Former WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes didn’t get off to the greatest of starts in the UFC, as he dropped a split decision to countryman Raphael Assuncao on his promotional debut in June.
Moraes has quickly turned things around, however, picking up impressive back to back wins against John Dodson and Aljamain Sterling, the latter of which came in brutal fashion on Saturday night in Fresno, California.
The Brazilian veteran needed just 67 seconds to render Sterling unconscious at UFC Fight Night 123, a knee to the head causing the ‘Funk Master’ to collapse face-first to the canvas. Moraes didn’t even consider a follow up assault and just walked away waving his hands in the air, seemingly mimicking a referee halting a fight.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 10, 2017
The 29-year-old Moraes, who has now won 15 of his last 16 fights, moved to 20-5-1 as a professional with the KO.
Sterling remained on the deck for a worrying length of time after the knockout and was later transported to hospital(via Ariel Helwani). Thankfully, the 28-year-old New Yorker provided a positive update regarding his health several hours later in a classy post that also gave credit to Moraes.
“Hats off to Marlon,” wrote Sterling on Twitter. “Thought I timed the [takedown] perfectly and he was able to land a nasty knee. Sucks to be the nail, but this is the fight game. I’m ok for all those asking.”
Hats off to Marlon. Thought I timed the TD perfectly and he was able to land a nasty knee. Sucks to be the nail, but this is the fight game. I'm ok for all those asking ??
— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) December 10, 2017
Sterling had a tough 2016, only making one trip to the octagon and dropping a split decision to Bryan Caraway. This year didn’t begin well for the Serra – Longo fighter either, as he lost another split decision to the aforementioned Assuncao in January. Sterling bounced back, however, scoring two solid decision wins over Augusto Mendes and former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao. But the momentum he built with those victories was violently halted by Moraes on Saturday night. He now drops to 14-3 as a professional and 6-3 in the UFC.