UFC Utica: Marlon Moraes KO’s Jimmie Rivera in 33 seconds with Head Kick
That’s all it took for Marlon Moraes to dispatch with the supremely talented Jimmie Rivera at UFC Utica held on June 2 (June 1 in the US). This bout was hotly anticipated and widely considered the final eliminator for the number one contender spot at Bantamweight, where current champion TJ Dillashaw is preparing to rematch Cody Garbrandt on August 4th.
Jimmie Rivera is an extremely talented fighter and going in to the bout with Moraes boasted an incredible 20 fight winning streak, having not lost in almost ten years. Rivera has been blighted with bad luck in his career, battling with injuries and issues with opponents, most notably with former champion Dominick Cruz pulling out of their scheduled fight in 2017.
Marlon Moraes however has been in similarly scintillating form, knotching up some scary KO wins over perennial contenders at 135lbs. He needed just 33 seconds to display his terrifying power to the world, and more importantly to the temple of Jimmie Rivera.
Moraes took a few seconds to measure distance, widening his stance, then threw an impeccably times switch kick to the exposed head of Rivera. It landed perfectly, and though Rivera attempted to compose himself, Moraes followed it up with some hammer fists to the curled up Rivera, and that was all she wrote.
It was a phenomenally impressive win for Moraes, who has put himself in the undeniable position of number one contender. He will likely await the winner of Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2, and fight for the biggest prize in MMA, the UFC Championship.
In a fairly flat UFC card overall, the other major standout performance came from the self-proclaimed ‘best fisherman in MMA’, Gregor Gillespie. The undefeated grappling phenom utterly destroyed his opponent Vinc Pichel in beautifully destructive display of elite Jiu Jitsu.
Gillespie showed his masterful top control, in addition to his vast toolbox of submissions, eventually submitting Pichel in a gorgeous Arm Triangle Choke which he was able to finish while in half-guard. Impressive stuff from the 4 time NCAA state wrestling champion.
It’s unquestionably time for Gillespie to face a ranked opponent, and in the most stacked division in MMA, Lighweight, that means that we could be in for an absolute blockbuster fight later in the year featuring the native New Yorker.
Gregor Gillespie vs. Justin Gaethje anyone?