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Marlon Moraes was a highly-touted bantamweight prospect when Raphael Assuncao denied him a successful Octagon debut at UFC 212. The former World Series of Fighting bantamweight king was on a 13-fight winning streak before dropping a split decision that many fans didn’t agree with.
At UFC Fight Night 144, “Magic” will aim for a decisive victory in a rematch with title implications. The two top contenders will collide at Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Feb. 2. As Moraes prepares to inch closer to a title shot, here are some numbers that have defined his career.
7: Years-old when he started training in Thai boxing. As a competitor in his native Brazil, Moraes achieved national success, earning two championships before transitioning to mixed martial arts.
15: Years-old when he tried Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Moraes worked his way to becoming a proficient competitor until he earned his black belt from Ricardo Almeida.
2: Straight victories to start his professional MMA career. Both contest ended in a stoppage. He submitted Bruno Santana and TKO’d Jose Lucas de Melo.
12: Fights into his career before WSOF took notice. By that time, Moraes had a record of 7-4-1. He also fought for the Ring of Combat featherweight title but was stopped by Deividas Taurosevicius via arm triangle.
3: Full rounds with Miguel Torres. Torres had already achieved legendary status in the batamnweight decision, and Moraes defeated him by split decision at WSOF’s inaugural event.
5: Full rounds with Josh Rettinghouse at WSOF 9. With the victory, he captured the inaugural WSOF bantamweight championship, which he held until he signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He successfully defended it five times against Sheymon Moraes, Joseph Barajas, Josenaldo Silva and twice against Josh Hill. His first title defense was supposed to be against Cody Bollinger but Bollinger failed to make weight.
11: Fights in the WSOF. Moraes left the organization without losing a single bout in the promotion. Because of this impressive feat, the UFC signed him.
44: Significant strikes landed on Assuncao in his Octagon debut. However, in the end, it was his opponent who was awarded the victory.
5: Losses total. Moraes was defeated early on in his career by Alexandre Pinheiro, Zeilton Rodrigues, Ralph Acosta and Taurosevicius. Before losing to Assuncao at UFC 212, he went undefeated for almost six years, which shows how much he improved as a fighter.
103: Total significant strikes landed in the UFC. After two consecutive fights where he landed close to 50 strikes, Moraes didn’t even reach 10 in his next two. However, that’s a testament to his skill as he finished both bouts early in the first round.
100: Seconds needed to end his last two fights. Moraes knocked out Aljamain Sterling at 1:07 of the first round and Jimmie Rivera in just 33 seconds. Following these excellent wins, he earned two Performance of the Night awards.
30: Years of age. Moraes was born in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, on April 26, 1988. He now trains at Iron Army in Toms River, New Jersey.