- The vacant UFC Bantamweight title is up for grabs in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 238 fight card
- Will Henry Cejudo change his nickname from “The Messenger” to “Triple C” on Saturday night?
- Can Marlon Moraes become a champion in a second promotion?
The UFC is in Chicago this week for the UFC 238 pay-per-view card. Two title fights anchor the event, which takes place at United Center. The headlining bout pits UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo against former World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes. The UFC bantamweight title that TJ Dillashaw vacated after he failed a drug test tied to his January 19th fight against Cejudo is on the line in this high-stakes matchup.
UFC 238: Cejudo vs Moraes Odds
Odds taken 06/04/19
Moraes and Cejudo Recent Fights
Cejudo ended Demetrious Johnson’s run atop the flyweight division in August 2018. Before his unanimous decision loss to Cejudo, Johnson had defended his UFC title a record 11 times. That run included an April 2016 first-round knockout win over Cejudo. Cejudo’s first defense of the title came in March of this year when Dillashaw dropped to flyweight in an attempt to become a two-division titleholder. Cejudo squashed Dillashaw’s dream when he knocked out the 135-pound kingpin in 32 seconds.
Dillashaw tested positive for EPO in a drug test tied to that bout and subsequently surrendered his title. Cejudo won a “Fight of the Night” bonus for his win over Johnson and “Performance of the Night” honors for his victory over Dillashaw.
Moraes had an unbeaten run with WSOF. He debuted with the promotion at WSOF 1 and fought under the WSOF banner until WSOF 34. During that time Moraes went 11-0. He won the inaugural 135-pound title in 2014 and defended it five times before he signed with the UFC as a free agent in 2017.
Moraes dropped his UFC debut, losing a split decision to Raphael Assuncao. Since that setback, Moraes has gone 4-0. He has three first-round stoppage wins in his past three outings. That stretch includes a submission win over Assuncao. The UFC awarded Moraes “Performance of the Night” bonuses for each of those stoppage victories. Moraes is currently the top ranked fighter in the official UFC Bantamweight rankings.
Both fighters have the same goal in this fight, win the UFC Bantamweight title. For Moraes, a victory would give him titles in two major MMA promotions. With a win in Chicago, Cejudo would feel comfortable changing his nickname to “Triple C”. That nickname would be short for champ-champ-champ. With a win over Moraes, Cejudo would be a two-division UFC champion and an Olympic gold medalist. He won the 2008 gold in freestyle wrestling.
Cejudo and Moraes Skill Sets
Cejudo’s most exceptional skill is his wrestling, but he has favored his striking as of late. He fights in a karate stance and uses his speed and power in his striking game. However, his striking is still developing, after all, he’s only been involved in MMA since 2013.
One of the questions facing Cejudo is, will he be able to bring his speed and power up with him to 135 pounds? The added weight could slow him down and against a talent like Moraes, there won’t be much time or space to adjust if Cejudo and his team have miscalculated his striking skills at bantamweight. The good thing for Cejudo is that he can fall back on his wrestling if he needs to. While Moraes is no slouch on takedown defense or on the ground, he has not faced a talent like Cejudo in that realm.
Moraes also mixes power and speed in his striking. He also has an excellent understating of time and space and the ability to mix up his strikes at any time of the fight and at any range. Another thing Moraes will surely do is target the legs of his opponent. Moraes has devastating power in his leg kicks and if he lands just a few of those, he could slow Cejudo’s speed considerably. Moraes also has a considerable edge in experience having made his MMA debut in 2007.
Cejudo vs Moraes Tale of the Tape
|Henry Cejudo||Category||Marlon Moraes|
|135 pounds||Weight||135 pounds|
|3.56||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||3.23|
|2.60||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.60|
|2.30||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.43|
|0.1||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.9|
Cejudo Has the Talent, But Moraes Has the Tools
As the odds indicate, this is a closely matched contest. Both fighters are red hot right now and both have experience as champions. The difference in this fight will most likely come down to who has the deeper toolbox to dig into. In this matchup that fighter is Moraes.
Pick: Marlon Moraes (-125)