Marlon Moraes maintained his stranglehold as the No. 1 contender in the bantamweight division, taking a split nod over former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo at UFC 245 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Moraes opened the fight with his blistering speed, immediately going after Aldo with lightning quick punches and kicks. He landed an early head kick that got Aldo’s attention.
True to form, Aldo never backed down, eventually rocking Moraes late in the round.
Though there was a lot of doubt about Aldo dropping down another weight class – he looked rather gaunt in many pre-fight photos – he kept pressing forward throughout the fight, though he certainly had some issues with Moraes’s speed.
Moraes countered well and darted out of danger for the better part of the fight, earning a 29-28 decision from two of the judges, while the third scored it the same 29-28 in favor of Aldo.
It was a tough welcome to the bantamweight division for the former 145-pound champion, who has now lost his last two fights and four of his last six.
For Moraes, it further cements his status as the top contender in the division, though he lost to current champion Henry Cejudo at UFC 238 earlier this year.