By: Jesse Donathan
There didn’t appear to be an empty seat in the house Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 144 in Fontaleza, Ceara, Brazil. The main event saw Raphael Assuncao (27-6) lose to the surging Marlon Moraes by submission in the first round of the 135-pound bantamweight division featured contest. “Magic” Moraes (22-5) has won four in a row, bringing an end to Assuncao’s own four fighting winning-streak, securing victory in front of the packed house with a mounted guillotine choke. The finish was set up by some vicious striking from Moraes, creating a scramble with Assuncao that culminated in the fight hitting the mat and Moraes wrapping up his opponent like an Anaconda, constricting his opponents will to fight. Resistance proved to be futile, coaxing the tap at 3:17 into the first round.
As reported in a cbssports.com article titled, “UFC Fight Night 144 results, highlights: Marlon Moraes makes quick work of Raphael Assuncao” by Brian Campbell, “Magic” went on to state after the bout, “You almost lost the main event. I had diarrhea all week bad.” According to Moraes, “I caught the mosquito here and it messed me up bad. “It was a very tough week for me. I was really tested and it was really God that made me come here tonight.”
Catching the mosquito, an apparent allusion to Malaria perhaps? Bringing into focus some of the hurdles professional fighters face beyond just having to worry about another trained killer attempting to separate them from consciousness in the ring or cage. If true, the fact Moraes was able to secure victory Saturday night is no small feat to have accomplished, bordering on the incredible in fact.
The Co-main event saw mixed martial arts legend Jose Aldo compete against Renato “Moicano” Carneiro in what was reported to have been the originally planned main event for UFC Fight Night 144 before Aldo is said to have declined to participate in the mandatory five round affair. Round one proved to be a feeling out process for Aldo, who remained rather disciplined in his approach, pumping the jab throughout the round in an attempt to control the distance against the lengthier “Moicano” who was the far more active fighter throughout the first five minutes.
Round two saw the former UFC champion turn up the volume. Ditching the more disciplined approach from round one, Aldo went right after Carneiro with a blitzkrieg style offensive barrage of punches and knees. “Moicano” was overwhelmed, unable to turn the tide of Aldo’s relentlessly high pace, referee Jerin Valel was forced to intervene and call an end to the contest at just 44 seconds into round two. The crowd was ecstatic with the victory, the atmosphere very reminiscent of a World Cup soccer event, with Aldo himself overwhelmed with joy as if a great burden had been lifted off his shoulders.
Leaping over the cage and into a sea of a thrilled spectators, shades of the UFC lightweight champion Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov infamously taking flight up and over the chain link fence at UFC 229 flashed before my eyes. Only Aldo’s intentions were anything but nefarious, showing and receiving great love from those in attendance. This was the true main event at UFC Fight Night 144 and if the crowd’s reaction to Aldo’s TKO victory was any indication of success, the UFC knocked it out of the park with Saturday night’s co-main event.
In other news from UFC Fight Night 144, Demian Maia (26-9) proved to be too much for Lyman Good, who falls to 20-5 overall, succumbing to a rear naked choke at 2:38 into round number one to the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master. In victory, the 41-year-old Maia snaps a three-fight losing streak, having lost to a deaths row of competitors in the welterweight division to include the champion Tyron Woodley, former interim champion Colby Covington and the divisions number one contender Kamaru Usman back-to-back-to-back.
An immense amount of recognition and respect needs to be given to an almost pure Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master for competing at the sports highest level in mixed martial arts competition with what is an almost purely submission-based plan of attack. In an era where conventional wisdom holds that the Royce Gracie’s of the world are a thing of the past, Demian exists to show the experts that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is sill a force to be reckoned with in the modern era. For this reason alone, Demian Maia is a modern-day Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, mixed martial arts hero.
Dana White Says No to McGregor-Diaz III
By Jaime C. Feal
UFC President Dana White has stated he has no interest in a trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz and that he is “moving on.” Between McGregor showing up 30 minutes late and the water bottle throwing fiasco at the UFC 202 press conference, Dana has had his hands full trying to control the drama that surrounds these two fighters. Add in the fact that McGregor was pulled from his originally scheduled rematch with Diaz at UFC 200 for entirely skipping the press conference, and the fact that Diaz is now on McGregor’s pay scale ($2+ million per fight), and this matchup has really started to cause headaches for Uncle Dana.
Furthermore, Jose Aldo, the current interim Featherweight Champion, has been promised a rematch/title unification bout with McGregor or else McGregor will be forced to vacate his UFC Featherweight title. Nate Diaz has stated he doesn’t want to fight again unless it’s the trilogy fight against McGregor, and Conor said after UFC 202 that if Diaz wants a rematch it has to be in the 155 lb. weight division. Dana White even went as far as to say McGregor could fight Eddie Alvarez for the 155 lb. title if he wants. It seems like we have every reason to believe Dana won’t make a trilogy fight, right? Wrong.
Dana White is a glorified spin and hype man. He’s also the UFC’s de facto Public Relations manager. It is his job to divert the fans’ attention away from fights he currently does not want to make. Nate Diaz isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the ability for the UFC to cash in on that fight. But the UFC Featherweight Division needs to get sorted out and Jose Aldo needs a chance to avenge his 13 second KO loss to McGregor. What Dana is doing is hyping the fight(s) he is going to make next, while having the fans believe the McGregor-Diaz trilogy fight is impossible. Then in a year or two when they’ve cashed in on McGregor-Aldo II and possibly other fights, they’ll make the trilogy fight and cash in big on “The Notorious” Conor McGregor one more time.
Until then, it’s time to sell the McGregor-Aldo rivalry once again, and maximize their earnings by generating interest in that fight as opposed to any other McGregor fight they plan on making down the line. If one thinks Dana is truly not interested in ever making a third fight between two warriors who deliver action-packed fights and have strong fan-bases, then they also must believe that Dana White does not like money.