It looks like we have quite the epic bantamweight main event coming later this year between a pair of former multiple-time kickboxing champions, as the No. 1 ranked UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes takes on the No. 4 ranked Cory Sandhagen in a five-round main event this October.
Combate initially broke the news earlier today, and it will go down at UFC Fight Night 181, October 10. These two have both been nothing but astounding in their MMA and UFC careers. Moraes almost claimed bantamweight gold just over a year ago but fell short to Henry Cejudo after having one of the most dominant first rounds in the sport’s history.
Sandhagen had a No. 1 contender fight with Aljamain Sterling two months ago in June at UFC 250, a fight he lost in round one via submission (rear naked choke).
Dana White made it clear he didn’t know who was next in line for a shot at the UFC Bantamweight Championship, when everyone knows it’s Sterling, he’s the only guy that makes real sense.
Now that Moraes is booked, it looks like we may get to see Petr Yan fight Sterling next as well. There was some back-and-forth about that, considering Moraes KO’d Sterling in just 67 seconds in their fight back in December of 2017. However, he’s gone 5-0 since, while Moraes has gone 3-1 since, having already had a title shot, and having won a very controversial decision in one of those victories.
The 32-year-old, 23-6-1 Moraes has done just about everything you can do inside of an MMA career, aside from win UFC gold. He won the WSOF Bantamweight Championship and defended it five times, a promotional record. It should be six defenses really, but his opponent for his first title defense missed weight, thus making in a non-title fight.
He’s gone 5-2 in the UFC with wins over John Dodson (split decision), Aljamain Sterling (KO), Jimmie Rivera (KO), Raphael Assuncao (guillotine choke), and Jose Aldo (split decision).
The 28-year-old, 12-2 Sandhagen has gone 5-1 inside the octagon with wins over Austin Arnett (TKO), Iuri Alcantara (TKO), Mario Bautista (armbar), John Lineker (split decision), and Raphael Assuncao (unanimous decision). As you see, their UFC records are pretty similar. Take Moraes’ UFC debut out of the equation, and they’re identical, he did avenge that loss to Assuncao.
One thing to point out about this match up, being a main event, Moraes has gone five rounds just two times in his mixed martial arts career, while Sandhagen has yet to see a five round fight. With that being said, we haven’t really seen Sandhagen tire, and we certainly have seen Moraes tired.
What do you think of this insanely entertaining five round bantamweight main event between Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen?