Bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes does not plan on letting rising contender Merab Dvalishivili use him as a stepping stone.
Paired up against the Georgian for an intriguing scrap at UFC 266, ‘Magic’ expects to finish his opponent before he gets taken down to the mat.
In an interview with Ag Fight, Moraes sang Merab’s praises, especially his wrestling prowess. However, Marlon says that if Dvalishvili intends to smother him on the ground, he better do it before the Brazilian has a chance to put his hands on the ‘Machine.’
“I’ve only fought the best, so my chance of winning or losing is the same,” Moraes said. “My goal is to fight the best. He’s a hot prospect, he has great wrestling. He controls you well on the ground, uses ground and pound, has beautiful takedowns. He holds a record in takedowns. He better take me down quickly.
“My intention is to go out there and dominate,” he added. “I want to show everyone what I can do and I’m sure I’ll knock him out. He’s a tough athlete, but I trust my potential. I know that I have a challenge ahead of me. There’s a reason he’s here today, he’s beaten some tough guys. But I have the tools to beat him and I’m sure that I’m going to do just that. Sometimes a guy might be too thirsty, that opens gaps that I can exploit, both on the ground and standing up.”
Currently on a two-fight losing skid, Marlon (23-8-1) suffered heavy losses to Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font in his last couple of outings. Before that, the 33-year-old had picked up a split decision victory over Jose Aldo, back in December 2019.
Now, Moraes is expected to take on 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.