Cory Sandhagen makes statement, stops Marlon Moraes at UFC Fight Island 5
The UFC octagon was on Saturday for UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen on "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi. It was the third event in a row in the EAU as part of the five-event run of Combat Promotion on Yas Island.
The best placed bantamweight Marlon Moraes meets Cory Shandhagen in the main event of the fight card in 4th place. Moraes, a former title challenger and WSOF bantamweight champion, entered the bout after winning five of his last six bouts. Sandhagen wanted to recover from a defeat in second place by Aljamain Sterling in his last game.
Sandhagen made a statement by finishing Moraes early in the second round. Both fighters had their moments in the opening frame. Sandhagen regularly changed posture and moved sideways outwards. Moraes wanted to land counterstrikes and connected himself with a pair of right hands. Neither of the two fighters had a clear edge by the end of the first frame.
In the second round, Sandhagen landed a kick that instantly caused swelling under Moraes' eye. In front of a deserted venue, Sandhagen said: "His orbital is broken."
Moments later, Sandhagen threw a push, followed by a recoil that made Moraes fall. Sandhagen followed the Brazilian onto the canvas and finished with a series of right hands.
"That means hard work during quarantine when you can't go to the gym and all you can meet is the bob. I added that to my game at a strange time. Always work. Hard work pays off," said Sandhagen the kick that led to the goal.
With the win, Sandhagen wants to fight for the title on his next outing. Champion Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling are expected to meet later this year and "The Sandman" will face the winner.
"The only other guys who have an argument are TJ (Dillashaw) when he comes back in January and Frankie (Edgar). All the respect for these two guys, but I want that belt. I want the belt and that is the only ones I want the winner from (Petr) Yan and (Aljamain) Sterling, "he said.
In the co-main event, former lightweight Edson Barboza won his first featherweight victory by unanimously defeating Makwan Amirkhani.
RELATED> UFC Fight Island 5: Moraes vs. Sandhagen live results
In the opening frame, both fighters carefully chose when to take offense. Barboza bandaged himself with his kicks and Amirkhani responded with counter blows. As the lap neared its end, Barboza landed a hard kick in the body. Amirkhani drove forward quickly and secured a takedown.
In the second round, Barboza Amirkhani dominated. He dropped "Mr. Finland" twice with straight right hands. In the last few moments, Amirkhani secured a takedown like in the first frame.
Amirkhani was able to put Barboza on his back early in the third round but couldn't take enough push to keep him there. The referee set them up for inaction and Barboza returned to national strikes. Seconds before the end of the round, Baroza held up his hands in victory.
"I was expecting just that. He tried to move a little, tried to make me fall, but I'm always ready. I'm very happy. I'm very, very happy to get my W", said Barboza the victory.
With his first featherweight win, Barboza challenged a high level opponent for his next fight. His goal is to get to a title shot and become the 145 pound champion.
"I want to be a champion. I'm here to be a champion. Folks, I'm ready to be a champion. Please give me a top 5, top 6, whatever. I'm ready," said Barboza. "Everyone. Top five, top six. I'm ready to go."
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