A pivotal bantamweight rematch is in the works for early 2019.
Top UFC bantamweight contenders Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes are being targeted to headline a Feb. 2 event in Fortaleza, Brazil. MMA Fighting confirmed the pairing Thursday following an initial report by ESPN. The rematch between Assuncao and Moraes has not yet been officially signed, but that is the fight planned.
In addition, Assuncao has re-signed with the promotion on a new four-fight deal that begins with UFC Fortaleza, per sources.
Assuncao and Moraes are the No. 3 and No. 4 ranked contenders on the UFC’s official media-generated rankings, respectively. Assuncao previously defeated Moraes via narrow split decision in the latter’s Octagon debut in June 2017 at UFC 212.
In total, Assuncao (27-5) has won 11 of his last 12 fights dating back to mid-2011. Included during that run is a win over current UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, as well as victories over ranked contenders Moraes, Aljamain Sterling, Bryan Caraway, Rob Font, and Pedro Munhoz. The 36-year-old Brazilian has not fought in his native Brazil since his first meeting against Moraes, which took place in Rio de Janeiro.
Moraes (21-5-1), meanwhile, has rebounded from his setback against his countryman to rattle off three straight UFC wins, highlighted by back-to-back highlight-reel knockouts of Sterling and Jimmie Rivera — the former of which took 67 seconds, and the latter of which took just 33 seconds. A longtime World Series of Fighting champion, the 30-year-old Moraes also picked up a split decision Octagon win over John Dodson.
Who wins the rematch?
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