Marlon Moraes successfully defended his World Series of Fighting bantamweight with a third-round submission over Sheymon Moraes at Saturday’s WSOF 22 in Las Vegas, but a cut almost ruined everything for him.
Moraes, who improved to 8-0 under the WSOF banner with the rear-naked choke finish, told MMAFighting.com after the fight he suffered a deep cut between his eyes two weeks before his second title defense.
"I was sparring and got hit with an accidental knee," Moraes said. "I was worried because Sheymon always throws a lot of knees and elbows, and there was a chance he would open that cut again in the fight. It was a deep cut, around eight stitches. I was worried, but that made me stronger for the fight. Nothing was going to stop me, and I was going to defend my title."
The bantamweight champion never considered pulling out of the fight, though.
"Many athletes would have pulled out from a fight, and I thought that knee also broke my nose, but I didn’t want to find out," he said with a laugh. "I just got it stitched and went for the fight."
Riding a 10-fight winning streak, Moraes wants to go 3-0 in 2015, and is open to a fight with WSOF featherweight champion Lance Palmer next.
"I want to fight one more time this year," he said. "I’m healthy, so I can fight again in two or three months. Whenever they want me back, I will be ready to put on a great fight for them.
"I don’t know who’s next. It’s up to them. Maybe a super fight. I just want to fight. I showed them I go in there and fight. I have eight fights at WSOF and finished four of them, and those that went the distance were the best fights of the night."
Moraes received the biggest check after WSOF 22, earning a $140,000 payday for his eighth promotional victory, and he believes that shows WSOF is among the biggest promotions in the world.
"That opens a lot of doors for fighters to come to WSOF, and that’s what I want," the champion said of his big payday. "I want UFC fighters to come to WSOF so I can prove I’m one of the best in the world. The tougher the challenge, more I will train, more techniques I will use. I want to fight the best."