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.

Greg Hardy’s biggest weakness was on full display at UFC Vegas 17

Last weekend at UFC Vegas 17, Greg Hardy (7-3, 1 NC) was looking to pickup his third straight win inside the octagon. Hardy had competed twice in 2020 and won both of his fights against Yorgan De Castro and Maurice Greene.

The order in front of him was to defeat Marcin Tybura (21-6). Tybura was bringing his own winning streak into the octagon having won three-straight UFC fights. The winner was expected to break into the UFC‘s top 15.

In the first round, Greg Hardy looked fantastic. His hands looked extremely crisp and he was busting Tybura up. I was also really impressed with the pace of Greg Hardy. He didn’t seem to be going crazy and he was staying composed.

Hardy was picking his shots and tying together combinations that were landing. However, Tybura wasn’t going away. When the fight went into the second round, there was a massive difference in Greg Hardy.

Hardy did well in the first half of round two, however, he was fading extremely fast. Tybura was able to get Hardy to the ground later in the round and the fight didn’t last long after the fight touched the ground.

Hardy was extremely tired and Tybura started throwing big shots from half guard. There was no fight put up from Hardy and the referee called a stop to the action and Greg Hardy suffered his first loss by stoppage at UFC Vegas 17.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 17?

It’s becoming very clear that cardio is an issue for Greg Hardy. In his UFC fights, we’ve seen that he has very solid technique with his hands. His technique and his overall ability is getting better every single day.

However, the cardio is something that’s not. Hardy is a very big heavyweight who has to cut down to the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds. In his previous UFC fight, he actually missed weight on the first attempt.

Carrying the amount of muscle that he does and going through a weight cut compromises his cardio. Not too mention that Hardy also deals with asthma which of course doesn’t help his cardio. Hardy had a win overturned to a no-contest because he used an inhaler in between rounds.

I’m very impressed with the technical advancements Hardy’s made over the last couple of years. However, to make that next jump, he needs to alter a few things. I really believe that Hardy needs to shed a little muscle and trim down.

He needs to get himself to a weight where he can fight for more than five minutes without appearing exhausted. If he cannot improve his cardio, he’s never going to reach the elite levels in the UFC.

Anthony Pettis announces that he’s leaving the UFC

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 17, Anthony Pettis (24-10) took on Alex Morono (18-7, 1 NC). Pettis made the walk in what was the final fight on his current deal with the UFC. Pettis was betting on himself Saturday night.

The UFC had gone to Pettis with an offer to extend his contract prior to the Donald Cerrone fight early this year. However, Pettis decided to turn down the offer and wait things out. Entering the cage Saturday night, there was still no deal in place.

Pettis was able to pull out the unanimous decision victory at UFC Vegas 17. After the fight was over, Pettis said that he wanted to go back to lightweight and capture a world title. Pettis competed at welterweight on Saturday night.

In the days after UFC Vegas 17, there has been a lot of speculation on what Anthony Pettis would do moving forward. Would he resign with the UFC or would he perhaps move on to Bellator where his brother currently fights.

After days of contemplating, it seems that Showtime has made his decision. After 12 years of competing for the UFC and the WEC, Pettis is moving on. He announced the news on Twitter this evening.

Life after the UFC

Pettis will walk away from the Zuffa banner having held a world title in the WEC and the UFC. While his career has been very up and down since he lost his lightweight championship years ago, he’s still one of the most recognizable athletes in the sport.

For the first time since 2008, Pettis will be competing outside of the Zuffa promotions. So where does Pettis go now that he’s leaving the UFC? There are going to be several suitors for the former world champion.

Clearly the favorite should be Bellator. Bellator is where his brother is signed and they could use more star power in their lightweight division. If I was a betting man, that is where I’d place my money.

However, I wouldn’t put it past PFL or even ONE to make a run at the former UFC champion. I would expect that we will know where Pettis will be going in the next couple of weeks.

