2020 was not kind to Marlon Moraes. The former WSOF bantamweight champion ran his way into title contention shortly after signing with the UFC back in 2017, picking up strong wins over Aljamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera and Raphael Assuncao in the process. However following a rough loss to Henry Cejudo and a questionable win over Jose Aldo shortly afterward, Moraes now finds himself on a two fight losing skid, having been knocked out by both Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font over the past three months.
On the flip side, Marlon Vera’s recent run hasn’t been nearly as disastrous as his Brazilian counterpart’s, but it also hasn’t come with the same glorious high points either. Following a five fight winning streak across 2018-19, the Team Oyama fighter went 1-2 in 2020, with competitive losses to both Song Yadong and Aldo sandwiching a TKO victory over Sean O’Malley back at UFC 252.
Thus, with both Marlon’s coming off defeats, it appears Vera felt this was the time to offer up a fight with the former title contender out of American Top Team. The Ecuadorian fighter took to Twitter to call-out Moraes, but it seems ‘Magic’ has other plans for the immediate future than a fast return to competition.
Give o’Maley his well deserved rematch. By the time I will be back n we meet— Marlon Moraes (@MMARLONMORAES) December 31, 2020
Despite Vera picking up a TKO over O’Malley in their aforementioned UFC 252 bout, the fight wasn’t without some controversy. Most notably, low kicks early in round 1 appeared to cause an injury to O’Malley’s right leg, from which he was no longer able to keep his balance and keep the fight standing. For fans who had expected to see a pitched battle of wills between the two men, an early finish stemming from the damage left an unsatisfying aftertaste.
Still, at this point, it doesn’t even sound like O’Malley wants to run that fight back, were the offer on the table. Despite coming off the definitive defeat, in a recent video released to his YouTube channel, the MMA Lab fighter suggested that fighting Vera off his loss to Aldo would be a step back for him in his career.
“For me to rematch (Vera), he’ll have to be on a win streak. It’ll have to make sense.” O’Malley explained. “I feel like I’m just a different level fighter. That would be like fighting someone backwards.”
All said, it seems that Marlon Vera will just have to look elsewhere if he’s hoping to get another name bantamweight opponent to start out the new year.