Marlon Moraes thought things were going fairly well early on his UFC Fight Night 179 main event showdown with Cory Sandhagen.
That, of course, was before Sandhagen leveled him with a spinning wheel kick early in Round 2. The blow sent Moraes into a backward somersault, and a barrage of follow-up punches from Sandhagen prompted referee Marc Goddard to wave off the bantamweight bout 63 seconds into the period.
Sandhagen landed about four unanswered punches before the stoppage, but Moraes believes he could have been granted a little more time to recover.
“I thought we had a very good first round. But I thought I won the round,” Moraes said during the post-fight show on ESPN+. “And then he started the second and I don’t know, I think he kind of catch me with a kick and bloodied my eye a little bit and right after he surprised me. He didn’t come this way, he came the other way and that’s it.
“Probably a little early stoppage but whatever. I thought I was [OK to continue] but the ref just jumped on me. I didn’t have time enough to get up.”
That said, the former World Series of Fighting champion wasn’t making any excuses in defeat. As a man with several flashy KO victories on his ledger, Moraes knows the nature of the sport.
“I just got caught,” Moraes said. “He catch me. I was doing good the first round, it was a good fight. I was very excited for this fight. I knew we were going to do the ‘Fight of the Night’ for sure. But unfortunately, I got caught. I caught a lot of guys before but that was my day.”