You could not imagine it whereas watching a very brutal battle, however MMA is a fairly forgiving sport.
Virtually 16 months in the past, Marlon Moraes was crushed by Henry Cejudo to turn out to be the UFC males’s bantamweight champion. Moraes later suffered a unique form of outrage when he defeated Jose Aldo in December, however then noticed Aldo, not him, being booked towards Petr Yan in a July battle for the then vacant £ 135 title.
Cory Sandhagen is an much more recent reminder of how shortly issues can collapse. His # 1 showdown with Aljamain Sterling in June had barely began earlier than Sandhagen was caught in a stranglehold. In the long run, he noticed that his massive probability was gone in lower than a minute and a half.
However right here come once more Moraes and Sandhagen, proper again within the highlight. They are going to meet on Saturday night on the foremost UFC Battle Night time occasion in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The night of punches can be broadcast by “Battle Island” on ESPN + (8:00 pm ET foremost card, preliminary spherical at 5:00 pm). The winner can be promoted again into the title combine at £ 135.
It is good to see that these two did not slip off the rails as a result of each of them had in any other case sturdy runs.
Moraes (23-6-1, 5-2 within the UFC) had 4 wins earlier than succumbing to Cejudo. His three outcomes over the interval included a 2017 knockout towards Sterling, who’s now the alleged #1. 1 contender. Might a robust efficiency on Saturday allow the 32-year-old former WSOF defending champion from Brazil to skip his approach right into a championship problem?
Sandhagen (12-2, 5-1 UFC), who’s 28 years outdated and fights from Aurora, Colorado, had gained seven straight wins earlier than dropping to Sterling. He most likely takes a couple of win this weekend to get a shot at gold, however his caged date with Moraes can positive function a stable constructing block. Future ramifications apart, Sandhagen does not take his first alternative for a significant UFC occasion without any consideration.
“Once I signed that [event] Poster was once, and I signed alone face, “he instructed ESPN’s Ariel Helwani this week,” that was a extremely cool second. “
This battle additionally guarantees to supply many cool moments to the followers. Moraes, the No. 2 within the ESPN men’s bantamweight ranking, has 10 KOs and 6 submissions in his profession, and the KOs all the time come early. The one one who did not go on the primary lap solely bought 38 seconds into the second.
Sixth positioned Sandhagen achieved placements in his first three UFC fights. At 5-foot-11, tall for a bantamweight, he has an enormous vary benefit, and between that and his skillful footwork, Sandhagen has proven his talent at hitting with out getting hit. Let’s examine how he fares towards Moraes’ energy out of the gate.
After which let’s have a look at what the UFC does with the winner.
By the numbers
6.49: Beats landed per minute within the UFC von Sandhagen, the most effective common amongst lively bantam weights.
0.93: Knockdowns per minute within the UFC by Moraes, the third highest price amongst lively 135 pounders with at the very least 5 fights, behind solely ex-champion Cody Garbrandt (1.58) and present champion Petr Yan (1.3).
8:12: Common UFC battle time for Sandhagen, the fifth shortest amongst lively bantamweights.
5: Victories for Moraes since his UFC debut in 2017, making him the fourth most within the division with Pedro Munhoz throughout that interval. Yan and Marlon Vera lead with seven wins, yet another than Aljamain Sterling.
23: Mixed placements of the 2 fighters of the primary occasion. Moraes has 10 wins by knockout and 6 by help. Sandhagen has 4 KOs and three submarines.
