The rivalry between bantamweight contenders Marlon Moraes and Jimmie Rivera simmered for months, but when the two met in the UFC Fight Night main event at Adirondack Bank Center in Utica on Friday night, Moraes needed just 33 seconds to put it to rest, as he scored a stunning first-round knockout victory over Rivera.
“I’m ready,” said Moraes. “I want to fight for the UFC bantamweight title.”
With a 3-1 record in the Octagon in less than a year, including back-to-back highlight reel knockouts, the Brazilian has made a strong case for a shot against the winner of the upcoming rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt.
Less than 30 seconds into the fight, Moraes fired off his first shot with bad intentions, and his thudding left high kick clipped Rivera high on the head and sent him to the canvas. Rivera tried to spin his way out of trouble, but Moraes was already on top of him, landing a series of right hands that ended the bout, with referee Dan Miragliotta stepping in to officially call a halt to the match.
With the win, the No. 5-ranked Moraes moves to 21-5-1. The No. 4-ranked Rivera, who saw his 20-fight winning streak snapped, falls to 21-2.
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