Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes, two of the UFC’s top bantamweight contenders, will meet for a rematch at UFC Fight Night 144 in their native Brazil on Saturday.
Assuncao vs Moraes is sixth on the main card, which starts at 8 p.m. ET. While it won’t be broadcast nationally on regular cable television in the US, you can watch a live stream of the entire fight card on your computer, phone, or streaming device via ESPN+, the new digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage to dozens of sporting events, including UFC, every week.
You can start a free seven-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of Assuncao vs Moraes and every other Fortaleza fight on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Assuncao vs Moraes 2 Preview
In January, UFC commissioner Dana White indicated that the victor of Saturday’s bout would become the top challenger to T.J. Dillashaw’s bantamweight belt.
“Obviously the Assuncao fight is [for a title shot],” White said, according to MMA News. “That’s a No. 1 contender fight.”
But that was before Dillashaw failed in his attempt to drop to flyweight and hold two belts. A rematch between Dillashaw and flyweight champ Henry Cejudo could put the title shot of tonight’s winner on hold.
“I’m resilient; I’m pretty positive it’s going to work out my way,” Assuncao said, according to MMAjunkie. “I do have the expectation of being in a No. 1 contendership fight. I’ve mentioned and I’ve hoped and I’ve been in this situation many times. Hopefully this time it’s going to work. Right now the task at hand is Marlon Moraes once again. That’s all my focus right now. But obviously in the very back of my mind, I have the contendership fight.”
Assuncao bested Dillashaw in October 2013, then dropped a UFC 200 rematch in July 2016, snapping a seven-fight winning streak that spanned more than five years. It remains his lone loss at bantamweight; he’s 13-1 in the weight class.
Since that loss, Assuncao has won four in a row, including a split-decision victory over Moraes at UFC 212 in June 2017. Most recently, he beat Rob Font via unanimous decision at UFC 226.
“The physical attributes are going to be similar because we know each other physically, but as MMA fighters we are constantly changing and improving and a lot of factors come into play,” Assuncao said, per MMAjunkie. “I don’t think it will be the exact fight. Obviously it will not be the exact fight, but I look at it is a whole different fight. My approach is all different. His approach is probably totally different, so I’m prepared for an all new fight.”
Moraes bounced back from that defeat by topping John Dodson via split decision. Then he scored back-to-back first-round knockouts of Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera, each of which earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.
“I just have to win the fight, you know?” Moraes said of his upcoming bout in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Be decisive and leave no doubt in the head of the judge. … I’m here to fight with one of the best in the division and prove to everybody who is the best.”
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