Sources: ESPN Stats & Data Analysis and UFC Stats
5 towards 5
The newest outcomes from Marlon Moraes
Prize: José Aldo (SD, December 14, 2019; see ESPN +)
Loss: Henry Cejudo (TKO3, June 8, 2019; see ESPN +)
Prize: Raphael Assunção (SUB1, February 2, 2019; see ESPN +)
Victory: Jimmie Rivera (KO1, June 1, 2018)
Prize: Aljamain Sterling (KO1, December 9, 2017)
The newest outcomes from Cory Sandhagen
Loss: Aljamain Sterling (SUB1, June 6, 2020; see ESPN +)
Prize: Raphael Assunção (UD, August 17, 2019; see ESPN +)
Win: John Lineker (SD, April 27, 2019; see ESPN +)
Prize: Mario Bautista (SUB1, January 19, 2019; see ESPN +)
Prize: Iuri Alcântara (TKO2, August 25, 2018)
And the winner is …
I used to be able to predict a shock, however then I appeared on the odds. Sandhagen is definitely the favourite, which surprises me as he was shortly completed in his final battle by Sterling, which Moraes had beforehand knocked out. I’m addressing Sterling right here as a result of I imagine he can be instrumental within the final result of this battle. Sandhagen bought out of the sterling battle and noticed the hazard of a gradual begin. He has made up his thoughts to not enable this to occur once more. That is key towards Moraes, a fast starter who has been recognized to decelerate as a battle progresses. And questionable cardio is not signal for a five-rounder towards Sandhagen, who trains a mile above sea stage and – if he can avoid early power – ought to be good for 25 minutes. Sandhagen by determination.
Battle card from Saturday
ESPN +, Eight p.m. ET
Marlon Moraes versus Cory Sandhagen | Males bantamweight
Edson Barboza versus Makwan Amirkhani | Males’s featherweight
Ben Rothwell versus Marcin Tybura | Heavyweight
Markus Perez versus Dricus Du Plessis | medium weight
Tom Aspinall versus Alan Baudot | Heavyweight
Youssef Zalal versus llia Topuria | Males’s featherweight
ESPN +, 5 p.m. ET
Tom Breese versus KB Bhullar | medium weight
Chris Daukaus versus Rodrigo Nascimento | Heavyweight
Impa Kasanganay versus Joaquin Buckley | medium weight
Ali AlQaisi versus Tony Kelley | Males bantamweight
Giga Chikadze versus Omar Morales | Males’s featherweight
Tracy Cortez versus Stephanie Egger | Ladies bantamweight
Bruno Silva versus Tagir Ulanbekov | Flyweight of the lads
Tips on how to watch the fights
Watch the combating on ESPN +. If you do not have ESPN +, Get it here.
There may be additionally FightCenter, Right here you could find stay updates for each UFC card.
5 Extra Issues to Know (from ESPN Stats & Data)
1. Edson Barboza will compete towards featherweight Makwan Amirkhani in a co-main occasion for the eighth time in his UFC profession.
2. Ben Rothwell can be within the 51st battle of his skilled MMA profession when he takes on Marcin Tybura within the heavyweight division. Among the many UFC heavyweights, solely Aleksei Oleinik (64) and Alistair Overeem (56) have extra skilled fights than “Massive Ben”.
3. South African middleweight Dricus Du Plessis will make his UFC debut with Markus Perez. Du Plessis, a former KSW middleweight champion, has by no means decided in his 16-man MMA profession.
4th Eight fighters on the map will compete on Saturday night time after successful three UFC bouts this 12 months. Youssef Zalal, 3-Zero in 2020, will open the primary card in a featherweight bout towards Ilia Topuria who will make his UFC cost. Zalal will look to turn out to be the primary UFC fighter to attain 4 wins this 12 months.
5. Topuria is 8-Zero in his MMA profession, making him one in every of 5 fighters on the map to begin the night time with an unbeaten file. Middleweight KB Bhullar (8-0) will make his debut as a 2-to-1 underdog towards veteran Tom Breese. Rodrigo Nascimento will set his 8-Zero file towards heavyweight Chris Daukaus on the road. Middleweight Impa Kasanganay (8-0) will make his second UFC look towards Joaquin Buckley. And featherweight Omar Morales is predicted to face Giga Chikadze 11-0.