Marlon Moraes has become a WSOF cornerstone. | Photo: D. Mandel/Sherdog.com
BantamweightsMarlon Moraes (11-4-1, 3-0 WSOF) vs. Carson Beebe (14-2, 1-0 WSOF)
The Matchup: After beginning his professional MMA career with a relatively pedestrian 6-4-1 mark, five consecutive victories have propelled Moraes into the bantamweight division’s top 10. There is no question that the Brazilian is one of WSOF’s breakout stars, but is the promotion already running out of high-caliber opposition for him to face? Moraes began his promotional tenure with flashy victories over former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Miguel Torres and Tyson Nam, who owned a buzz-worthy knockout of Bellator 135-pound king Eduardo Dantas. Brandon Hempleman, whom Moraes dominated at WSOF 4, and Beebe do not quite have the same career-boosting appeal.
Still, coming from a family with deep wrestling roots, Beebe has the background to give Moraes problems, provided he can execute a game plan based on takedowns and top control. That is no guarantee considering that the “Little Juggernaut” was fortunate to emerge victorious from his WSOF debut against Joe Murphy. While Beebe initiated his share of takedowns in the bout, Murphy caught the Illinois native in a number of chokes and generally held his own in scrambles on the mat. Despite Murphy’s efforts, Beebe captured a contentious unanimous decision.
Beebe is most comfortable when he is the dominant wrestler in a fight. His standup arsenal is limited, so if he faces an opponent who can control distance with striking, his options become limited. While Beebe is active in looking to advance from top position, his ground-and-pound is not of the devastating variety.
Moraes, a Brazilian national muay Thai champion, would do well to keep Beebe at range using his versatile repertoire of kicks. The Ricardo Almeida Jiu-Jitsu representative is particularly punishing when attacking the leg; he forced Hempleman to alter his stance thanks to a barrage of whipping low kicks. Moraes’ kicks often come at the end of punching combinations, making him more difficult to counter. His ability to change levels with his kicks allows him to set up more devastating offerings, such as the head kick that felled Nam. Moraes has a competent submission game should he find himself grounded, and Beebe sometimes leaves himself vulnerable in scrambles while pursuing more dominant positions.
The Pick: Even if Moraes does not tenderize Beebe’s leg with kicks, he is more than versatile enough to keep his foe guessing. Moraes ability to use movement and angles on the feet will frustrate Beebe and limit takedown and tie-up opportunities. If Moraes does not get the KO or TKO, he cruises to a decision.
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