Rising UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes will step in on three weeks notice to fight Aljamain Sterling at UFC Fight Night 123 on Dec. 9 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, per a bout confirmation by MMA Fighting.
Sterling was originally expected to fight Brazilian veteran Rani Yahya, but Yahya was forced to withdraw from the fight due to injury.
Moraes, 29, is making up for lost time after losing his Octagon debut to veteran Raphael Assuncao back at UFC 212. The former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) champion regained some momentum with a recent split-decision win over former UFC flyweight title challenger John Dodson at UFC Fight Night 120, but a victory over “Funk Master” will push him near the top of the 135-pound division.
Sterling, 28, has been consistently inching closer towards the upper echelon of UFC bantamweight contenders, but always seems to slip up when he’s about to break through. Sterling is coming off one of his best Octagon performances to date — a unanimous decision win over former UFC bantamweight king Renan Barao back at UFC 214 — so it will be interesting to see how “Funk Master” fares against another former world champion.
UFC Fight Night 123 will be headlined by a featherweight showdown between perennial contender Cub Swanson and undefeated prospect Brian Ortega.
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