In the midst of a stacked UFC 238 card, the main event title fight may not get the attention it truly deserves. Neither Henry Cejudo or Marlon Moraes is known for having massive fan bases. If anything, several MMA fans regularly define both as “cringe”. Cejudo has embraced the cringe using “#Cringejudo” frequently in his tweets. Moraes, for many fans, is equally “cringe” though he seems to be more oblivious to people viewing him that way. Both fighters demonstrate an arrogance that comes off awkward to many MMA fans. Unfortunately, the result may be various MMA fans undermining the level of skill this matchup yields.
A post shared by Henry Cejudo (@henry_cejudo) on Apr 20, 2019 at 11:12am PDT
As we all know (because he reminds us every chance he gets) Cejudo is a 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in Freestyle wrestling. Not only did he win a gold medal, but he also won it as a huge underdog a year after placing dead last in the 2007 World Championships. Cejudo had worse than 100-1 odds to win Olympic Gold in 2008. At the time he was the youngest Olympic gold medalist for wrestling in US history. Team captain Daniel Cormier, unfortunately, was pulled from competition due to complications from his weight cut. Ben Askren fell considerably short of his goal to win Olympic gold, only able to win one match. Only 3 American wrestlers were able to medal in 2008, Cejudo is not only the single gold medal winner but also the only medal winner of the men’s freestyle team. Cejudo’s success is one of the most celebrated stories of the 2008 Olympics, not to mention the history of USA wrestling.
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A post shared by Henry Cejudo (@henry_cejudo) on Mar 11, 2019 at 3:18pm PDT
Moraes started Thai Boxing at 7 years old and was a 2X national champion of Brazil in his youth. He started his BJJ journey at age 15 and had his first MMA fight only 4 years later. Though Cejudo has a much more decorated wrestling resume than Moraes in Thai Boxing or BJJ, it should be recognized that his young start in MMA may be an advantage over Cejudo. After a 5-4-1 start to his MMA career, Moraes is 17-1 in his last 18 fights dating back to 2011. His only loss in those last 18 fights was a close split decision loss to Rafael Assuncao in his UFC debut. In his last fight, the one that earned him his title fight, he avenged that loss with a first-round performance of the night finish. Outside of his UFC debut loss, Moraes has steamrolled nearly everybody he’s fought.
A post shared by 🎩 〽️agic 〽️arlon 〽️oraes (@mmarlonmoraes) on May 19, 2019 at 6:28am PDT
The most recent fight on Moraes’s resume that sparks my curiosity is the John Dodson fight. Dodson, a previous flyweight known for his quickness/speed, proved to be very problematic for Moraes though he was able to squeak away with a split decision victory. Because of Dodson’s movement and speed, Moraes was caught multiple times putting his fingers out and “accidentally” eye poking Dodson, frustrating Dodson to the point he spent much of the fight complaining to the referee for Moraes’s tactics. It was very apparent the reason Moraes kept doing that throughout the fight was Dodson’s in & out movement was hard to deal with and that tactic helped keep Dodson from being able to lunge in quickly and land punches in his range. Many thought it would have been warranted to deduct Moraes a point, which surely would have swayed the victory to Dodson. Cejudo has a similar level of speed which I imagine will pose problems for Moraes. I’m curious how Moraes will handle Cejudo’s movement on the feet, especially now that Cejudo has recently embraced the Wonderboy-like karate stance for his standup game. The ex-factor Dodson couldn’t provide was the wrestling pedigree, which really makes things interesting.
A post shared by 🎩 〽️agic 〽️arlon 〽️oraes (@mmarlonmoraes) on May 13, 2019 at 4:05am PDT
Both fighters are on 4 fight win streaks. After the Dodson victory, Moraes has 3 devastating first-round finishes, all performance of the night winners. In the meantime, Cejudo has beaten two of the greatest mixed martial artists in history; Demetrious Johnson (2018 upset of the year) and TJ Dillashaw (2-time UFC Bantamweight champion). The win over Dillashaw is probably even more impressive knowing he was using EPO for an edge. The current odds favor Moraes but not by much, on average he’s a -125 favorite with Cejudo around +105. I believe this fight is as unpredictable as the odds display, unlike some of the other marquee fights on the card that have massive favorites (like Shevchenko & Suarez). Will Moraes have another performance of the night first-round finish? Will Cejudo once again shock the world and change from “The Messenger” to “Triple C”? June 8th we get our answer.
A post shared by Henry Cejudo (@henry_cejudo) on Mar 27, 2019 at 4:25pm PDT
Jason Marlowe, UnknownMMA