The 125 lb UFC Flyweight division was in need of a lift and Champion Henry Cejudo provided it at UFC Fight Night 143 with a first round knockout win over Bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw.
This weekend, UFC is about to embark on a run of nine events in nine weeks, starting off with a Fight Night event in Fortaleza, Brazil. The main event will feature a rematch between Bantamweight contenders Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes while the former UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo will meet contender Renato Moicano in co-main event.
Bantamweight Bout – Raphael Assuncao vs Marlon Moraes
Brazil’s two best bantamweights headline UFC Fight Night 144. The two top-five ranked contenders first met in 2017 at UFC 212 in what was Marlon Moraes’ UFC debut. On that night, Assuncao edged him out to earn a split decision victory.
Raphael Assuncao –
Raphael Assuncao has consistently been one of the best bantamweights in the sport with a 11-1 record since moving to 135 pounds. Assuncao has been impressive since his loss to T.J. Dillashaw and has only lost two fights in the last eight years. Since last facing Moraes, Assuncao has seemed to have gotten a bit more aggressive, destroying Matthew Lopez to register his first KO finish in years and dominating Rob Font at UFC 226. Assuncao’s signature right-hand counters are the most effective and with an average of 3.38 significant strikes per minute he can knock out an opponent in an instance.
This will be Assuncao’s fifth career fight in Brazil, his birthplace.
Marlon Moraes –
Revenge would be Magic
Marlon Magic Moraes was shocked following the loss at the hands of Assuncao two years back. However, he now has the chance to right the wrongs and get his revenge by grabbing a win this weekend. Since his last fight against Assuncao, Moraes has rounded things off by smashing Jimmie Rivera in a devastating first round in New York last June and also has registered a knockout win against Aljamain Sterling. With raw knockout power and as dangerous with his legs as anybody in the sport, Moraes has put together back-to-back knockout victories averaging 3.25 significant strikes per minute and is looking as good as anybody in the bantamweight division over the past year
The winner of this bout is likely to serve as a number one contender to fight for the Bantamweight title. With a potential shot for the title on the line, the stakes are high for this bout as both men look to impress fans in their home country of Brazil.
Featherweight Bout – Jose Aldo vs Renato Moicano
Jose Aldo –
Arguably the greatest featherweight champion of all-time, Jose Aldo got back on track in his last fight with a jaw-dropping knockout victory against Jeremy Stephens. The win snapped a two-fight losing streak after back-to-back losses against current featherweight champion Max Holloway. Aldo holds a record of 27-4 and is the second-ranked UFC Featherweight contender. He’s got 16 knockouts and a single submission. Now the Brazilian legend will fight at home against a dangerous fellow countryman in Renato Moicano.
Renato Moicano –
Renato Moicano has quickly risen up the ranks at 145 pounds with a 5-1 record through his first six UFC fights. Moicano’s only loss came against recent world title challenger Brian Ortega but was quick to rise up by dispatching veteran featherweight Cub Swanson with a first-round submission at UFC 227. Leading to UFC Fight Night 144, Renato Moicano believes “Jose Aldo is a true legend. After I get this win, for sure people will know me better.” Currently ranked at No. 5, Moicano will definitely have a case to be made for a shot at the title with a win over the former champion
UFC Fight Night 145 is worth setting your alarm for as Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes settle an old score at Bantamweight in a long-awaited rematch while the winner between Jose Aldo and Renato Moicano at Featherweight will punch his way through to a shot at champion Max Holloway.
You can catch these fights in India Live and Exclusive on SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD channels on February 3, 2019 at 6.30 am (IST).