Moraes won for the 16th time in 17 appearances and planted his flag
as a potential No. 1 contender in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight division, as he
disposed of Jimmie
Rivera with a first-round head kick and follow-up punches in
UFC Fight Night 131 main event on June 1 in Utica, New York.
Rivera met his end 33 seconds into Round 1, his run of consecutive
victories snapped at 20.
Since debuting in the UFC with a contentious split decision defeat
Assuncao in June 2017, Moraes has gone 3-0, his knockout of
Rivera preceded by wins over John Dodson
Sterling. It puts the 30-year-old former WSOF champion on the
doorstep to a title shot at 135 pounds, as the MMA world awaits the
rematch between T.J.
Dillashaw and Cody
Garbrandt on Aug. 4. For now, Moraes sits tight at No. 5 in the
latest Sherdog.com divisional rankings.
Meanwhile, four-time NCAA All-American wrestler Gregor
Gillespie moved to 12-0 overall and 5-0 inside the Octagon, as
he submitted Vinc Pichel
with an arm-triangle choke in the second round of the UFC Fight
Night “Rivera vs. Moraes” co-headliner. Gillespie has enjoyed a
quick rise to relevance in the lightweight division since joining
the UFC roster in September 2016. Wins over Pichel, Jordan
Holbrook and Glaico
Franca have pushed the Long Island MMA rep onto the contenders
list at 155 pounds.