In the main event of UFC Fight Night in Fortaleza, Brazil, bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes made a statement that he should be next in line for a title shot against T.J. Dillashaw when he defeated Rafael Assuncao via first round submission.
Assuncao is the only individual to defeat Moraes during his UFC tenure, but Moraes won three in a row following the loss.
The win was the third straight first round finish for the fourth-ranked Moraes, who will undoubtedly move up the rankings following the victory.
Following the win, Moraes took a jab at Dillashaw, implying that perhaps Dillashaw didn’t deserve to fight him after his loss to flyweight champion Henry Cejudo in 32 seconds last month.
The big question for the matchmakers is whether they give Moraes the next title shot following three straight dominant victories or if they give the shot to Cejudo at bantamweight following his quick victory over Dillashaw in their flyweight matchup.
With the state of the flyweight division in flux, the decision on the next bantamweight title challenger is a crucial one.
Aldo scores second straight knockout win
Jose Aldo continues to show that he’s still an elite featherweight after scoring a knockout in his second straight fight by defeating Renato Moicano in the co-main event.
Despite facing a fellow Brazilian, the crowd was firmly on his side when the legend faced the surging Moicano, who was potentially next in line for a title shot with a win over the legendary Aldo.
Aldo is realistic about his future, he hopes to fight twice more in 2019 and then retire. After two losses to champion Max Holloway, it is unlikely that he gets another title shot unless Holloway drops the title.
Following the win, Aldo stated that he hopes to compete at UFC 237, which is taking place in Brazil this May.
Attendance and Bonuses
UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste drew 10,040 attendees, while the gate revenue figure was not disclosed.
Performance bonuses were awarded to Moraes for his first round submission win over Assuncao, Aldo for his second round knockout of Moicano, Charles Oliveira for his first second submission win over David Teymur and Johnny Walker for his 15 second knockout of Justin Ledet.
They each receive an additional $50,000.
Nunes vs. Holm rumoured for UFC 237
UFC President Dana White made a surprise announcement during the UFC 235 press conference this past Thursday when asked why Holly Holm and Aspen Ladd were not in attendance.
“That fight’s not going to happen, that’s why they’re not up here,” White said. “We’re working on another fight for both of them.”
Just one day later, Brazilian outlet Combate reported that the promotion was looking to schedule a bantamweight championship bout between Amanda Nunes and the former champion Holm for UFC 237, which is potentially taking place at Arena da Baixada according to reports. The stadium in Curitiba holds over 42,000 and if it were to be held there, it is expected that several Brazilian stars would be featured.
In addition to Nunes and Holm potentially taking place on the card, previous reports have placed a strawweight title bout between champion Rose Namajunas and Brazilian Jessica Andrade also taking place at UFC 237.
Combate also reported a possible matchup between Nunes’s fiancee Nina Ansaroff and Tatiana Suarez, which could determine the next strawweight challenger.
Lobov granted UFC release
After recently requesting his release from the UFC, Artem Lobov’s request has been granted according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
Lobov is the main training partner for former featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor and their camaraderie has often clouded whether Lobov was UFC material.
During his UFC tenure, Lobov (13-15-1) went 2-5 with all seven fights going the distance.
Many point to a confrontation between Lobov and McGregor rival Khabib Nurmagomedov at a Brooklyn hotel as the starting point of the now famous feud between the two lightweights that was contested at UFC 229 in October, resulting in a Nurmagomedov submission victory and an ensuing melee.
Lobov took to Twitter to lobby for a job in other promotions following the news of his release.