UFC Match Maker: TJ Dillashaw – Jose Aldo

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 17, Jose Aldo (29-7) was able to get back in the win column. The former featherweight champion took on Chito Vera (16-7-1) in the co-main event of the evening at UFC Vegas 17.

In the first round of the fight, Aldo looked sensational on the feet. Busting up the legs and the body of Chito Vera. A dominant display of grappling in the third round sealed the fight for Jose Aldo.

After the fight was over, the former UFC featherweight champion called out one man. There is only one fight that seems to interest Aldo at the moment, and that is a matchup with the former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4).

Dillashaw never lost his title inside the octagon. Back in early 2019, Dillashaw dropped down to flyweight to try and capture a second UFC title. Dillashaw lost the fight, however, he also tested positive for EPO and was forced to relinquish his bantamweight title.

He also received a two-year suspension for the positive test. That suspension is up in January and Dillashaw is interested in returning in March. He responded to the UFC callouts this week stating that fighters are calling him out because, “They know that’s my belt.”

UFC: Dillashaw – Aldo

Personally, I think this is the perfect matchup for the UFC to make. Aldo just fought Petr Yan for the title back in July and he’s coming off of a very impressive win over Chito Vera. Aldo is right in the mix at 135 pounds.

Dillashaw needs a really solid opponent for his UFC return. He needs a big name that can reestablish himself near the top of the division if he’s able to pickup the victory. Aldo certainly fits the mold of that kind of opponent.

With the title tied up for at least the first quarter of 2021, I believe the UFC should move to make Aldo – Dillashaw. If Dillashaw wins, he will be the next in line for the title. However, if Aldo wins, he could get another opportunity at UFC gold.

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.

What’s next for Chito Vera after UFC Vegas 17?

This past Saturday in the co-main event of the evening at UFC Vegas 17, Chito Vera (16-7-1) got the biggest fight of his career. Vera got the opportunity to face former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (29-7).

Aldo was coming off of a loss in a title fight against the UFC bantamweight champion, Petr Yan. A win for Vera over Aldo would vault him into title contention. This was a big step up for him in competition.

Chito was coming off of a win over Sean O’Malley that took place at UFC 252. O’Malley was arguably the most hyped prospect in the UFC. However, Chito was able to use effective leg kicks to chop down the Suga Show.

There were a few things that worried me about Chito’s win over O’Malley leading up to UFC Vegas 17. In his win back in August, Chito was really biting on the feints of Sean O’Malley. Every time O’Malley would feint, Vera’s reaction was clear and obvious.

During the first round of their fight, O’Malley was getting the better of it before Vera’s leg kicks debilitated him. Going into a fight against a guy like Aldo, I thought Chito would have a lot of problems if he fought the same.

Unfortunately for Chito, he did in the first round. Aldo dominated the striking in the first round ripping to the body and kicking his legs. Chito did much better in the second round putting pressure on Aldo and stole the round with his pressure.

In the third round, Chito found himself taken down and had Aldo on his back for virtually the entire round. What resulted was a clear victory for the former UFC featherweight champion.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 17?

So the question becomes, what’s next for Chito Vera? I think this was a really good learning experience for Chito at UFC Vegas 17. He learned a lesson in the first and the third round.

In the first round, he was keeping his guard way too high which allowed Aldo to rip to the body and kick his legs. In the third round, his over aggressiveness got himself taken down and he couldn’t get Aldo off of his back.

Those two rounds will get Chito plenty of footage to go back and improve on. So what should the UFC do with Chito? I think a really good fight for Chito could by Cody Stamann (19-3-1).

Stamann is currently 13th in the UFC’s bantamweight division. He’s also coming off of a loss so the fight makes sense from a situation and rankings perspective.

The UFC could always run the fight back with Sean O’Malley. There’s a big portion of the MMA population that wasn’t satisfied with that win for Chito. Perhaps, Chito could put an exclamation point on another fight with the Suga Show.

What’s next for Geoff Neal after UFC Vegas 17 loss?

This past Saturday night at UFC Vegas 17, Geoff Neal (13-3) got his first headlining opportunity against former title challenger, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (16-4-1). It was also Neal’s first UFC fight of 2020.

