UFC Utica: Jimmie Rivera Can’t Wait To Get His Hands On Marlon Moraes

Jimmie Rivera UFC Utica
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes are poised to put on an instant classic at UFC Utica — yet another exciting bout in the UFC’s quickly rising bantamweight division.

Is there a more exciting division in all of combat sports than the UFC’s bantamweight division? The short answer is no. The bantamweights have long been the gift that keeps on giving. The 135ers are incapable of having a boring fight, and UFC Utica’s main event will be no different. Jimmie Rivera and ‘Magic’ Marlon Moraes will finally get to settle their score in what has become a grudge match of sorts.

Speaking with Cageside Press last week, ‘El Terror’ Rivera was hyper-focused on Moraes and the job at hand. “Camp was great,” the #4 ranked bantamweight told us.

“I gave that guy more than 10 pounds and he still didn’t take the fight. He wanted to make a scene but couldn’t back it up.”

“I’m looking forward to getting my hands on him, he’s been calling me out non-stop. I said I’d fight him and then he said no on social media. So, for him to finally say yes and for the fight to be a main event, I couldn’t be happier, I’m looking forward to it.”

There has been a lot of back and forth regarding what really happened at the end of 2017 between these two top bantamweights. Did Moraes really want the late notice fight with Rivera? ‘El Terror’ doesn’t think so, “I don’t think he [Moraes] really wanted to fight me then,” Rivera explains.

“He just wanted to be relevant and put his name out there. It’s funny, he said I denied him the fight but in reality, I gave that guy more than 10 pounds and he still didn’t take the fight. He wanted to make a scene but couldn’t back it up.”

Moraes will be forced to back it up this Friday night in the main event of UFC Utica if he plans on having a puncher’s chance against Rivera, who boasts a record of 21-1.

Unofficially, this contest is something of a #1 contenders match, however, nothing has been promised to ‘El Terror’. “They [UFC] never promise anything. This is the fight game,” Rivera said.

“I’m not looking past Marlon, but I should get the next shot at the title. Who is doing what I’m doing?”

If all goes according to plan this Friday night, Rivera will get his hand raised in victory, and if he gets his wish, ‘El Terrors’’ next fight will be for a world championship. Rivera believes T.J. Dillashaw will successfully defend his belt against Cody Garbrandt, and that’s just fine with the Tiger Schulmann-trained Rivera. “I feel I match up favorably with TJ,” said Rivera.

“TJ is a really good fighter, he is a complete fighter,” the bantamweight said, “and I am too. I think TJ and I could put on a hell of a show.”

Perhaps, but first we get Rivera vs. Moraes in the main event of Friday night’s UFC Utica — which has the makings of classic itself.

UFC Utica (UFC Fight Night 131) takes place Friday, June 1 at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York. The card airs free on FOX Sports 1.