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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Marlon Moraes after knockout loss at UFC Fight Island 5?

UFC Fight Night: Moraes v Sandhagen Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC Fight Island 5 blew the roof off Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Plenty of fighters were left feeling the post-fight blues, including Makwan Amirkhani, who was dominated by Edson Barboza for 15 minutes (recap). And Impa Kasanganay, who was on the short end of highlight reel knockout courtesy of Joaquin Buckley (see it again here).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the event?

Marlon Moraes.

Coming into his headlining bout against Cory Sandhagen, Moraes was sitting pretty as the No. 1 fighter at 135 pounds and the odds-on favorite to get another shot at the title. In fact, “Magic” was confident that if he pulled out an impressive win over “The Sandman,” he could’ve had the chance to jump Aljamain Sterling for a fight against division king, Petr Yan.

Instead, Moraes found himself on the wrong end of a highlight reel knockout loss to Sandhagen. After a fairly even opening round, Sandhagen blasted “Magic” with a spinning heel kick that clipped him right on the top of the head. The dazed Brazilian dropped to the canvas and ate a couple of follow up shots before referee Marc Goddard stepped in to put an end to the fight.

Naturally, Moraes felt the stoppage was a bit premature, but at the end of the day the damage had already been done.

Now, the former title contender will have to sit back and let Sandhagen possibly get a title shot and head back to the drawing board to get back on track. For Moraes, it wasn’t anything he necessarily did wrong, he simply got caught with a great shot, something he alluded to after the fight.

“I just got caught. I was doing good first round. I was excited for this fight but unfortunately I got caught. I caught a lot of guys before and that was my day,” he said post fight.

“Probably a little early stoppage, but, whatever. The ref just jumped on me, didn’t have enough time to get up. But this is prizefighting. We put on a show. One guy win, one guys loses and today was not my day.”

As far as what could be next for Moraes, I am very much feeling a long-awaited showdown against TJ Dillashaw. The former 135-pound champion is set to return in January after serving a whopping two-year suspension for failing a post-fight drug test. Moraes, meanwhile, wants to return in December but I am confident that if that fight was offered, he’d be willing to push back his return one month.

Dillashaw was last seen losing to Henry Cejudo, so he is also hungry for another win. The two did have a few back-and-forth on social media a few years ago, so I am sure they wouldn’t mind mixing it up inside the world’s toughest proving ground.

Anyone oppose?

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