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Aljamain Sterling on Moraes KO loss: ‘I wish I could stop that shot as soon as I reached for it’

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The ‘Funk Master’ hit a major road block on his path to title contention in the bantamweight division, in the form of Marlon Moraes’s knee. But, he seems to be recovering well.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Fresno-Moraes vs Sterling Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The fight game is not kind. One day an athlete is gaining momentum and making headway toward a shot at a UFC title. The next they’re looking up at the lights wondering what just hit them. For Aljamain Sterling that day was this past weekend at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega. Sterling took on recent UFC acquisition – and former World Series of Fighting champion – Marlon Moraes in a bantamweight bout of top ranked contenders. Things did not go well for Sterling.

The Serra-Longo talent ended up on the receiving end of a brutal KO, just one minute into the first round. The result of a takedown attempt that Moraes timed perfectly, with a kick that put the Brazilian’s knee right on the jaw of the ‘Funk Master.’ Sterling was carried out of the Octagon on a stretcher.

But, while the KO caused a scary scene in the moment, it doesn’t seem to have had too many prolonged effects.

Nor does it seem to have overly dampened Sterling’s spirits, as he joked about his involuntary KO posture on Twitter.

Sterling did, however, make it known that if he had the chance, he wouldn’t mind having done things a little differently.

The loss ends a two fight winning streak for Sterling, having beating both Renan Barao and Augusto Mendes this year – after dropping a closely fought split decision to Raphael Assuncao in January. And for Moraes, the win puts him right in title contention – after a similarly close split decision loss to Assuncao in his UFC debut. Moraes has now won two straight fights, having defeated former flyweight title contender John Dodson just back in November.

Unfortunately for ‘Magic,’ the top of 135 is currently on hold, as T.J. Dillashaw works to get a fight with Demetrious Johnson, and the winner of Jimmie Rivera vs. John Lineker seems likely to be ahead of Moraes in line. Still, there are no guarantees TJ vs. DJ gets made, and fans can never bet on the winner of a top-contender bout coming out healthy and ready to fight. It could very well be that Moraes ends up first in line if Dillashaw wants to fight sometime in the near future.