One-time UFC bantamweight title challenger, ‘Magic’ Marlon Moraes may have been overlooked in the last, and next title pairing, however – he’s issued a challenge to most recent championship titler, former two-time gold holder, Dominick Cruz.
Moraes has established a 5-2 record in the UFC since his transition from WSOF back in 2017 – avenging a debut loss to Raphael Assunção before his title challenge defeat to the recently retired, Henry Cejudo. Welcoming compatriot, former featherweight best, José Aldo to bantamweight last December, the 32-year-old managed to take a close split decision – but was denied a rematch with Cejudo, due to the close nature of the judging – as Aldo was drafted instead in controversial matchmaking.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Aldo was unable to receive a valid VISA to travel to the United States for his meeting with Cejudo. Making his first Octagon walk since losing the title to Cody Garbrandt back at UFC 207 in December of 2016 – Cruz replaced Aldo, losing via a late second-round knockout to Cejudo.
Originally set to meet with Moraes at a UFC Fight Night Kazakhstan event on June 13th. – streaking challenger, Petr Yan has been removed from the pairing and is expected to meet with the aforementioned Aldo sometime in July, with vacant spoils up for grabs.
This leaves Moraes further out in the bantamweight division cold – as fellow top contenders, Aljamain Sterling and Cory Sandhagen prepare to throw-down next Saturday night at UFC 250 at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Brazilian does have a matchup in mind, however.
“Hey @DominickCruz call @seanshelby and let’s fight! Pick a day and let’s go“.
— Marlon Moraes (@MMARLONMORAES) May 31, 2020
In his initial rise to top-contender status, recent American Top Team mover, Moraes displayed some phenomenal Muay Thai prowess and his slick offensive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. The Nova Friburgo born all-rounded recovered from the above-noted loss to Assunção – taking a close split decision over two-time flyweight title chaser, John Dodson.
In a then prospect versus prospect clash, Moraes finished Sterling with a brutal knee after a stand-up. Making his first walk at headliner, Moraes met Jimmie Rivera, scoring another devastating high-kick finish early. Returning home to meet with Assunção in the main event of UFC Fight Night Fortaleza last February – Moraes avenged the decision loss with a first-round guillotine win.