Brazil is arguably the second-most MMA crazy country on the planet, and the UFC returns to Brazil on Saturday night for UFC Fight Night 144 that features a bantamweight rematch between Raphael Assuncao and former WSOF Bantamweight Champion Marlon Moraes. Here’s a look at the two main fights with UFC odds.
UFC Fight Night 144 Odds & Preview
A legend meets a rising challenger!🇧🇷 @JoseAldoJunior vs 🇧🇷 @MoicanoUFC LIVE on @ESPN+. #UFCFortaleza pic.twitter.com/Vwz8s09t7r — UFC (@ufc) 31 de enero de 2019
- When: Saturday, 8 PM ET
- Where: Arena CFO, Fortaleza, Brazil
- TV: ESPN+
- Live Stream: UFC Fight Pass
Rest of the Main Card
- Demian Maia vs Lyman Good
- Charles Oliveira vs David Teymur
- Johnny Walker vs Justin Ledet
- Livia Renata Souza vs Sarah Frota
- Markus Perez vs Anthony Hernandez
- Thiago Alves vs Max Griffin
- Mara Romero Borella vs Taila Santos
- Junior Albini vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
- Geraldo de Freitas Jr vs Felipe Colares
- Ricardo Ramos vs Said Nurmagomedov
- Rogério Bontorin vs Magomed Bibulatov
Raphael Assuncao (27-5) vs. Marlon Moraes (21-5-1)
- UFC Fight Night 144 Odds: Marlon Moraes -170 (Over/Under 4.5)
Moraes is a -180 favorite with Assuncao at +150 and the over/under of 4.5 rounds – the over is a solid favorite. In his last 17 fights, dating back to December 2011, Marlon Moraes has lost only once. That was a defeat at the hands of Assuncao last year also in Brazil at UFC 212. After rocking Moraes early and struggling to keep up with him late, Assuncao got the nod from two of the three judges, earning a split-decision victory over the former WSOF bantamweight champ.
In the third and final round, Moraes made a visible effort to increase his pace and his aggression late, likely sensing a close fight on the scorecards, but Assuncao yielded little ground even as his own output began to slow. The scores were 28-29, 29-28, 30-27. On significant strikes, Moraes outlanded Assuncao by a single blow, 44 to 43. He had a one-strike advantage in the opening round (14 to 13), but they ended up with identical counts in rounds two (11 to 11) and three (19 to 19).
Moraes had annihilated most of his recent competition in WSOF entering that first meeting, which was his UFC debut. He was riding a 13-fight winning streak and there were people who were legitimately wondering whether he might be one win away from getting a title shot in the UFC.
Assuncao has now won four in a row since falling to current bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw in 2016. Moraes has bounced back from the loss to Assuncao with three consecutive wins, including first-round knockouts of Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera. Dillashaw’s quest to become a two-division champion has left the bantamweight division in a holding pattern. Assuncao, 36, remains one of the most overlooked contenders at 135 pounds. The veteran holds an 11-2 record since his UFC debut back in 2011 but hasn’t been able to get over the hump for his first title shot.
To land consistently against Assuncao, Moraes must improve his striking accuracy. In the UFC, he has landed only 33 percent of his significant strike attempts, which is the second-worst percentage among ranked bantamweights. During his UFC/WEC career, Assuncao has managed to avoid 70 percent of his opponents’ significant strike attempts. Among ranked bantamweights, that is the second-best striking defense. In their first fight, Moraes attempted 16 more significant strikes than Assuncao but landed only 29 percent.
Jose Aldo (27-4) vs. Renato Moicano (13-1-1)
- UFC Fight Night 144 Odds: Renato Moicano -135 (Over/Under 2.5)
Moicano is -125 for this featherweight fight and Aldo, once considered perhaps the greatest featherweight ever, is a +105 underdog. Aldo is a former three-time UFC featherweight champion overall, having been the undisputed champion twice and the interim champion once. In the decade from November 2005 through December 2015, Aldo was undefeated in 18 fights. It’s a surprise this isn’t the main event considering Aldo is a legend in Brazil. UFC President Dana White said there’s a reason for the way the card is scheduled: “(Aldo) wanted to be the co-main event. He didn’t want to fight five rounds – he wanted three.”
Aldo last fought in July, winning with a first-round knockout victory over Jeremy Stephens. Aldo, who lost three of his previous bouts, finished by Max Holloway (twice) and Conor McGregor, scored his first stoppage win since 2013 against Stephens. Aldo said that he has three fights left on his contract and that he plans on 2019 being the final year of his MMA career. Aldo is known primarily for his Muay Thai style striking and leg kicks, coupled with defensive wrestling. Aldo also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Moicano is off back-to-back victories over Cub Swanson, a first-round submission in August, and a decision against Calvin Kattar in early 2018. Moicano, who suffered his only loss in MMA to Brian Ortega in 2017, was expected to face Mirsad Bektic at UFC 231 before Bektic pulled out of the card with an injury.
professional MMA competitor since 2010, Moicano made a name for himself fighting all over his home country of Brazil and is the former interim Jungle Fight Featherweight Champion. If Moicano wins, he believes he will be getting the next title shot. “For sure. It depends on what Max Holloway will do if he goes to lightweight to fight someone up there,” he said. “If he stays at 145, then for sure I will fight for the title against Max after this fight.”
Expert UFC Fight Night 144 Picks
Moraes gets payback, and Moicano knocks off the legend.