Two of the very best bantamweights in the world met on friendly soil to determine who most deserves a UFC title shot. Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes ran back their 2017 encounter, in which Assuncao took home a close split-decision. Their fight at UFC 212 served as Moraes’ UFC debut. Since suffering that loss, the former WSOF bantamweight champion has rattled off three consecutive wins against ranked opposition. Moraes’ highlight reel includes mind-blowing back-to-back knockouts of Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera. Assuncao has long been ignored a championship opportunity he rightfully deserves. Assuncao had won 11 of his last 12 and a win over Moraes should’ve earned him a rubber match against reigning UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, but Moraes had other ideas.
The raucous crowd was clearly clamoring for action in line with the rest of the main card. The first two minutes of the fight were primarily a feeling out process with very few strikes landed for either fighter. That was until a heavy shot from Moraes froze Assuncao and a second one knocked him to the ground. Assuncao managed to slow things down on the ground, but Moraes opened up with big elbows from half guard top. Suddenly, Moraes locked in a guillotine choke, turned Assuncao over and forced the tap from mount.
Three back to back finishes against the bantamweight division’s best fighters could very likely secure Moraes a UFC bantamweight title fight should the promotion forego a discussed rematch between Henry Cejudo and T.J. Dillashaw.
Official result: Marlon Moraes def. Raphael Assuncao by submission (guillotine) at 3:17 of round 1.
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