UFC Fight Night 131 Preview

ufc-fn131There has been a long list of fighters who have been unable to crack the UFC roster for any number of reasons.

Many have been simply not good enough while others have had a bit of tension with those who run the promotion.

For whatever reason, not every fighter gets their chance in the UFC and that continues to be a hit to their legacy.

It hasn’t been much of a secret that the UFC is home to the best fighters in the world and the toughest competition.

Although some promotions are looking to catch up, namely Bellator, the UFC still holds the crown as the top promotion of the MMA world, at least in terms of talent alone.

Every fighter wants to test themselves against the best but only a few actually get their shot with some remaining on the outside.

That can lead to fighters never getting their chance despite the fact that they seem to have the talent to compete in the UFC.

Those names are few and far between as only a couple of fighters have actually been considered as the best fighters not in the UFC.

When they don’t get their shot their legacy as a great always has that one asterisk, they were great but how would they be against the best in the world?

It is a question that haunts a few fighters and one of the fighters that was at risk of having to answer that question was Marlon Moraes.

For years he was one of the top fighters in the world, considered to be a top-ranked Bantamweight throughout the world regardless of promotion.

The only problem is that he was stuck in a promotion that was pretty low down on the totem pole of top promotions.

The World Series of Fighting was always a part of the mix and had talented fighters but it was never a big competitor with the UFC and Bellator.

They were one of the few that got some exposure though as a deal with NBC Sports Network gave them a place to show their talent.

Still, NBCSN was never a major player and although the talent was showcased they still didn’t know the biggest stars.

For that reason, they couldn’t survive and a new ownership group bought them out, that new ownership group will be starting the Professional Fighters League in June of this year.

That re-organization changed things in a big way as the organization stripped all champions of their belts to start over which left a few of those “what if” fighters out there.

One was Justin Gaethje who has already made a pretty big impression and another was Moraes who entered the UFC riding a 13-fight win streak and five straight title defences.

He was one of the best in the world and when he was brought in it was thought that he was on a pretty straight path to the title.

Then that “what if” question was answered when his first fight in the UFC resulted in his first loss since 2011.

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For six years he had never tasted defeat but that extra level in the UFC seemed to be too much for him.

To many, it was just proof that the UFC is a completely different animal and that not every fighter is built to deal with that animal.

The loss to Raphael Assunção was a shock for a guy that had beaten everyone and easily walked through most at the WSOF.

It was what so many thought and that probably bothered Moraes more than anything else as he was officially a guy that couldn’t hang with the best.

It seemed to motivate him and his next two fights proved that he just might have what it takes to be a contender.

He beat John Dodson in a split decision and then Aljamain Sterling with a first-round knockout.

He seems to be just finding his groove after the shock to the system that was his UFC debut, and now he looks to take another step.

Moraes will take on the #4 ranked fighter in the division, Jimmie Rivera looking to continue to prove that he belongs among the best.

An impressive win could put him back in the title conversation and prove that he is one of the best in the world.

He will constantly have that hanging over his head and until he gets back to what everyone thought he was he will need to prove he is a UFC fighter.

That is going to be tough but his main event at UFC Fight Night 131 could go a long way to getting him to that point.

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