A short-lived retirement for PFL featherweight (and former UFC bantamweight) Marlon Moraes had him set up for a showdown with Shane Burgos, but an injury to the latter brought in Sheymon Moraes to take on “Magic” on short notice.
Marlon (23-10-1) retired briefly after a four fight losing streak to end his UFC career, but an opportunity to return to PFL (formerly known as World Series of Fighting) where he was a champion proved irresistible for the Brazilian. Fellow former UFC fighter Sheymon (14-6) came into the fight looking to start up another winning streak after his last bout snapped a 3-fight win run. The protégé of the Noguiera brothers looked to notch perhaps the biggest win of his career against a former champion and a big name in Marlon.
Marlon came out and was the aggressor initially, continuing his career trend of being a fast starter, but did not overdo it as he stayed behind his jab. Surprisingly, Marlon threw an overhand as a disguise for a kneepick which he used to take down Sheymon. Marlon is usually known as a kickboxer, but this change in tactics clearly caught Sheymon by surprise.
Marlon Moraes looked to pass to half guard from top position. Eventually Sheymon was able to scoot his butt to the fence and stand up with half a round left to work. Marlon’s left hook was sharp and landed cleanly a few times but Sheymon came back with a rear uppercut. Marlon was clearly the faster fighter, the advantage of moving up from a smaller weight class and the accumulation of strikes began to close the right eye of his opponent. The round ended but that compromised eye would not have made it easy to see the infamous left hook of Marlon Moraes coming.
Sheymon and Marlon Moraes met in the middle and traded in the pocket to start the second round. Sheymon clearly made an effort to be more offensive in this round as he targeted the body of Marlon but the former WSOF champion hit back as well and then landed a double leg takedown early on into full guard. After eating some ground and pound he got back up with ninety seconds left in the round. With a minute left Marlon staggered Sheymon with a jab but Sheymon was not to be deterred and he kept attacking. Marlon tried another takedown late and did not quit when Sheymon stayed on his feet. Rather, Marlon got to the clinch, attempted a trip, and then shucked to the back with a body lock. Marlon grapevined the leg of Sheymon and held him for the remaining twenty or so seconds of the round.
After two rounds it was clear that Marlon Moraes was ahead and on track to breaking his losing streak. However, cardio issues have plagued him for years, especially since his infamous Henry Cejudo fight, so a comeback finish for Sheymon was not out of the question but he would have to fight desperate. Sheymon certainly came out aggressively, throwing big looping hooks. It opened him up for the sharp counter-striking of Marlon, but Sheymon was not deterred and he dropped Marlon with a big combo of a clean left hook and right hand on the temple in the opening minute. As Sheymon went in for the finish, Marlon grabbed a leg, which Sheymon ignored in favor of ground and pound. Marlon tried to wrestle up to his feet but he was clearly not all there as he ate more short shots from Sheymon. As Marlon finally got to his feet Sheymon landed one more big shot and the former champion collapsed to his knees again, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
The comeback victory of Sheymon Moraes was thrilling, but the big narrative in the aftermath would be if Marlon would retire once again, and if such a retirement would stick. He has now lost by finish in five straight fights across two promotions. Although thirty-four does not seem that old, it can be for lighter weight classes where speed is everything and in fight years Marlon is up there having been in wars for over thirty pro fights of a great career.
Official Result: Sheymon Moraes def. Marlon Moraes by TKO, Round 3, 0:58