Marlon Moraes is ready for his UFC title shot.
On Saturday night in Brazil, the former World Series of Fighting champion simultaneously avenged his only loss in the UFC while also wrapping up his third straight first round finish to submit Raphael Assuncao in the main event at UFC Fight Night from Fortaleza.
As much as Moraes wanted to compete for the championship rather than take another fight against a top contender, the chance to face Assuncao again in a main event was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Moraes fell to Assuncao by split decision in his first appearance inside the Octagon back in 2017 but the rematch was anything but close.
Almost immediately after the first round started, Moraes quickly established his striking range and started to back off Assuncao with his powerful combinations.
Assuncao didn’t appear to back down from those exchanges but it was a much different scenario from the first fight where Moraes seemed to have more nerves than he did in the rematch.
This time around, Moraes was much looser with his strikes and that showed through when he cracked Assuncao with a perfectly timed right hand that staggered the veteran bantamweight contender.
Moraes followed that with another right hand that landed just behind the ear and put Assuncao down on the ground. Moraes quickly followed him to the mat but it appeared Assuncao had regained his composure as he locked on his guard while getting his senses back from the punches he just ate.
Unfortunately for him, Moraes wasn’t going to give him a second to breathe much less time to recover. Moraes shredded Assuncao’s defense and then locked on a guillotine choke looking to get the finish.
Moraes ended up on top after Assuncao struggled to break free but he couldn’t get loose of the submission and he was forced to tap out with the end coming at 3:17 in the opening round.
Following his fourth straight win, Moraes revealed that he nearly had to pull out of the main event on Saturday night due to an illness he contracted after returning home to Brazil this past week. Thankfully, Moraes was able to push through and get the job done and now it’s clear there’s only one thing left for him and that’s a shot at the bantamweight title.
“I’m the best in the division and you know what I deserve,” Moraes said to the Brazilian faithful.
Before leaving, Moraes sent a message to current champ TJ Dillashaw, who just suffered a 32-second TKO loss of his own after attempting to move down to flyweight for a chance to win a second world title while facing Henry Cejudo.
“Hey TJ, I don’t know if you deserve to fight with me after our last performance,” Moraes said. “I’m sorry. I may have to take somebody else and let you go down and hunt for the little boys.”
A strong statement from Moraes while taking a shot at Dillashaw following his stunning loss just a couple of weeks ago.
Right now it’s tough to imagine a scenario where Moraes doesn’t get a title shot considering the win streak he’s put together lately but with Dillashaw losing to Cejudo, there’s just no telling what will come next in the bantamweight title picture in 2019.