Marlon Moraes blames his own mistakes for recent knockout losses, promises ‘I still have what it takes’ 

Marlon Moraes is ready for a fresh start as the 2023 PFL season kicks off Saturday.

The one-time UFC title challenger, who was long considered an elite bantamweight, has struggled in recent years, losing five consecutive fights, with his last win coming in a razor-close split decision over Jose Aldo back in 2019. In those losses, Moraes has also suffered five consecutive knockouts, which has raised questions about his long-term health and ability to take a punch.

While Moraes certainly doesn’t dismiss anyone’s concern for him, the 34-year-old Brazilian promises that he hasn’t suddenly lost a step. He’s also still confident in his chin, although he does admit to making some cardinal mistakes, particularly when examining his last loss to Sheymon Moraes in his PFL debut.

“It was a dominant performance, but unfortunately, I don’t know, I think that was just that moment,” Moraes told MMA Fighting. “You shouldn’t trade punches. I just traded punches at the beginning of the round.

“I was really focused on the grappling. I was really focused on dominating, and getting caught out there wasn’t the best thing out there for me. It was good luck for him. That was his day.”

As far as his overall health, Moraes maintains that he’s never felt better, especially now that he’s competing at featherweight and no longer draining his body to get down to 135 pounds. He understands there will continue to be questions about his health, but Moraes can only hope to offer an emphatic answer with his upcoming performance.

“Things are going to come my way, ‘What’s going on?’ and, ‘Why is he losing?’ But to be honest, when I left the UFC, that’s a new era,” Moraes said. “It’s a new Marlon, and I fought my first fight and it was a great performance, and I ended up getting caught. I lost. Let’s go.

“I lost my first one but I’m still here. I still have the talent. I still have what it takes to do it and that’s how I am moving forward. I’m ready to put on a performance and not make mistakes.”

When it comes to that last loss, Moraes offers no excuses, but he still feels that the difference came down to an error he made and the time he wishes he had been granted to continue rather than the referee stopping the fight when he did.

“I’m good,” Moraes said. “I was dropped in my last fight and I’m not the one to complain, but the ref didn’t give me time too. But he won. I don’t want to take anything away from the guy’s victory. I have a lot of respect for my opponents. He won. Can’t take anything away from him. But I wasn’t out. He dropped me. There’s fighters that have been dropped five times in one fight and it’s just no time. They didn’t give me time.

“The fight right after my fight with Omari Akhmedov at the PFL finals, he was dropped maybe seven times in one fight. I got knocked down. He came on top of me and I was dominating on the ground. If I’m dominating on the ground and he dropped me and we’re on the ground, the referee’s got to see what this guy is going to do on the ground. But he didn’t even let me move. It is what it is.”

If Moraes wants to prove the naysayers wrong, the PFL is giving him a golden opportunity with his next fight, as he challenges 2022 featherweight champion Brandon Loughnane on Saturday.

It may look like Moraes is being fed to the wolves, especially after five straight losses, but the veteran Brazilian got exactly what he wanted as he looks to right his ship and prove there’s still plenty of good performances left in him.

“I’m fighting with the champion, the best guy out there,” Moraes said. “Some people prefer the easy way, but I like to fight and I never choose anyone. I believe I can beat anyone in the world, no matter what you say, what coaches say, no matter what anyone says. I believe I have tools and I believe I can beat anyone. Fighting Brendan, it’s a great opportunity to show that against a guy like him.

“It’s a great opportunity. I’m upset. I’m upset with my last fight. It didn’t go how I planned. I made a mistake and I paid for it. I’m hungry. When you lose, you’re in the cage and you wish you can go back and fix what you did, and that’s what I’m doing next. I’m getting in there with that mentality, to not make mistakes and fix what I did before and win this next one, especially against a guy like Brendan.”

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