Brett OkamotoESPN Staff WriterShut
- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for “MMA Reside”
- Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sunlight
The bantamweight headliner is a rematch of a close, a few-round contest from June 2017 and should have main implications on the one hundred thirty five-pound title image. Assuncao won the first conference via break up decision.
This is all the things you have to have to know about Saturday’s UFC Combat Night, courtesy of ESPN’s Cheat Sheet.
Raphael Assuncao (27-five) vs. Marlon Moraes (21-5-one), bantamweight
Odds: Moraes -175 Assuncao +a hundred and fifty five
This one hundred thirty five-pound major celebration appears to be like a No. 1 contender battle. It definitely ought to be a No. one contender combat.
But is it? Will Saturday’s winner really facial area TJ Dillashaw for the bantamweight championship next? Just pay attention to these responses from equally, and you be the judge.
“I consider about that Johnny Money track: You can operate on for a prolonged time, sooner or afterwards God’ll lower you down,'” Moraes explained to ESPN. “I really don’t care if I am heading to combat TJ up coming or not. I can defeat all these guys. One working day, he will have to battle me. I am right here to work and I am going to fight any one soon after this.”
“I have no control in that,” Assuncao mentioned. “I have no say.”
That is all the proof 1 desires to know the UFC’s bantamweight division is a small out of sorts appropriate now. Assuncao has won 11 of his earlier 12. Moraes, 16 of seventeen — and nonetheless, neither is assured he’ll fight for the title following.
Dillashaw (sixteen-4) is coming off a unsuccessful try to go down in weight and capture the flyweight title. He lost to Henry Cejudo in just 32 seconds earlier this month, and there seems to be momentum at the rear of an immediate rematch — this time for Dillashaw’s belt.
That certainly has extra some uncertainty to Saturday’s rematch. The 1st fight involving these two was not particularly entertaining — so, the only purpose to even have a rematch is to shake out the future title contender. On the other hand, it isn’t going to feel as if that’s on the line.
But sometimes in this sport, it really is not about how considerably a gain will elevate you — it truly is about how significantly a decline will drop you. And that is the circumstance listed here. Assuncao and Moraes have been almost fantastic in recent years — and however a title fight has eluded them. Neither can manage a decline this weekend.
How substantially has improved considering the fact that the 1st time they fought? Has just about anything modified?
To me, this struggle appears to be the very same as it did 19 months in the past. The greatest benefit possibly has is Moraes’ pace. He is simply much more rapidly than Assuncao — but Assuncao seemed to get much more relaxed with that as the 1st just one performed out.
If the rematch seems comparable to the authentic — in that it turns into a technological stand-up struggle — it’s difficult to not favor Moraes. He is a lot more of a finisher. He’s deadly from the exterior with kicks, and that speed gain definitely allows him counter Assuncao properly.
The onus to make changes falls on Assuncao, which seems odd taking into consideration he gained the 1st fight. To conquer Moraes once again, having said that, Assuncao might require to back him up much more. Set a greater tempo and get in Moraes’ encounter with that ideal hand. Mix in a takedown or two.
Does a 5-spherical battle advantage a single much more than the other? Not substantially. Moraes has recorded a finish in seventy two percent of his profession wins. Give someone like that an further ten minutes to do the job — towards an opponent who has concluded only fifty two % of his wins — which is a beneficial.
But Assuncao is exceptionally savvy and is aware of how to gain. He’s experienced five break up conclusions in his profession, and gotten 4 of them to go his way. And if he does flip up the speed on Moraes in this rematch, as I imagine he probably should, that could have a cumulative influence late.
Prediction: Assuncao by determination