Violent bantamweight knockout artist Marlon Moraes (23-7, 10 KOs, 6 SUBs) will meet action fighter Rob Font (17-4, 7 KOs, 4 SUBs) at UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal this Saturday, December 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card airs live on ESPN+ starting 5pm ET. In the main event No. 5 welterweight Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (15-4, 7 KOs, 1 SUB) meets the rising Geoff Neal (13-2, 8 KOs, 2 SUBs) in an important divisional pairing. Let’s take a look at UFC odds for Moraes vs. Font and get to your best betting picks.
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We're still waiting for Petyr Yan to defend his title against Aljamain Sterling (another Covid-delayed bout). In the meantime, the contenders are still vying for a shot at the title. That'll likely go to Cory Sandhagen, but Moraes is the No. 3 bantamweight and Font could vault into the top 5 with a win. If Moraes wants to stay in the elite tier, he’s got to pull out a win. Font is in the biggest fight of his career and could become a title contender for the first time.
Marlon Moraes (23-7, 10 KOs, 6 SUBs)
Moraes' last three fights haven’t been pretty. In June 2019, he lost to Henry Cejudo in a matchup where he jumped out to an early lead. A followup matchup against Jose Aldo - who was making his bantamweight debut - led to a contentious split decision win. Most recently, he was toasted by the surging Cory Sandhagen, who scored a badass spinning wheel kick on the Brazilian. He’s still holding down a top 3 spot in a loaded weight class, and we can’t overlook a resume that boasts finishes over Sterling, Rivera and Assuncao.
By now, word is out that Moraes is a first-round fighter: when he’s fresh, the Brazilian is one the most dangerous bantamweights out there. His Muay Thai is brutal, and he has finishing power in all eight points. Though he hasn’t been forced to use it, Moraes does possess a strong grappling background as well. The problem is that he tends to noticeably fade later in fights, making him a fighter for durable, well-conditioned guys.
Rob Font (17-4, 7 KOs, 4 SUBs)
Font has put together a solid 7-3 record inside the octagon. But every time Font took a step up in competition, walked away with a loss. He's never been able to string together more than two wins, with guys like John Lineker, Pedro Munhoz and Raphael Assuncao successfully halting his momentum. But with back-to-back wins over Sergio Pettis and Ricky Simon, Font now has the opportunity to get that elusive third straight victory and become a dark horse title contender in the process.
It's clear that Font does his best work applying pressure and debilitating power punches. In the past, the 33-year old had trouble against similarly styled fighters - the Lineker fight being a good example. But in his wins over Pettis and Simon, Font appeared to take another step forward by winning tactical battles. That should help him in a matchup where he cannot afford to be wild.
Significant Striking Stats
Strikes landed per minute: Moraes 3.23 / Font 5.11
Striking accuracy: Moraes 34% / Font 41%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Moraes 2.6 / Font 3.89
Striking defense: Moraes 65% / Font 63%
Takedowns per 15 minutes: Moraes 0.43 / Font 1.25
Takedown accuracy: Moraes 25% / Font 36%
Takedown defense: Moraes 60% / Font 50%
Submissions per 15 minutes: Moraes 0.86 / Font 0.78
Moraes is a demon early, but Font has never been knocked out before. If he can weather the early story, his pressure and volume should be enough to come out ahead on the scorecards. We wish he was a bigger ‘dog, especially considering the gap between the two in the rankings. If he gets anywhere near +150 we’d really start hammering that betting line.
UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal Card & Odds
Welterweight - Geoff Neal -114 vs. Stephen Thompson -110
Heavyweight - Greg Hardy -127 vs. Marcin Tybura +103
Bantamweight - Rob Font +123 vs. Marlon Moraes -147
Bantamweight - Marlon Vera +117 vs. Jose Aldo -141
Welterweight - Khaos Williams -102 vs. Michel Pereira -122
Catchweight (195) - Deron Winn +127 vs. Antonio Arroyo -152
Women's Bantamweight - Pannie Kianzad +134 vs. Sijara Eubanks -162
Bantamweight - Aiemanna Zahabi +158 vs. Drako Rodriguez -191
Middleweight - Jamie Pickett +235 vs. Tafon Nchukwi -293
Lightweight - Carlton Minus +257 vs. Rick Glenn -323
Welterweight - Alex Morono +191 vs Anthony Pettis -235
Flyweight - Cody Durden +127 vs. Jimmy Flick -152
Women's Flyweight - Gillian Robertson -107 vs. Taila Santos -117
Middleweight - Karl Roberson -255 vs. Dalcha Lungiambula +207
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