Streaking contenders Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes are currently jockeying for respective title shots in the UFC’s busy bantamweight division.
Luckily for the two Brazilians, they’ll have their shot to stand out among the pack when they collide in a main event rematch at UFC on ESPN+ 2 on Feb. 2 from Fortaleza, Brazil. Remember, Assuncao spoiled Moraes’ Octagon debut via split decision back at UFC 212.
For the rematch, the winner will get the chance to challenge UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, who is currently preparing for a flyweight showdown with Henry Cejudo later this month. That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who mentioned the Assuncao vs. Moraes matchup at the UFC 232 post-fight press conference last weekend (video replay here).
“Obviously the Assuncao fight is [for a title shot],” White said. “That’s a No. 1 contender fight.”
Assuncao, 36, remains one of the most overlooked contenders at 135 pounds today. The veteran holds an outstanding 11-2 record since his UFC debut back in 2011, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump for his first title shot. Assuncao already holds a split decision win over Dillashaw, as well as a unanimous decision loss in the rematch, so a trilogy fight for the bantamweight belt would be quite the selling point.
Moraes, 30, has been on a tear after losing to Assuncao back in 2017. The Brazilian striker has won three straight, including back-to-back finishes over Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling in a total of just 100 seconds. “Magic” has finally seemed to settle in and is looking like the 135-pound wrecking ball that he was with World Series of Fighting (WSOF) from 2012-2016. He doesn’t have the same history will Dillashaw that Assuncao does, but Moraes poses all new threats for the bantamweight champion.
Only time will tell if Moraes is able to get his revenge and end Assuncao’s four-fight win streak.