The rising contender hasn’t had the best of years in 2020. After Neal knocked out Mike Perry last December at UFC 245, the promotion really struggled to get Neal a fight. Nobody in the division wanted to fight him.

Because of the lack of offers coming in, Neal returned to work as a waiter at a steak restaurant in his home town. Finally, the UFC was able to secure Neal a fight against top 15 contender, Neil Magny.

However, Geoff Neal had to pull out of that fight after he dealt with a health scare. Once Neal was finally healthy and could train again, the promotion signed him up to face the former title challenger, Wonderboy Thompson.

Neal has looked sensational since joining the UFC. He had been 5-0 against really good competition with four finishes. Honestly, I thought he was going to be able to beat Thompson and make that next jump into being a title contender.

However, that didn’t happen Saturday night. At UFC Vegas 17, Wonderboy Thompson completely outclassed Geoff Neal. Neal had to deal with a cut over his eye that he suffered due to an accidental headbutt, but even without it, I’m not sure he could’ve won on Saturday.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 17?

Geoff Neal had an incredibly difficult time getting on the inside Saturday night at UFC Vegas 17. Wonderboy did a really good job of catching Neal coming in and as a result, Neal couldn’t string together any meaningful offense.

The final scorecards read as a shutout with all three judges giving Wonderboy all five rounds. It was the first setback in the UFC career for Geoff Neal. So after the loss, what’s next for Handz of Steel?

This was a really tough matchup for the rising contender. Wonderboy is a nightmare to deal with and he proved to be a puzzle that Neal couldn’t solve just yet. However, Neal is still a very exciting contender for the UFC‘s welterweight division.

In looking at the rankings, there are a couple of matchups that could make sense for Neal. One of those being Vicente Luque. Luque was in a very similar spot as Neal was last November.

Luque was the rising contender who lost to Wonderboy. Now, he’s won two-straight to get back on track. Currently he’s ranked tenth in the division. Another option could be the matchup with Neil Magny.

Magny is currently ranked ninth in the UFC‘s welterweight division and that was the fight that was supposed to happen originally. I think the fight still makes sense and could keep Neal relevant in the top ten if he’s able to win.

What’s next for Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson after UFC Vegas 17 win?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 17, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (16-4-1) took on Geoff Neal (13-3). It was the first fight of 2020 for both of these top welterweight contenders.

For the second straight fight, Wonderboy was tasked with taking on a rising UFC welterweight contender. At UFC 244, Thompson took on Vicente Luque (19-7-1). Entering that fight, Luque was riding a six-fight winning streak.

However, Wonderboy stopped all of that momentum last November. With clean counters and advanced speed, Wonderboy was able to turn away Luque. Geoff Neal entered UFC Vegas 17 on a seven-fight winning streak.

Neal had looked like a destroyer and nobody in the UFC‘s welterweight division wanted to fight him. However, Wonderboy Thompson was down for the challenge. The two men fought for 25 minutes on Saturday night.

In the end, Wonderboy completely outclassed the dangerous Geoff Neal. Wonderboy put on a clinic from start to finish. He was able to keep the fight at range the entire time and he picked apart Neal from the outside.

Every time that Neal would try to dart in, Wonderboy wasn’t there. Whenever Wonderboy did stay put, he sat down on his combinations and touched Neal up. An incredible performance from the former title challenger at UFC Vegas 17.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 17?

First and foremost, we need to find out the health status of Stephen Thompson. In his post-fight press conference, Wonderboy said that he might have torn something in his knee at UFC Vegas 17.

Thompson did struggle with his knee in the final round of the fight. However, if that knee checks out and he’s ready to rock, what should be next? Wonderboy made his callout after the fight asking for the rematch with Jorge Masvidal. 

The UFC’s BMF and Wonderboy fought back in 2017 with Thompson picking up the win. Currently, the UFC is targeting a matchup between Masvidal and Colby Covington. However, if that fight doesn’t come together, a Wonderboy fight makes a lot of sense.

