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WSOF vacates Marlon Moraes’ belt, books three title fights for WSOF 35

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Marlon Moraes (GC) Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

On the heels of 2016’s year-end show, World Series of Fighting is returning to New York with another championship triple-header at WSOF 35 in Verona, NY. And one of the titles up for grabs on March 18 will be the bantamweight belt long held by 135-pound stud Marlon Moraes, which has since been vacated, according to the promotion.

Moraes, the only bantamweight champion in WSOF history, has defended his strap five times over the course of his undefeated 11-0 WSOF career. The 28-year-old Brazilian has long been considered one of the best fighters under the WSOF umbrella, however Moraes is currently a free agent and is in negotiations with the UFC, sources close to the situation told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, although no deal has yet been finalized.

Nonetheless, it appears that WSOF is expecting Moraes to depart its ranks, as his long-held title will be on the line in a bantamweight fight at WSOF 35 between Timur Valiev (11-2) and Bekbulat Magomedov (17-1) — one of three championship fights headlining the card.

In WSOF 35’s main event, WSOF heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov (14-1) will look to make the third defense of his strap against Shawn Jordan (19-7), a UFC veteran who defeated Ashley Gooch via first-round TKO in his promotional debut last October.

The night’s co-headlining bout features a battle between reigning WSOF featherweight champion Lance Palmer (11-2) and Andre Harrison (15-0), an undefeated prospect who made quick work of Bruce Boyington in his debut at WSOF 34.

WSOF 35 takes places on March 18 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY. The main card will air live on NBC Sports Network.