Bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes hopes to end his bad streak at UFC 266.
Following two rough TKO losses in his last outings, ‘Magic’ is now paired up against rising contender Merab Dvalishvili, against whom the Brazilian expects to score a finish in order to get back on his feet.
In an interview with Combate, Moraes revealed to be drawing inspiration from two UFC dark horses who ended up turning their career arounds and becoming champions: Charles Oliveira and Jan Blachowicz. In Marlon’s opinion, both athletes have taught him that losing is not a problem, as long as a fighter can learn from the defeats and bounce back.
“The biggest motivation I have during hard times is my family,” Moraes said. “It’s not over. There’s still a lot to come. I’m very well-prepared for this fight and I’ll show everybody. It’s like I tell people sometimes, I’ve seen Charles Oliveira and Jan Blachowicz go through that. I see them as role models for me to go out there and do the same.
“We’re fighting among the best,” Marlon continued. “Always at the top of the division. Myself and those guys I’ve mentioned, we all have lost, but to tough guys. We have to make everyday our day. Sometimes it’s not your day, but you have to do your part in making it so.”
Now paired up against a powerful wrestler in Dvalishvili, Marlon already expects an intriguing clash of styles at UFC 266. Known for his Muay Thai, Moraes hopes he can finish Merab, but being a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt. Magic warns his opponent not to underestimate his ground skills, as well.
“He’s a tough guy,” Moraes said. “A good wrestler, with good cardio and who walks forward, but I’m ready. I’ve had a great camp for this fight. Comparing my skills to his, I’m a much better striker and I intend to fight him on the feet. If it goes to the ground, I can be dangerous there, too. I hope I can finish this fight. I think he has a lot of UFC fights, but I have a lot of fights against tough guys. We’ll put his background against mine on Saturday. He’s the new generation, a tough up-and-comer in the promotion. We’ll fight and see how far he can go.”
Currently on a two-fight losing skid, Moraes (23-8-1) got TKO’d by both Rob Font and Cory Sandhagen in his most recent outings. Before that, the 33-year-old picked up a close split decision victory over former featherweight champion Jose Aldo, back in December 2019.
Now, Moraes is expected to take on Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 266, on September 25, in Las Vegas. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a featherweight title fight between the champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and challenger Brian Ortega.