Bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes is hoping to end his poor streak at UFC 266.
After two brutal defeats by TKO in his last outings, ‘Magic’ is now paired with up-and-coming competitor Merab Dvalishvili, against whom the Brazilian hopes to score a finish in order to get back on his feet.
In an interview with Combate, Moraes revealed taking inspiration from two black UFC horses who ended up changing their careers and becoming champions: Charles Oliveira and Jan Blachowicz. In Marlon’s opinion, both athletes taught him that losing is not a problem, as long as a fighter can learn from losses and bounce back.
“The biggest motivation I have during tough times is my family,” Moraes said. “It’s not over. There’s still a lot to come. I’m very well prepared for this fight and I’ll show it to everyone. It’s like sometimes telling people, I’ve seen Charles Oliveira and Jan Blachowicz going through that.I see them as role models for me to go out there and do the same.
“We are fighting among the best,” continued Marlon. “Always at the top of the division. Myself and the guys I mentioned have all lost, but against tough guys. We have to make each day our day. Sometimes it’s not your day, but you have to do your part to make it happen. “
Now paired with a powerful wrestler in Dvalishvili, Marlon is already expecting an intriguing clash of styles at UFC 266. Known for his Muay Thai, Moraes is hoping to finish Merab, but being a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Magic warns his opponent not to underestimate his ground skills as well.
“He’s a tough guy,” Moraes said. “A good wrestler, with good cardio and who walks forward, but I’m ready. I had a great camp for this fight. Comparing my skills to his, I’m a much better striker and intend to fight him on the feet. If he falls to the ground, I can also be dangerous there. I hope I can finish this fight. I think he has a lot of fights in the UFC, but I have a lot of tough fights. We will compare his past with mine on Saturday. He is part of the new generation, a tough guy in the promotion. We will fight and see how far he can go.
Currently on a losing skid of two fights, Moraes (23-8-1) got a TKO by Rob Font and Cory Sandhagen in his last outings. Prior to that, the 33-year-old had won a narrow split-decision victory over former featherweight champion Jose Aldo in December 2019.
Now Moraes is set to face Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 266 on September 25 in Las Vegas. The card is expected to be titled with a featherweight title fight between champion Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Brian Ortega.