The main event of UFC 238 will see a new champion named when Henry Cejudo (14-2 MMA; 8-2 UFC) faces Marlon Moraes (22-5-1 MMA; 4-1 UFC) for the vacant Bantamweight title. The UFC rankings have Moraes as the division’s #1 contender, with Flyweight champ Cejudo unranked in this division, but #4 pound-for-pound. UFC 238: Cejudo vs. Moraes airs live from Chicago this Saturday night, June 8. The main card airs on PPV through ESPN+ with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and 6:15 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.
This fight comes together as a result of champion T.J. Dillashaw failing drug tests and vacating the 135 pound belt in March. At the time, it looked like we were heading towards Dillashaw vs. Cejudo II for the title, but with T.J. out for what looks to be quite a long time, Moraes gets the much deserved call up.
How do these two stack up?
Cejudo: 32 years old | 5’4” | 64” reach
Moraes: 31 years old | 5’6” | 67” reach
What have these two done recently?
Cejudo: W - T.J. Dillashaw (TKO) | W - Demetrious Johnson (SD) | W - Sergio Pettis (UD)
Moraes: W - Raphael Assuncao (Sub) | W - Jimmy Rivera (KO) | W - Aljamain Sterling (KO)
How did these two get here?
One year ago, Cejudo was a promising and solid fighter who was 2-2 in his last 4 and had not quite seemed to yet live up to his Olympic gold medal reputation. Then he became the man to end the greatest title run in UFC history and defeat the pound for pound #1. Then he took on Dillashaw in a champ vs. champ superfight and knocked him out in 32 seconds. You would be hard pressed to find a better pair of back to back wins in the sport today. Now he’s ranked #4 and on the verge of becoming (ugh) champ champ. He has a great wrestling game and has added strong hands too, making him a huge threat to all.
Marlon Moraes has been in the game for 12 years. His breakout came back in 2012 at the debut show for WSOF, where he defeated former WEC champ Miguel Torres. That kicked off a 4 year, 11 fight undefeated streak in WSOF that saw him capture the company’s Bantamweight title and establish himself as one of the top fighters outside the UFC. He came to the UFC in 2017, lost to Raphael Assuncao (as many do), defeated John Dodson, then rattled off three violently impressive wins, all via first round stoppage. That run was capped off with his February submission win over Assuncao - making Moraes just the 2nd man to defeat Assuncao since 2011 (the other being, naturally, Dillashaw). He’s currently riding a 17-1 run dating back to December 2011. This feels like the true culmination of that run, and you know he will make the most of it.
Why should you care?
It crowns a new champ, and more importantly, it’s just an awesome fight between two incredibly well matched, high level mixed martial artists. This could be really, really good.