UFC Fight Island 5: Moraes vs. Sandhagen - Main Fight Preview

If Marlon Moraes steps into the octagon, entertainment is guaranteed. The "Magic" made its name on the North American regional scene by lining up bodies in the now extinct WSOF, beating all the names the organization offered to it. The hype , of course, came naturally. Not only because of the way the native Carioca from Nova Friburgo beat his opponents, but because of the technique and intelligence he showed in his commitments at Ray Sefo's event. Naturally, the UFC called. And he answered.

A former muay thai fighter , Marlon Moraes is a fierce and very, very technical changer. Speed, agility and (a lot) aggressiveness are the keys of your game, which has a very wide arsenal of strokes, with combinations and creativity when creating angles to strike. The main weapon of the house are kicks, which have a frightening power - especially those that hit opponents' legs. The strength of the Brazilian's blows is so strong that you can forget that we are talking about a bantamweight. However, he tried to adapt to the sport and became Ricardo Cachorrão's black belt, going from being a one-dimensional striker to an opportunist on the ground. Two points that may concern you are the defensive part and the accuracy of your strokes, but nothing too glaring.

Owner of one of the most interesting stories of recent times in the UFC, Cory Sandhagen (12-2 in MMA, 5-1 in the UFC) came out of nowhere in the cock division and was gaining his space with great performances. He knocked out Austin Arnett, applied a brilliant turn against Iuri Marajó and submitted Mario Bautista. When the batten went up, it hit his chest and defeated John Lineker. The batten went up again and the same happened: the experienced Raphael Assunção dominated in the unanimous decision. All of this in less than two years. The setback came against Aljamain Sterling in a hit, but that does not erase everything that has been done so far.

Always very exciting, Sandhagen has combinations of power and volume, with emphasis on strikes in short distance and other more plastic ones, such as flying knees. In the close fight, Cory is very opportunistic and sneaky, but he is not one of the more technical fighters in the gentle art that the cock category can offer. Big-headed and with a giant heart at the time of the fight, the American ends up getting too excited in some situations and enters the street. Then the problem appears: the defensive part, which is almost nonexistent. He doesn't worry about nodding, dodging or having a good guard. Against Marlon, this is almost guaranteed to be a huge problem.

This confrontation of five rounds is really complicated to opine for the balance of the match. Marlon is better standing up, but the physical discrepancy is so great that it can really get in the way, since Sandhagen has an advantage of more than 10cm more in height and span. Based on this principle, Moraes must have problems to shorten the distance without being reached.

With the right strategy, the Brazilian should play in the long distance and in the classic “hit and go”, aiming the American's legs. Meanwhile, Cory must use his long wingspan to strike the former challenger and control the distance against the dangerous opponent. The bet remains for Marlon Moraes 'victory in a tense and tight fight in the judges' decision. 

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