Las Vegas, October 2: UFC will continue its run of shows on UFC Fight Island with a pivotal matchup in the bantamweight division as former title challenger and No. 1 ranked Marlon Moraes battles No. 4 ranked Cory Sandhagen with a potential title shot on the line.
Former UFC bantamweight title challenger Moraes (23-6, fighting out of Toms River, NJ by way of Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) plans to earn his second shot at the belt by landing another signature knockout.
A black belt in both Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Moraes has proven that he is dangerous wherever the fight goes with finishes over Raphael Assuncao, Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling. Moraes now intends to become the first man to knockout Sandhagen and cement his spot at the top of the rankings.
Sandhagen (12-2, fighting out of Aurora, Colo.) returns to the Octagon aiming to secure the most significant win of his young career.
A professional mixed martial artist for just over five years, Sandhagen has proven himself to be among the best in the world with wins over Raphael Assuncao, John Lineker and Iuri Alcantara. He now looks to show off his ever-growing skillset and earn his first UFC title shot with a statement victory.
The co-main event will see dynamic featherweights compete to climb the rankings as No. 14 Edson Barboza takes on Makwan Amirkhani.
Highly regarded striker Barboza (20-9, fighting out of Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) intends to land another highlight-reel knockout and begin his climb towards the top of the featherweight division.
One of the top Muay Thai artists in the UFC, Barboza made his name with devastating victories over Terry Etim, Evan Dunham and, most recently, Dan Hooker. He now seeks to claim his first victory at 145 pounds and prove he still has what it takes to compete with the UFC elite.
Finland's Amirkhani (16-4, fighting out of Turku, Finland) steps up on short notice against his most dangerous opponent to date, hoping to break into the featherweight top 15 for the first time.
A submission specialist with dynamic striking, Amirkhani burst on to the UFC scene with an eight-second flying knee knockout over Andy Ogle. Since then, he has notched exciting wins over Jason Knight, Chris Fishgold and Danny Henry. Amirkhani now aims to deliver his most impressive performance yet and declare himself as the next future contender for the belt.
Additional bouts on the card include:
• Heavyweight veterans collide as Ben Rothwell (38-12, fighting out of Kenosha, Wis.) locks horns with Marcin Tybura (19-6, fighting out of Uniejow, Poland)
• Middleweight Markus Perez (12-3, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) plans to spoil the UFC debut of Dricus du Plessis (14-2, fighting out of Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa)
• In a battle of heavyweight prospects Tom Aspinall (8-2, fighting out of Liverpool, England) looks to spoil the UFC debut of Alan Baudot (8-1, fighting out of Lyon, France)
• Thomas Almeida (22-3, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) returns to the Octagon to take on fellow bantamweight finisher Alejandro Perez (22-8-1, fighting out of San Jose, Calif.)
• Featherweight Youssef Zalal (10-2, fighting out of Englewood, Colo.) goes for his fourth win of 2020 when he meets undefeated UFC newcomer Ilia Topuria (8-0, fighting out of Alicante, Spain)
• Tom Breese (11-2, fighting out of Birmingham, England) returns to action against undefeated UFC newcomer KB Bhullar (8-0, fighting out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) in a middleweight scrap
• Heavyweights Chris Daukaus (9-4, fighting out of Philadelphia, Pa.) and Rodrigo Nascimento (8-0, fighting out of Belo Horizonte, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil) aim to hand each other their first UFC loss
• Hard hitting middleweights faceoff as Dana White's Contender Series veteran Impa Kasanganay (8-0, fighting out of Charlotte, N.C.) meets Joaquin Buckley (10-3, fighting out of St. Louis, Mo.)
• Bantamweights Ali Al-Qaisi (8-4, fighting out of Amman, Jordan) and Tony Kelley (6-2, fighting out of Shreveport, La.) clash to earn their first UFC victory
• Dynamic featherweight striker Giga Chikadze (10-2, fighting out of Huntington Beach, Calif. by way of Tbilisi, Georgia) looks to hand Omar Morales (10-0, fighting out of Miami, Fla. by way of Caracas, Venezuela) his first loss
• Dana White's Contender Series veteran Tracy Cortez (7-1, fighting out of Scottsdale, Ariz.) welcomes UFC newcomer Stephanie Eggar (5-1, fighting out of St. Gallen, Switzerland) at bantamweight
• Bruno Silva (10-5-2, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Tagir Ulanbekov (12-1, fighting out of Makhachkala, Republic of Dagestan, Russia) meet in a battle of flyweight grapplers
UFC Fight Night on ESPN+: Morae vs. Sandhagen will take place Saturday, October 10 from UFC Fight Island on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island.
All bouts will be carried exclusively on ESPN+ in English and Spanish, beginning with the prelims at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT and followed by the main card at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. The event is in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.
Source: Press Release