Marlon Moraes Edges John Dodson by Split Decision, Calls out Jimmie Rivera for UFC 219

Marlon Moraes gets his first UFC win and now he's gunning for Jimmie Rivera

Marlon Moraes finally got his first UFC win and now he wants another before the end of the year.

Moraes was a highly touted free agent pick up for the UFC earlier this year, but came up short in his debut back in June. This time around, Moraes got the job done in a hard fought split decision against the always tough John Dodson on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night from Norfolk, Virginia.

Moraes was certainly more aggressive to start after a less than impressive performance in his UFC debut but Dodson was more than happy to throw hands with him on the feet.

Moraes was quick with his combinations, finishing with a kick on several occasions but Dodson countered beautifully with a short left that dropped the former World Series of Fighting champion to the mat. Moraes quickly recovered but it was clear that he ate a hard punch as he reset in the center.

Unfortunately Moraes next best strike was a kick directly to the groin that dropped Dodson to the ground in serious pain as the fight was paused for a few moments to allow him to recover.

Upon the restart, Moraes got right back to his kicking game with no fear but a second foul was committed when he caught Dodson with an eye poke that once again paused the fight. Dodson was able to continued as the first round came to an end.

Moraes started to find more success with his counter right hand in the second round, landing several hard shots that kept Dodson at bay. In return, Dodson did a great job catching kicks from Dodson and putting him down on the ground a couple of times before the fighters scrambled back to the feet.

Moraes stayed on the attack and never gave Dodson much room to breathe, even going for a takedown before the horn sounded at the end of the round.

The final five minutes saw Moraes still stay a little more active although both fighters seemed to slow a bit after two high paced rounds to open the fight.

With less than a minute to go in the fight, Moraes engaged in a grappling exchange and eventually grabbed onto a guillotine choke with less than 10 seconds left on the lock. Moraes definitely wanted the finish but Dodson held on until the final horn sounded.

When it was over the fight ended in a split decision with two judges giving the fight 30-27 to Moraes with the third judges going 30-27 for Dodson.

Moraes celebrated his win by making an impassioned plea to face No. 3 ranked bantamweight Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 after his original opponent Dominick Cruz was forced out of the fight due to injury.

“Jimmie Rivera, you have no opponent, I’m here, I’m down,” Moraes shouted at the camera. “It’s me and you, Marlon Moraes and Jimmie Rivera.”

As of yet the UFC hasn’t named a replacement to face Rivera in December and Moraes certainly stated his case to get that opportunity at UFC 219 from Las Vegas.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.