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The Rise of Marlon Moraes Continues at World Series of Fighting 13

Published on 10/09/2014

When a fighter falls into a rhythm, it is a special thing to witness, and Marlon Moraes is in the process of writing a brilliant chapter of his mixed martial arts career. 

The 26-year-old Brazilian has entered a stage of development where his skill set is firing on all cylinders, and it has been absolutely overwhelming for the opposition he's faced inside the cage. Since signing with the fledgling World Series of Fighting promotion back in 2012, Moraes has been a nightmare matchup for anyone who has signed on the dotted line to face him.

After edging out former WEC champion Miguel Torres via split decision at WSOF 1 back in November of 2012, the Palm Beach Gardens-based fighter has run roughshod over the competition in every bout since. He's found success in each of his five showings under the WSOF banner, with his most recent victory over Josh Rettinghouse landing him the inaugural bantamweight championship for the organization.

By becoming the official 135-pound champion, Moraes claimed his spot at the top of the promotion's bantamweight mountain, and it's a position he has no intention of vacating anytime soon.

"I felt great in my last fight, and it was against a tough opponent," Moraes told Bleacher Report. "Some people had things to say, but I made the fight look easy because I performed very well. But that fight is in the past, and the only thing I'm thinking about now is my next fight coming up on Saturday."

While Moraes may be in the early stages of his career, he's no stranger to how unpredictable the fight game can be. This issue came front and center recently when Josh Hill—the original opponent slated for his first title defense—was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury. In turn, the WSOF tapped surging bantamweight Cody Bollinger to step in and form a new main event for WSOF 13.

News of the switch didn't disrupt Moraes in the slightest because he's keen to the changing tides of his sport. Fighters get injured; bouts fall apart or get reshuffled. Much like his striking style, Moraes just rolls with the punches and keeps his focus on bringing his best. And that is what he's confident he'll bring when he steps in to face Bollinger in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Saturday.

Due to the change of opponent coming so close to the event, the two fighters agreed to meet at a catchweight of 140 pounds. While that will take the bantamweight strap off the table, Moraes is simply happy to still be fighting on the card. He prepared to perform and wants to put on a show for the fans. 

"I really wanted to fight Josh, and I was ready for him, but then I got the call from the show about the change of opponent," Moraes said. "They called me and told me that Josh was hurt and asked me if I wanted to fight Cody Bollinger and at 140 (pounds), and I said, 'Yes! Let me talk to my coach and let's go, man!' I want to fight right now, and I don't want to miss this opportunity. I want to be part of the show.

"I love to fight people who actually like to get in there and fight too. We are going to fight, and it is going to be great. I'm hungry and in the best shape of my life. Fans need to watch because it is going to be a great and entertaining fight. I'm ready, and I'm going to win."

Over the course of his impressive run under the WSOF banner, Moraes has started to gain momentum and recognition on the grand scale of the bantamweight spectrum. Not only is he the WSOF champion, but Moraes is steadily making his case as one of the best 135-pound fighters on the planet on the strength of his consistent displays of dominance.

While it can be difficult for a fighter who competes outside of the UFC to solidify a high ranking, Moraes has made the MMA community sit up and take notice. Just five fights into his run with WSOF, he's one of the organization's biggest talents, and Moraes has been grateful for the opportunity to rise along with the promotion he competes for. 

"Man, this is awesome for me," Moraes said. "[WSOF] was just getting started, and they gave me an opportunity, and I showed them what I can do. I did a couple of good fights and won the belt. We are growing together, and hopefully it keeps going, man. Let's go!

"I'm so blessed to be doing what I love to do and be fighting for a big show on national television. For me and my family and where I come from, this is a very big blessing. Not many people where I'm from get to do what they love to do, and I'm so thankful."

When he steps in for another showcase fight this weekend at WSOF 13, Moraes will take the next step of a young career that has been nothing short of outstanding. Yet, despite all of the success he's experienced over the last couple of years, Moraes is as grounded as they come in the fight game. 

He knows he still has work to do, and he has every intention of continuing to demand the most out of himself inside the gym and under the bright lights on fight night.

"There is no pressure in this," Moraes said. "I've had a lot of other pressure on my life and other personal things before, but I just try to stay calm when I'm fighting and go out there and do what I know how to do. I've been working so hard. I know I have a lot of things I have to do to get better. I'm always thinking of ways I can improve. Let's see what I can do. The sky is the limit, and I'm going after it."

Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.

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