Marlon Moraes put on an impressive performance at UFC Fortaleza, getting his revenge on Raphael Assuncao within a round.
While the promotion has never come out and explicitly said it, nearly everyone was expecting Assuncao vs. Moraes 2 at UFC Fortaleza on Saturday to be a title eliminator. The pair had met once before, when former WSOF champ Marlon Moraes was new to the UFC. He faltered then, but has not since. Assuncao, meanwhile, was 1-1 in his career series with bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw. And trilogy fights, well, fans love them.
It was Moraes getting the action going with a kick on Saturday, as the main event of UFC Fortaleza opened up. A lot on the line, even without guarantees. Without the guarantees, perhaps even more so. A good performance, a big finish, and the winner was all the more likely to earn that much-desired title shot.
— UFC (@ufc) February 3, 2019
That winner would not take long to arise. With the fight still early in the opening round, a couple of right hands by Moraes dropped Assuncao. Moraes followed him down, locking in a mounted guillotined, and squeezing the choke tight. Assuncao had no choice but to tap, giving Moraes his fourth straight win and third straight finish.
After the fight, Moraes revealed he’d been sick all week — diarrhea — which had put the main event in jeopardy. Turning his attention to 135lb champ T.J. Dillashaw, Moraes added “I might have to take someone else and let you go down and hunt for the little boys,” in reference to Dillashaw’s failed bid to claim the flyweight championship earlier this month.
Where the promotion goes from here should be interesting. While flyweight champ Henry Cejudo expressed interest in challenging Dillashaw for the bantamweight belt, there seems to be some life left in the 125lb division for the time being. Moraes certainly made a strong case for the fight on Saturday in Fortaleza, but time will tell whether he gets the opportunity to win a belt in a second promotion.
Marlon Moraes def. Raphael Assuncao by submission (guillotine choke), Round 1, 3:17