LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight title challenger, Marlon Moraes, is motivated once more.
While his Professional Fighters League (PFL) debut did not go to plan back in Nov. 2022, Moraes gets a do-over at PFL 1 2023 tonight (Sat., April 1, 2023) against 2022 PFL Featherweight champion, Brandon Loughnane. The 145-pound showdown will headline the ESPN/ESPN+-streamed event, which is set to go down inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada, kicking off PFL’s 2023 campaign in which the fighters hope to score $1 million at the conclusion of the season.
At PFL 1 media day, Moraes opened up about his UFC departure, which happened shortly after he suffered a knockout loss to Song Yadong (watch it), a demoralizing loss that actually compelled him to retire from the sport.
“I was a little tired of the UFC, you know, the atmosphere, the way I was being treated,” Moraes revealed to MMAmania.com. “I kind of got tired, and you know, you need motivation. I’ve done a lot for the sport, but I don’t need it. I’m here. Of course, I want to win $1 million. But, I want the belt. I want to be the champion. I’m not here for the money. I’m here for the belt.”
There was a time in the not-too-distant past that Moraes — a former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 135-pound champion — was the No. 1-ranked Bantamweight in the world and just one victory away from capturing that elusive UFC world title.
But, then came a technical knockout loss to Henry Cejudo at the UFC 238 (watch highlights) and “Magic” was seemingly never the same.
The Brazilian standout gets the opportunity to start changing that narrative later this evening in “Sin City.”
“It was a blend of things, you know, I mean, I don’t regret anything,” Moraes continued. “All of the decisions were made by me. But, you could be treated better, you know, not just with the matchups, but I’m thankful for everything that I’ve done with the UFC. I’m thankful for everything, but now I’m a PFL fighter. You know, I have a home, here is my home. And that’s what I’m going to fight for.”
Moraes vs. Loughnane will stream live on ESPN/ESPN+ as PFL’s 1 2023 main event, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. In the co-headliner, former UFC Light Heavyweight title challenger, Thiago Santos, locks horns with Rob Wilkinson in a 205-pound showdown.
For more PFL 1 2023 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive archive right here.