Marlon Moraes vs Henry Cejudo: UFC 238 Fight Tips and Predictions

Jason Paglia

Thursday, June 6, 2019 8:25 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 6, 2019 8:25 PM UTC

Join our UFC expert, Jason Paglia while he breaks down the Main Event of the UFC 238: Marlon Moraes vs Henry Cejudo.

<p> </p><div><h2 style="text-align:center">UFC: 238 Main Event<br />Marlon Moraes vs Henry Cejudo</h2><p style="text-align:center"><a href="" target="_blank" title="Cejudo vs Moraes Odds Board"><strong>04:57 - Sunday 9<sup>th</sup>, Jun 2019</strong></a></p><p>The ‘Squared Up’ series has predicted 6 of the last 7 fights correctly and we are hungry for more. Saturday night’s Main Event at UFC: 238 has not made it easy for us though. The entire fight card is stacked and, the fight that closes the show between Marlon Moraes and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is no different. Although Cejudo is the flyweight champion, both fighters will fight for the <a href="" target="_blank" title="UFC Weight Classes &amp; Rising Stars">bantamweight</a> strap due to TJ Dillishaw testing positive for PED’s and being forced to vacate his title. I have railed on matchmaker Sean Shelby over and over again in these articles, but he has put together a phenomenal card, this fight especially. Enough talk, let’s get it.</p><p> </p><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>MARLON MORAES (22-5-1) VS HENRY CEJUDO (14-2) </strong></h2><p> </p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="" style="width:600px;height:400px" /></p><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Marlon Moraes</strong></h2><p>Moraes comes into this fight on Saturday ranked the #1 Bantamweight contender in the world and it’s easy to see why. Marlon Moraes started Thai boxing at 7 years old and by the end of his Thai boxing career he was a two-time Brazilian national champion. At 15 years old he fell in love with Brazilian Jiu – Jitsu and currently holds a black belt under renowned BJJ trainer, Ricardo Almeida. He took those tools, pursued MMA and finally turned pro in 2007. By 2012 he got his first real break, fighting for the World Series of Fighting. He would reel 11 consecutive victories off for the promotion and the UFC took notice. Finally in 2017 he signed with biggest MMA promotion in the world and continued to dominate. Since signing with the UFC, he has won 4 of his first 5 fights and now finds himself on the doorstep of immortality this Saturday in Chicago, Illinois. Below is Marlon Moraes by the numbers.</p><ul> <li><strong><u>Stats</u>:</strong></li></ul><p><strong><img alt src="" style="width:600px;height:116px" /></strong></p><ul> <li><strong><u>Pros</u>:</strong></li></ul><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (Marlon Moraes’ striking is vicious. He is accuracy is deadly, and he has the power in every limb to put you to sleep. It’s absolutely beautiful to watch.)</p><p>• <strong>Speed</strong> (Most bantamweights are fast. Most bantamweights have great hand speed, but Moraes is one of the fastest and his muscle twitch reaction is ridiculous. It’s worth noting that Cejudo is just as fast.)</p><p>• <strong>Brazilian Jiu Jitsu</strong> (Although he would rather stand and pummel you to death, his ground game is legit. Takedowns are a different story, he is actually weak there but that is a different skill. In scrambles and when he is on the mat, his BJJ is on point. Anyone that has a black belt under Ricardo Almeida knows how to get submissions off. His six submission victories show that.)</p><p>• <strong>Legs</strong> (Normally I would say what I needed to say about his kicks under striking, BUT let’s take a minute to talk about those legs. They are insanely powerful for a little man. It looks like he is chopping wood with an axe anytime he throws them. In his 5 fights in the UFC, he already has 2 highlight reel knockout’s with his legs. That is absurd, and I don’t mean TKO, I mean out f*****g cold.)</p><ul> <li><strong><u>Cons</u>:</strong></li></ul><p>• <strong>Takedowns</strong> (When I checked the metrics, I was surprised. Only 1 out of every 4 takedowns Moraes attempts are successful. It could be a low sample size because he loves to keep the fight standing, or he could just be bad at it. It is worth noting that just because his wrestling / takedowns are weak doesn’t mean he isn’t a killer on the mat because he is.)</p><p>• <strong>Inactivity/Pace</strong> (Although it hasn’t cost Moraes a fight yet, he has a problem at times with pacing. He gets lulled into fighting at his opponents pace, and that is not a successful long term strategy. It happened in the Assuncao fight, and it happened in the Dodson fight. He went 1-1 in those fights. He HAS to set the pace he wants, regardless of what his opponents are doing. This could happen against Cejudo.)</p><p>• <strong>Takedown Defense</strong> (Other than pacing, this is going to be the biggest problem for Moraes on Saturday night. He stuffs 6 out of every 10 takedowns attempted against the average UFC fighter. Now he faces a wrestler that is an Olympic Champion. The saving grace for Moraes is Henry has become MUCH more confident in his striking. He knocked out TJ with his striking and also gave Mighty Mouse problems. Cejudo’s striking skills are now light years better than when he started. BUT IF he decides to go to the well and take Moraes down, he will do so anytime he sees fit. Moraes is good on the mat, but we don’t know how good he is off his back. Add an Olympic World Champion with sick top control raining down GnP and that presents a BIG PROBLEM FOR MORAES.)</p><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Henry Cejudo</strong></h2><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="" style="width:600px;height:344px" /></p><p>In many ways Henry Cejudo is what the ‘American Dream’ is all about. He came from parents that were undocumented immigrants trying to find their way in the world. Dad left because he was a drug addict and somehow through it all, Cejudo found himself in the sport of wrestling. In high school Cejudo won the national freestyle wrestling tournament and was instantly shipped to the USA Olympic Training Center. In 2008 after years of hard work, Henry Cejudo would go on to win the gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the Summer Olympics in Beijing.