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Two serious contenders for the Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight throne will face each other when Marlon Moraes meets Cory Sandhagen in the UFC Fight Night 179 main event this Saturday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The winner figures to accelerate his push for a shot at the 135-pound title currently held by Petr Yan.
A former World Series of Fighting champion, Moraes has rattled off 18 victories across his past 20 appearances. He last competed at UFC 245, where he eked out a split decision over Jose Aldo on Dec. 14 and improved his record inside the Octagon to 5-2. Sandhagen, meanwhile, saw his seven-fight winning streak grind to a halt in the clutches of an Aljamain Sterling rear-naked choke at UFC 250 in June. The Elevation Fight Team export has compiled a 5-1 mark since he joined the UFC roster a little less than three years ago.
As Moraes and Sandhagen barrel toward their all-important confrontation, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
32: Years of age for Moraes, who was born in Rio de Janeiro on April 26, 1988.
2: Submission losses on the Moraes resume, and they occurred in back-to-back outings. He tapped to a second-round rear-naked choke from Ralph Acosta at World Extreme Fighting 46 on April 22, 2011 and surrendered to a first-round arm-triangle choke from Deividas Taurosevicius at Ring of Combat 38 some seven months later.
13: First-round stoppage victories to Moraes’ credit, accounting for 57% of his career total. They include his 33-second knockout of Jimmie Rivera at UFC Fight Night 131 and his 67-second knockout of the aforementioned Sterling at UFC Fight Night 123.
4: Knockdowns landed by Moraes as a UFC bantamweight, tying him with Jonathan Martinez for eighth among active fighters at 135 pounds. Only T.J. Dillashaw (nine), Cody Garbrandt (nine), Eddie Wineland (eight), Yan (eight), Urijah Faber (five), Pedro Munhoz (five) and Rob Font (five) have more.
1: Draw on the Moraes ledger. He fought Sandro Gemaque de Souza to a 15-minute stalemate at a Dojo Combat event in 2010. Gemaque de Souza was 4-0 at the time and went on to lose his next three fights.
28: Years of age for Sandhagen, who was born on April 20, 1992 in Aurora, Colorado.
3: Sandhagen wins by submission, accounting for 25% of his career total (12). He put away Bruce Sessman with a rear-naked choke 1:16 into their encounter under the Fight to Win banner in May 2015, dismissed Dalton Goddard with a triangle choke 3:38 into the first round of their battle at a Paramount MMA show in April 2016 and took care of Mario Bautista with an armbar 3:31 into the first round of their pairing at UFC Fight Night 143 in January 2019.
67: Seconds needed for Sandhagen to wipe out Jose Aguayo with a knee strike and follow-up punches at Legacy Fighting Alliance 31 on Jan. 19, 2018. Having taken place in his final pre-UFC assignment, it remains the fastest finish of his 14-fight career. Sandhagen debuted in the UFC eight days later.
.822: Cumulative winning percentage between the two men—Sterling and Jamall Emmers—who have beaten Sandhagen. They own a combined record of 37-8.
143: Significant strikes by which Sandhagen has outlanded his six UFC opponents. More than half (106) of the 203 such strikes landed against him are credited to John Lineker. Sandhagen defeated Lineker by split decision at UFC Fight Night 150.
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