Outside of that, another fight that could make sense is the winner of the Leon Edwards – Khamzat Chimaev fight. Although, the winner of that fight will likely get a UFC title shot if Covington – Masvidal hasn’t happened anytime soon.

Unfortunately for Wonderboy, all five of the fighters ahead of him in the division are tentatively booked. I would expect Wonderboy to wait for one of those winners. With a win, he could be in line for another shot at the UFC welterweight strap.

TJ Dillashaw issues a response to UFC callouts

Last night at UFC Vegas 17, there were a couple of key matchups in the bantamweight division. Rob Font defeated Marlon Moraes and Jose Aldo defeated Chito Vera. Both are big wins for those two in the UFC’s bantamweight division.

After the fight was over, both men had something in common during their post-fight interviews. Both Rob Font and Jose Aldo called out former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw, after they won their fights.

In all honesty, both of those matchups would make perfect sense for Dillashaw’s UFC return. Dillashaw’s suspension ends next month and he said he’s looking to fight in March. However, he wanted a title shot upon his return to the division.

Given the current timelines, it’s highly unlikely Dillashaw will get that title shot. That being said, the UFC will likely try to give Dillashaw a high profile fight like Jose Aldo when he returns to the division. Dillashaw issues a response to the callouts last night on Twitter. 

After Aldo called for the fight, Dillashaw said, “I heard everyone is calling me out, cause they all know that’s my belt.” It’s worth noting that Dillashaw never lost the UFC bantamweight title. He relinquished the belt after he tested positive for EPO.

Dillashaw’s UFC Return

The last time we saw Dillashaw in the UFC was when he was finished by Henry Cejudo at flyweight in the first minute of their fight. After the fight, Dillashaw popped for EPO and was suspended for two years.

He never lost his UFC title at 135 pounds which is why he was campaigning for an immediate title shot. However, I think the UFC is going to go with the Dominick Cruz route with Dillashaw.

After Cruz was out for a few years with an injury, the promotion gave him top contender, Takeya Mizugaki. This fight was a way for Cruz to get his feet wet in the octagon. He looked incredible in that return bout.

Dillashaw is not going to get an immediate title shot. However, I think the UFC should really attempt to book him against Jose Aldo. Aldo proved last night he’s still one of the best in the world and he’s got a big name.

A matchup between the two former UFC champions makes all the sense in the world. If Dillashaw comes out and dominates Jose Aldo, he will be right back into a title shot trying to get the belt back that he never lost in the cage.

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson outclasses Geoff Neal at UFC Vegas 17

In the main event of UFC Vegas 17 there was a big time matchup in the welterweight division. Former title challenger, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (15-4-1), took on Geoff “Handz of steel” Neal (13-2).

It’s been a tough 2020 for Geoff Neal, but he was getting a massive opportunity tonight. Getting his first fight of 2020 and his first headlining fight in the UFC. Neal entered the octagon on a seven-fight winning streak.

However, it’s been the finishes that have put Neal on the map. He’s finished six of those seven fights including four of his five fights in the UFC. Neal has looked like a destroyer since stepping into the octagon.

However, he would have his hands full with the UFC‘s Wonderboy. Wonderboy Thompson was also making the walk for the first time in 2020. Thompson picked up a big win over Vicente Luque.

That victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for Wonderboy. Wonderboy is one of the most decorated strikers to have competed in the UFC‘s welterweight division, and he was looking to prove he’s still one of the best in the world tonight.

UFC Vegas 17 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 17 main event got underway with a touch of the gloves. Thompson opened the striking with a high kick that just missed. Neal was bouncing on the outside and got clipped with a left hand and a good leg kick.

Neal was trying to close the distance, but Wonderboy was doing a good job of using his kicks to keep him Neal at distance. Wonderboy then blitzed forward with a couple shots of his own.

Two minutes into the UFC Vegas 17 main event and Neal was trying to cutoff the cage. However, he was really struggling to land anything in the first. Wonderboy landed a really nice spinning back kick to the body with two minutes left in the round.