</p><p>In 2013 he began his mixed martial arts training and turned professional. He fought on the regional scene and finally got his opportunity to fight in the UFC, December of 2014. While in the UFC he has amassed an 8-2 record, but it was two wins in particular that took the MMA world by storm. Many considered Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson to be one of the best MMA fighters in the history of the sport. At UFC: 227 after Johnson had defended his title a dozen times, Cejudo finally beat the unbeatable fighter and won the flyweight championship. He followed that insane victory with another victory, this time over bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. Now Cejudo, (an underdog again) steps in the Octagon against Marlon Moraes. Does he continue the magic? We will find out Saturday. Below is Henry Cejudo by the numbers.</p><ul> <li><strong><u>Stats</u>:</strong></li></ul><p><img alt src="" style="width:602px;height:117px" /></p><p> </p><ul> <li><strong><u>Pros</u>:</strong></li></ul><p>• <strong>Wrestling</strong> (It is literally Olympic Champion level wrestling…. Do I really need to continue?)</p><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (Henry Cejudo’s striking is finally at a high level. Even though he is a UFC world champion, is it the best in the UFC? No it isn’t, but it’s now in the same stratosphere, and considering where he was in 2013, it is incredible how dangerous his striking is.)</p><p>• <strong>Takedown Defense </strong>(It is almost impossible to take him down to the ground unless he wants to be there. His takedown defense is 90%. There is that Olympic champion wrestling thing again….)</p><p>• <strong>Cardio</strong> ( Henry Cejudo has stamina for days. The training he has gone through his entire life made his body a machine. He has been in 5 round fights and he looked excellent in the 5th round. A lack of stamina will not beat Henry Cejudo.)</p><ul> <li><strong><u>Cons</u>:</strong></li></ul><p>• <strong>Inactivity</strong> (Henry Cejudo is many things. He is lightning fast, he is an all-time wrestler, and he is now a high level striker but, all those attributes aside, his volume is low. This is a big problem I see for Henry if this fight goes the distance. He isn’t busy enough on the feet. If this fight is going to stay on the feet for the majority of the fight. If he decides to take this fight to the ground he can steal rounds that way but, if this is a pure boxing exhibition, his inactivity could be an issue.</p><p>• <strong>BJJ/Submissions</strong> (Almost nobody in the history of this sport has achieved what Henry Cejudo has achieved without having one submission victory in his professional career. It’s almost like a master carpenter going to work without an important tool in his toolbox. Amazingly, it has worked for him thus far but in my book, it is and will always be a CON until he gets his s**t together and becomes a more well-rounded MMA fighter.)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="" style="width:600px;height:332px" /></p><p><strong>THE VERDICT</strong></p><p>The two breakdowns for UFC:238 have been the hardest choices that I have had to make since starting the ‘Squared Up’ series. We weren’t able to make a selection in the co-main event breakdown because there wasn’t any value in taking Shevchenko, even though I did my best to break it down for you guys and give you an honest opinion of how I thought the fight would go. So here we are again, I have told you everything you need to know about these two fighters going into Saturday’s main event.</p><p>At this point you are asking yourself, so what is the play Jay? I don’t know which fighter wins this fight. It is razor thin. If we are going purely off the number, Henry Cejudo has done enough in this sport to be the favorite in this fight. The fact that he is 1/1 (2.00) right now is very telling. The oddsmaker and the market thinks he deserves to be the dog and I disagree. Marlon Moraes is a killer, I love everything about him and he is one of my favorite bantamweights BUT, who has he really beat?</p><p>An old Raphael Assuncao (once), Jimmy Rivera (who hasn’t looked himself in 2 years), John Dodson ( who is on the back nine of his career) and an Aljamian Sterling (who still hasn’t reached his potential). Can Marlon Moraes win this fight? YES. Has he fought anyone as talented as Henry Cejudo? NO.</p><p>I have been Henry Cejudo’s biggest critic. I am not wrong often when it comes to this sport, but at every turn I have bet against Henry Cejudo. In the Wilson Reis fight, I faded him and HE WON. In the Sergio Pettis fight I faded him , HE WON. Against ‘Might Mouse’, the best MMA fighter of this generation (that’s not named Jon Jones), HE WON. Against a juiced up TJ Dillishaw, who was the #4 pound for pound fighter in the world at the time, HE WON.</p><p>The days of fading Henry Cejudo are over for me, no matter how impressed I am with Marlon Moraes, Cejudo has more avenues to win this fight. So, if you are planning on <a href="" target="_blank" title="Fighting Odds">betting a side</a> in this fight, I would suggest Henry Cejudo or pass.</p><p>However, that is not my pick. Since both fighters are capable of winning this fight, why pick a side? Everything we have seen from these guys the last two years tells me this fight is not going the distance.</p><p>25 minutes is a long time when Cejudo and Moraes are standing in front of each other throwing bombs. Do I think both fighters will avoid those bombs for 25 minutes? Not a chance.</p><p><strong>THE PICK:</strong></p><ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="More UFC/MMA Betting Tips">Fight ends inside the distance at 5/8 (1.62)</a></li></ul></div>
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