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When Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes first met inside the Octagon, both were inching closer to a title shot. At UFC 212, Assuncao welcomed the former World Series of Fighting bantamweight king to the Ultimate Fighting Championship with a tightly-contested decision victory. Now, the stakes are even higher.
Their much anticipated rematch at UFC Fight Night 144 will give rise to a new No. 1 contender. Both are on an impressive winning streak, with Assuncao racking up wins over Aljamain Sterling, Moraes, Matthew Lopez and Rob Font after his loss to T.J. Dillashaw.
With so much on the line, expect the two top contenders to leave everything inside the Octagon. As Assuncao crafts his game plan, here are some numbers that have brought him to the top of the rankings.
2: Brothers who are also mixed martial artists. Assuncao comes from a family of fighters. He is a brother to UFC veteran Junior Assuncao and WSOF veteran Freddy Assuncao.
9: Straight victories without a loss to start his professional career. What made that winning run extra impressive is the fact that it included wins over Jorge Masvidal and Joe Lauzon. He decisioned Masvidal at Full Throttle 1 and submitted Lauzon at Absolute Fighting Championships 15.
3: Full rounds with Jeff Curran, who dealt him the first loss of his career. Assuncao dropped a majority decision at XFO 13: Operation Beatdown.
5: Consecutive wins after suffering his first setback. Assuncao wasn’t broken after tasting defeat for the first time as he bounced back with five wins, including a split decision over Yves Jabouin.
14: Fights in smaller promotions before he was signed by World Extreme Cagefighting. In his debut at WEC 40, Assuncao fought Jameel Massouh and scored a unanimous decision victory.
5: Fights in WEC. After his triumphs over Massouh and Jabouin, he fought Urijah Faber, who had just dropped a decision to Mike Brown in a featherweight title bout. Assuncao lost to Faber via a rear-naked choke. After that, he went 1-1 and was subsequently signed by the UFC.
13: Fights in the UFC, with a record of 11-2. His two losses came at the hands of Erik Koch and Dillashaw, whom he had previously defeated. Currently, he is ranked no. 3 in the official UFC bantamweight rankings.
100: Significant strikes landed on Pedro Munhoz. His personal best striking output in the Octagon happened at UFC 170, where he also landed three takedowns.
3: Weight divisions in which he has fought in. Apart from bantamweight where he now competes, Assuncao also fought at featherweight and lightweight, where he debuted.
14: Finishes in his professional career. He has a total of 10 wins by submission and four via knockout.
1: Fight of the Night award. Assuncao engaged in a back-and-forth brawl with Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 29. As a result of the exciting bout, they were given the post-fight bonus.
36: Years of age. He was originally from Recife, the capital of Pernambuco in Northeast Brazil. Currently, he lives and trains in Atlanta, Georgia, with Ascension MMA under legendary fighter, Manu N'toh.