Cory Sandhagen wasn’t expecting Marlon Moraes as his next opponent after coming off his first loss in the Octagon earlier this year.
“It seems like (the UFC) are doing me a favor,” Sandhagen told MMANews. “I was really shocked by them putting this together, obviously being that number one (contenders fight). My last loss or my last fight was against someone that Marlon beat and now I get to get to fight him. So kind of threw me off a little bit. I didn’t think that they were going to put that fight together. I’m really happy that they did, I thought that they were either going to do two things. They were going to do something like this and like, give me another really huge opportunity or kind of just brushed me off to the side and give me someone lower in the ranks. Which was what I was anticipating. It feels like for me, you know, like they’re giving me another huge opportunity. They’re giving me the main event on ‘Fight Island’ And I mean, I’m super grateful for it, because it was very unexpected to me.”
Sandhagen (12-2) had his seven-fight win streak snapped after losing by the first-round submission to Aljmain Sterling at UFC 250 in June. The 28-year-old has never lost back-to-back fights in his 14-fight career.
Moraes (23-6-1) hasn’t fought since his unanimous decision victory over Jose Aldo t UFC 245 in December. “Magic” was slated to fight Petr Yan at UFC Fight Night in June before the coronavirus hit. The 32-year-old ended up getting infected with COVID-19 himself which is why Yan ended up fighting Jose Aldo.
While Sandhagen likes the style matchup ahead of the fight, the Elevation Fight team product has a ton of respect for his opponent.
“He’s definitely gonna have an edge of power,” Sandhagen explained. “I’ll have my edge and the things that I’ll have my edge in. I’ve always held Marlon and really high regard. I know what I’m in for. I’m not gonna go out and expect anything … because that will get you in trouble. I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I think if I can lreally take full advantage of this opportunity, it’s a hue game changer for me.”
UFC Fight Night takes place on October 10on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes squares off against Cory Sandhagen in the main event.