Neal finally landed a couple of clean shots with 90 seconds left in the round. However, Thompson took the shots well and went right back to work with his kicks. Just before the round ended a clash of heads caused a small cut for both. Good first round for Wonderboy.

Round 2

The UFC Vegas 17 main event’s second round opened with pressure from Geoff Neal. Wonderboy started working the jab the keep Neal at range. Neal was appearing a little frustrated early on in the second round.

One minute into the round and Neal pushed Wonderboy against the fence. Wonderboy was able to push Neal away and get the fight back to range. Every time Neal was coming in during the second round he was getting clipped by Wonderboy.

A solid 1-2 from Wonderboy landed as Neal tried to push forward again. Geoff Neal just couldn’t get anything going against Wonderboy in the first couple of rounds. Every time he’d cut off the cage, Wonderboy would pop him and move.

Two minutes left in the round and Wonderboy continued scoring with straight shots. Neal was really starting to get bothered by the cut over his eye. In the final minute, Wonderboy continued to pick Neal apart. 2-0 after two at UFC Vegas 17 for Wonderboy.

Round 3

The UFC Vegas 17 main event’s third round opened with side kicks from Wonderboy. Again, every time Neal started moving forward, he was met with a couple of clean shots from Wonderboy Thompson.

Neal was able to work Wonderboy against the fence 90 seconds into the round and he landed a couple of clean shots. However, nothing seemed to do serious damage to Wonderboy. Wonderboy broke Neal’s clinch about halfway through the round.

Once the two were at distance, Wonderboy went right back to work with his jab. Neal started pushing forward more aggressively and he was doing a better job at landing here in the third round.

Two minutes left in the round and Wonderboy started popping Neal with straight shots again. Neal then started working his jab which was finding a home in the third. A minute left in the round and Neal worked the clinch again against the fence.

Wonderboy was able to break away with 40 seconds left. Once they did, Wonderboy got extremely active with his combinations. A big headkick followed by a couple of clean combinations with his hands. Better third round for Neal but this one is 3-0 for Wonderboy at UFC Vegas 17.

Round 4

Heading into the fourth round in the UFC Vegas 17 main event and I had Neal losing big, but he still seemed fresh. The fourth opened with another clean combination from Wonderboy Thompson.

A solid straight right for Wonderboy lands as Neal tried to close the distance. 90 seconds into the round and Neal engages the clinch after getting clipped a few times by Wonderboy.

Wonderboy broke the clinch pretty quickly and popped Neal with a couple of straight shots. Wonderboy was doing a fantastic job of splitting the guard and hitting Neal clean with shots up the middle as the round continued.

Two minutes left in the round and Neal was looking incredibly frustrated. Neal continued to push forward, but nothing was landing and he was continuing to get caught coming in. Neal landed a bit in the final minute but another clear round for Wonderboy at UFC Vegas 17.

Round 5

Heading into the final round of the UFC Vegas 17 main event and Neal needed a finish in this one. Both men embraced as the final round began. Wonderboy appeared to have an injured leg as the round started.

Neal closed the gap and started throwing bombs, however, Wonderboy countered with bombs of his own. One minute into the round and Wonderboy’s leg was starting to really bother him.

Neal was closing in, but couldn’t land on Wonderboy. Wonderboy started pressing forward throwing big shots of his own. Both of these men were trading big shots in the final round.

Halfway through the round and Wonderboy was racking up the points. Neal through a big overhand land that just missed Wonderboy’s chin. Wonderboy then countered with a big combination of his own.

The two men clinched against the fence with two minutes left. A minute left in the round and the two men separated. Neal was pushing forward looking for something big, but he kept getting clipped by Wonderboy.

Neal landed a couple of clean shots and Wonderboy countered with big shots of his own. Wonderboy then threw big combinations and both men exchanged massive shots as the bell sounded. Should be a shutout and a big UFC win for Wonderboy.

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson def. Geoff Neal by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)