After a long back-and-forth, these two top bantamweights are finally fighting each other for real. The whole thing played out in front of us all on Twitter, complete with trash talk and even public contract posting. Jimmie Rivera said he was moving on from Marlon Moraes and concentrating on Dominick Cruz, but it looks like plans have changed. The two will clash in the main event of UFC Utica on the very first of June.
Utica, your main event is SET❗
— UFC (@ufc) February 28, 2018
Marlon Moraes has been on a warpath for years now. Raphael Assuncao snapped his 13-fight win-streak in a close split-decision, but after that he’s won two fights in a row against John Dodson and Aljamain Sterling. There is nowhere for the former WSOF bantamweight champion to go but further up after that. Meanwhile, Jimmie Rivera hasn’t lost since 2008 and keeps knocking on the door for a title shot. With both men respectively ranked No. 4 (Rivera) and No. 5 (Moraes), whoever comes out on top in June has to only be one or two fights away from the UFC bantamweight title.
This looks like it will be a great kickoff for the beginning of Summer. Just a week later, UFC 225 will drop in Chicago. Following that, it looks like so far we’ll get a break before the gigantic UFC 226 card in July featuring Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic’s superfight. However, expect more cards to be announced between now and then. It’s not like the UFC to have nearly a month in-between cards.
The UFC Utica card so far.
Marlon Moraes vs. Jimmie Rivera
Sijara Eubanks vs. Lauren Murphy
Walt Harris vs. Daniel Spitz
Hector Sandoval vs. Jarred Brooks
Gregor Gillespie vs. Vinc Pichel
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/28/2018.