Marlon Moraes has not yet defended his bantamweight crown. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Marlon Moraes has the look of a very big fish in a very small pond.
Moraes will put his World Series of Fighting bantamweight championship on the line against the undefeated but unheralded Josh Hill in the WSOF 18 main event on Thursday at the Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. The 26-year-old Brazilian has not tasted defeat in more than three years, emerging as one of the world’s premier fighters at 135 pounds.
A decorated muay Thai practitioner who has shown increasingly well-rounded skills, Moraes will carry an eight-fight winning streak into the cage. He last competed at WSOF 13 in September, when he submitted Cody Bollinger with a second-round rear-naked choke at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. Moraes, who has never lost a decision, has secured nine of his 13 pro victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. He owns a perfect 6-0 record inside the World Series of Fighting.
Hill made his promotional debut at WSOF Canada 2 in June, when he knocked out Mike Adams 4:20 into the first round of their clash in the Great White North. A graduate of Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the 28-year-old Canadian has already captured gold in the Aggression MMA organization. Hill, who has seen his recent momentum curbed by a back injury, has gone the distance six times in his 10-fight career.
With the Moraes-Hill showdown as the centerpiece, here are 10 facts surrounding WSOF 18:
FACT 1: The eight men Moraes has defeated during his current winning streak -- Bollinger, Josh Rettinghouse, Carson Beebe, Brandon Hempleman, Tyson Nam, Miguel Torres, Jarrod Card and Chris Manuel -- own a cumulative record of 129-40-3.
FACT 2: Hill defeated SBG Ireland export and current Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight Patrick Holohan to reach “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 18 quarterfinals, where he was joined by Bollinger, Chris Holdsworth, Chris Beal, Michael Wootten, Davey Grant, Louis Fisette and Anthony Gutirrez.
FACT 3: Toshido Mixed Martial Arts export Shane Campbell owns a 62-9 record as a professional kickboxer.
FACT 4: Hakeem Dawodu has put away all three of his opponents in a combined 10:38.
FACT 5: All four of Maximum Fighting Championship veteran Mukai Maromo’s losses have come to Kurt Southern and Graham Spencer.
FACT 6: “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 alum Cody McKenzie is 3-6 since starting his career with 12 consecutive victories.
FACT 7: Andrew McInnes holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships absolute gold medalist Robert Drysdale.
FACT 8: Derek Boyle won a fight at the Playboy Mansion in 2010, earning a split decision over Tim Welch in what was the final event in the history of the Playboy Fight Night organization.
FACT 9: Matt Baker sports six-, 23-, 24-, 62- and 81-second finishes on his resume.
FACT 10: Canadian journeyman Marcus Hicks has competed in 23 different organizations during his 43-fight career: Hard Knocks Fighting Championship, Prestige Fighting Championship, World Series of Fighting, Fivestar Fight League, Aggression Fighting Championship, King of the Cage, Maximum Fighting Championship, Ringside MMA, Aggression MMA, Adrenaline, Armageddon Fighting Championships, The Fight Club, Extreme Cage Combat, Ultimate Cage Wars, All Martial Arts, Freedom Fight, Xtreme Cage Wars, Gladiators Cage Fighting, Rage in the Ring, Rumble in the Cage, Elite Fighting, Top Rank Martial Arts and Adrenaline Fighting Championships.