Former UFC bantamweight contender and WSOF champion Marlon Moraes has officially ended his brief retirement by signing a multi-fight deal with the Professional Fighters League.
At UFC Vegas 50 earlier this year, Moraes saw his in-cage woes continue as he suffered a fourth straight knockout loss. Previously, the Brazilian had been stopped by Cory Sandhagen, Rob Font, and Merab Dvalishvili. After meeting the same fate against Song Yadong, Moraes decided to call time on his career.
But less than six months later, the former UFC title challenger is preparing for a comeback, which will come under the PFL banner. Having teased as much earlier this month, it was confirmed by ESPN MMA on Tuesday that Moraes has agreed a deal to compete in the PFL’s 2023 season.
Moraes’ signing represents a return of sorts. Prior to his UFC arrival in 2017, the Brazilian competed in the WSOF, which was later re-branded to the PFL. There, Moraes ruled over the bantamweight division, defending the belt five times across a two-year period.
With Moraes’ decision to try and rebound in a new promotion following his UFC exit, “Magic” represents one of many fighters who have swapped the Octagon for the SmartCage — another of whom he is being lined up to face later this year.
Debutants Moraes & Burgos Expected To Meet At PFL Finals
The ESPN report goes on to reveal that Moraes’ first fight under the banner is being targeted for the PFL finals card later this year, and against none other than former ranked UFC featherweight Shane Burgos.
Burgos fought out his contract in the summer with a majority decision victory over Charles Jourdain. Despite appearing keen to resign with the UFC, the New York native’s exploration into the free agency market landed him at the door of a lucrative deal with the PFL.
In what will be a tough test for his welcome back to his semi-previous organization, Moraes has reportedly verbally agreed to face Burgos in a featherweight contest. While the PFL finals are yet to have a confirmed date or venue attached, the card is expected to take place in November.
With both men slated to compete in the promotion’s unique season format in 2023, they’ll be hoping to get off to a winning start in advance at the expense of their fellow newcomer.
The two former UFC athletes will also have one eye on the card’s 145-pound final, which is set to see Brendan Loughnane and Bubba Jenkins collide for the championship and $1 million check.
What do you make of Marlon Moraes’ decision to end his retirement and sign with the PFL? Will he fare well at featherweight against Shane Burgos?