Two solid bantamweight prospects coming off the biggest wins of their careers will take each other on this Saturday night (March 23, 2013) as Tyson Nam battles Marlon Moraes on the World Series of Fighting 2 main card in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Nam will be making his debut with the upstart promotion, his first fight since knocking Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas out cold in Brazil last August and suffering through a goofy contract controversy which had him in a tug of war between multiple promotions.
Moraes is also coming off a huge win, defeating former WEC bantamweight champ Miguel Torres in his promotional debut with World Series of Fighting last November, which immediately put him on the radar of the media and fans. He'll be battling for bantamweight supremacy with Nam on Saturday.
Record: 12-4 overall, 0-0 in WSOF
Key Wins: Eduardo Dantas (Shooto Brazil 33)
Key Losses: none
How he got here: Tyson Nam began competing on the local circuit in his native Hawaii, compiling a respectable 8-3 record in a four year stint while training on the islands. He changed things up and headed to America in 2011, initially working at Team Quest before switching over to Sports Lab.
By mid 2011, he had begun to really harness his heavy hands, scoring two straight first minute knockouts in the local Oregon fight circuit. After a third straight win, he signed with Bellator, but never got an opportunity to compete in the tournament so he asked for his release and finally scored an opportunity to fight a very dangerous opponent in Eduardo Dantas.
Nam shocked the world with a brutal first round knockout in Brazil, finishing the Bellator bantamweight champion in just 96 seconds and immediately raising his stock. After a contract dispute with Bellator, he eventually signed with World Series of Fighting to take on the Miguel Torres vs Marlon Moraes winner at the second event and the time has finally come for him to get back in the cage this weekend.
How he gets it done: This one is pretty simple. Nam is at his best when he's forcing his opponents to attack him, giving him an opportunity to counter with authority. Dantas was very aggressive against him and walked right into a counter shot that put him out for good.
For a bantamweight, Nam has insane power and is capable of ending Moraes' night with one heavy shot, or at least setting up the finish. Moraes has a very strong background in striking, so this likely won't be easy but he'll have to try and force the issue with Moraes and then hit him on the way in. If he can pair his power with the physics of his opponent moving forward, this fight can definitely be his.
Record: 9-4 overall, 1-0 in WSOF
Key Wins: Miguel Torres (WSOF I)
Key Losses: Deividas Taurosevicius (Ring of Combat 38)
How he got here: Marlon Moraes began fighting when he was just 19 years old, beginning his career strong with three straight wins but an ill-advised jump in competition to Shooto Brazil handed him two TKO losses in a row to derail his progress.
Moraes followed with a two-year unbeaten stretch but again, a two fight losing streak, both via submission kept him floundering on the local circuit and failing to progress.
Since then, he's looked sharp inside the XFC promotion, knocking out Bellator veteran Jarrod Card in just 47 seconds which earned him a shot at by far the biggest fight of his career against former WEC champion Miguel Torres. He showed up and delivered, hurting Torres early and hanging on late to walk away with a tremendous upset decision victory, by far the most impressive of his career.
How he gets it done: Moraes has a fantastic arsenal of strikes under his belt and throws them in fluid combinations with power. If he can get inside and keep those hands up, he could completely dice through Nam's defenses and put the top prospect out.
Expect to see some major aggression out of Moraes if he wants to continue his solid recent run. Moraes doesn't have a huge gas tank or much of a ground game, but he's powerful, throws very good combinations and has the technique to not only hang with Nam on the feet, but to potentially outpoint him and really hurt him if he gets a good flow rolling. .
Fight X-Factor: The biggest X-Factof for this fight is how both fighters react to finally having some hype behind them. Neither Moraes or Nam were on anyone's radar before they knocked off Dantas and Torres respectively. Now, fans have expectations, there's pressure on both fighters to perform and they won't be catching anyone offguard with their skills. Whoever can step up to the plate will be the fighter who walks away with the victory.
Bottom Line: Both men have a ton of power on the feet and aren't afraid to slug it out. I think what makes this fight more interesting than anything is the fact that out of Nam and Moraes' eight losses, they've been finished six times so they are not afraid to go for it to the point where they can be stopped. This fight is almost certainly going to be a wild knockout, it will just come down to who lands that first big shot.
Who will come out on top at World Series of Fighting II? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!