Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight contenders Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes squared off for a second time last night (Sun., Feb. 2, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 144 on ESPN+ (watch here!) inside Northeast Olympic Training Center in Fortaleza, Brazil.
In the less than two years since their first, closely contested match, both men have done nothing but confirm their status as amazing Bantamweights. Assuncao picked up another pair of clear-cut victories, showcasing the advantage of experience against talented younger men. Meanwhile, Moraes picked up a trio of wins, most vitally a pair of high kick knockouts that took about a minute total. Both men entered with strong arguments for a title shot already, but this bout was all about securing that shot.
Assuncao took the center of the cage to start the fight, but Moraes began chopping into the leg early as he circled. His jab was more active as well, and it seemed like Assuncao was having a difficult time landing his punches early on. Then, Moraes dropped a pair of heavy overhands directly into the jaw, sending Assuncao falling back to the mat.
Moraes jumped on him. From top position, Moraes advanced into half guard and landed some hard elbows. His foe seemed to recover though and looked to use the fence to wall-walk, but that proved to be a fatal mistake. As Assuncao moved to stand, Moraes latched onto his neck with a guillotine and jumped guard.
Assuncao tried to save himself, fighting to jump around the guard as Moraes fell back. Instead, Moraes used that momentum to roll himself into mount, leaving his opponent no option but to submit. Judging solely from Moraes’ massive arm muscles, that was a seriously tight choke.
For the third straight time, Moraes walked into the cage with an elite opponent and dusted him effortlessly. Even before the knockdown that eventually ended the fight, Moraes was performing wonderfully. He was moving well, boxing smartly, and already had created a patch of bruising on Assuncao’s lead leg just a couple minutes in. Outside of a nice oblique kick, did Assuncao land anything significant?
Beyond the clean technical work of Moraes, his finishing instinct was admirably. His first overhand stunned Assuncao, so he immediately reloaded and threw another. In pursuit of the finish, Moraes never grew overeager or frustrated when Assuncao briefly tied him up on the mat. Instead, he advanced into a position where he could land well, unleashed some offense, then capitalized with the choke.
It was yet another incredible performance from “Magic” Moraes, who absolutely deserves the next title shot.
It’s also an unfortunate result for Assuncao, who sees his potential title shot vanish beyond the wall of tough contenders he’ll have to defeat to regain this status. It will be a tough road back to title contention for Assuncao, who’s already not one to receive favorable UFC matchmaking.
Last night, Marlon Moraes dominated his opponent in another amazing victory. What’s next for “Magic?”
For complete UFC Fight Night 144 “Assuncao vs. Moraes 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!