will likely pair Moraes up with one of the winners from UFC 250. You honestly have to feel for Moraes who holds wins over Aldo, Sterling, and Assuncao yet seems to be without a dance partner. If I had to take a guess, if Aljamain Sterling wins at UFC 250, he will likely get the next shot at the title. That would mean that the UFC will likely pair Moraes up with either Assuncao for the third time or he will fight former champion Cody Garbandt in his next fight. Of course, that is all speculative at this point.

Stacked Division, Stacked Fights

The UFC’s bantamweight division is incredibly stacked as we’ve laid out in this article. I didn’t even mention guys like Sugar Sean O’Malley, Jimmie Rivera, Urijah Faber, John Dodson, Song Yadong, and Marlon Vera in this article. With no champion, this talented weight class has entered chaos in the best possible way. There are so many fun matchups that are already scheduled and there are so many fun matchups to day-dream about. This division will become a lot more clear over the next six weeks, but until then, let the chaos commence.