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Marlon Moraes believes UFC Fight Island 5 performance will ‘determine what happens with my career’

UFC Fight Night Assuncao v Moraes 2: Ultimate Media Day Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Marlon Moraes is going to do everything in his power to defeat Cory Sandhagen this weekend at UFC Fight Island 5, but “Magic” doesn’t exactly know where a win leaves him in the hunt for another UFC bantamweight title shot.

Moraes, who lost his lone UFC title bid to Henry Cejudo at UFC 238 over one year ago, is trying to claw his way back into contention heading into 2021. “Magic” was able to return to the win column with a split decision over Jose Aldo in his last outing, but it was Aldo who got the nod to fight Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight title this past July.

With Yan expected to defend his title against Aljamain Sterling later this year the rest of the bantamweight contenders are left to jockey for position entering next year. Moraes doesn’t exactly know where he slots into the mix so he’s taking it one fight at a time.

“You can’t know for sure.” Moraes told MMA Fighting. “I just want to go there, win and convince. [The] future belongs to the UFC, [and] what I want is to go there and leave my mark.

“I’m up there, I’m in the mix. I’ll fight, and everything depends on your last performance. I’ll have an opportunity and I’m the one that makes the call, the way I fight and my performance next Saturday [will determine] what happens with my career.”

Moraes, who made his UFC debut just over three years ago, has been one of the most productive bantamweight fighters in recent memory. With a 5-2 record inside of the Octagon — including finishes over the likes of Sterling, Raphael Assuncao, and Jimmie Rivera — “Magic” is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous names at 135 pounds. His track record under the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) banner prior to his UFC crossover supports that claim even further.

“I fight since I was little, and now I’m fighting in the world’s biggest promotion, so that’s my biggest motivation,” Moraes said. “Having the opportunity to fight against one of the best fighters in Cory, I’m also thankful for the opportunity of fighting on Fight Island. There are other reasons that motivate me other than the belt and not getting the Petr Yan fight… That’s in the future.

“I think about that, but now I think about the opportunity of fighting Cory, one of the best of the division, and showing everyone I’m one of the best of the division.”

As for his fight with Sandhagen, Moraes believes he has “Sandman” beat in every possible category. While Sandhagen has shown great grappling skills, tremendous recovering ability, and sound striking on the feet, Moraes thinks he’s on another level than Sandhagen, especially after seeing “Funk Master” choke him out.

“This is a MMA fight and it can end anywhere,” said Moraes. “I’m ready to fight him everywhere. We know there was this opening there and it might happen again. I’m ready to grapple or strike with him.”

UFC Fight Island 5 will go down later tonight (Sat., Oct. 10, 2020) live on ESPN+ from inside Flash Forum on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., with Moraes vs. Sandhagen serving as the main event. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 5 fight card right HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance at 8 p.m. ET (also on ESPN+).

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Island 5: “Moraes vs. Sandhagen” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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