UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes believes his fight against Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Island 5 could have gone on a little bit longer.
Moraes and Sandhagen had a competitive first round, but the fight came to an end early in the second after a devastating move courtesy of Sandhagen. A little over a minute into the round, Sandhagen threw a spinning heel kick that stunned Moraes, who was dropped in an instant. Although Moraes rolled through, Sandhagen was right there to deliver some follow-up punches to his opponent. After a few seconds of unanswered shots, referee Marc Goddard decided he saw enough and called for an end to the fight.
Moraes sat up and appeared to be okay afterwards, which he reiterated in his interview with UFC color commentator Karyn Bryant during the post-fight show. He admits he was “surprised” by the kick from Sandhagen but says he could have continued had Goddard given him more time.
“I thought we had a very good first round. But I thought I won the round,” said Moraes (h/t MMA Fighting). “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.”
Moraes, who is no stranger to dishing out the kind of finish he was on the receiving end of on Saturday night, chalks the loss up to being caught despite performing relatively well.
“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 befor,e but that was my day.”
The loss to Sandhagen is only Moraes’ third career setback in the UFC and he is hoping to come back soon to get back on track in his quest to challenge for the bantamweight championship again.