Whenever Houston native Alex Morono travels to Dallas, it’s all business. That’s why he couldn’t be happier to be competing on the UFC 277: Peña vs Nunes 2 card in “Big D” this weekend.
With each of his last five fights taking place in the UFC APEX, Morono welcomes the change of scenery, especially considering it’s just a short three-hour drive from his home in Houston.
Dallas is home to Fortis MMA, where Morono has spent the last four years training under the close tutelage of head coach Sayif Saud. In that time, Morono has gone 7-2 and established himself as fierce competitor in the welterweight division.
“Thankfully, Dallas is a martial arts journey, so I never really get to enjoy the city. Every time I come to Dallas it’s to come to Fortis MMA and train with the guys,” Morono told UFC.com. “It’s always a dogfight and a grind. This city is special for me because it’s only a martial arts city.”
A typical night for Morono at Fortis includes tough rounds on the mat with UFC veterans Diego Ferreira, Ramiz Brahimaj, and Top 15 ranked Geoff Neal. They say iron sharpens iron, and in the case of Morono, he’s seen significant improvements in his game since joining Fortis.
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Morono enters this weekend’s bout with Matthew Semelsberger on a three-fight win streak, which includes impressive wins over Donald Cerrone, David Zawada, and Mickey Gall. A win over Semelsberger would give Morono his best winning streak since joining the UFC back in 2016, and help him continue his climb toward the welterweight rankings.
“When Sean [Shelby] said, ‘We’re trying to put you on the Dallas card,’ I was like, ‘Cool, I will fight anybody.’ Then when they gave me [Semelsberger] I was like, ‘You know, I really like this matchup. It’s a fun fight, it’s a challenging fight,’” Morono said. “He’s got four wins and one loss in the UFC, so it’s a valuable victory, so I’m looking forward to it.”
A fight with Semelsberger has always been on Morono’s radar, as he watched the former college football standout’s quick knockouts of Jason Witt and Martin Sano with a careful eye.
“I watched all of his fights prior just because I’m a fight fan and I watch all the welterweights,” Morono said of Semelsberger. “I remember thinking that I would probably get matched up with him. He’s got a fun style, he likes to stand and strike, and he’s got power in his hands.
“From what I’ve seen in interviews and in his fights, I know the type of person that he is in terms of his work ethic, and I know he’s a hard worker. So, I made sure to really double down and do my work for this fight camp and be ready to match that pace and try to win everywhere I can.”
Part of Morono’s efforts to prepare for Semelsberger included spending extra time working with the aforementioned Neal, who is set to face Vicente Luque at UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill on August 6.
Working with a fighter as talented as Neal pushed Morono to level up before facing “Semi the Jedi” this weekend. He didn’t allow himself to get comfortable, and because of that, he’s more confident than ever that he’ll put an end to Semelsberger’s streak on Saturday.
“This was a very challenging, but very fun, fight camp, but it was hard. It was the hardest camp I’ve had in recent memory, which says a lot because I’ve always maximized preparation,” Morono said. “This one was great, this one was tough. I’m ready to fight on Saturday.”
UFC 277: Peña vs Nunes, took place on Saturday, July 30, 2022 live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards, and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!