- Petr Yan won the bantamweight title against Jose Aldo this past weekend.
- Marlon Moraes has just announced that he tested positive for Covid-19.
- It’s now unclear who will fight against Petr Yan next.
The UFC’s bantamweight division is one of the best in the sport. There are a huge number of world-class fighters here, all of whom are capable of becoming champions. Marlon Moraes, one of the top fighters at 135-pounds, has just recently revealed that he’s tested positive for Covid-19.
Many of the UFC’s athletes have been affected by this virus. Today, we’re going to look at how this new virus is affecting Moraes. We’ll also look at who’s likely to challenge newly-crowned champion, Petr Yan, for the championship next.
Let’s get into it!
Petr Yan Claims the Vacant Bantamweight Title
This past Saturday marked the first time the UFC held an event on “Fight Island.” Leading up to fight night, it was clear this was one of the most highly-anticipated events in recent memory. Three titles were on the line and even the best UFC betting experts had a difficult time predicting who would come out on top.
The first championship bout of the night took place between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo. These men were competing for the vacant bantamweight title after Henry Cejudo’s retirement from the sport. Heading into this fight, Yan was listed as the considerable betting favorite.
Oddsmakers got this one right. The fight was competitive through the first three rounds. As the fourth approached, Yan began to truly take over. He finally got the TKO stoppage late in the fifth round.
Many now feel that Yan could become the next dominant champion in the UFC. He possesses an extremely well-rounded skill-set. Perhaps his best attribute, however, is his tenacity and will to win.
There are some fantastic contenders now waiting for a crack at Yan’s title. The UFC has yet to formally announce who will get the championship shot next, though. Some felt it could be Marlon Moraes, one of the best strikers in the division.
That no longer appears to be the case.
Marlon Moraes Tests Positive For Covid-19
The UFC was one of the first sports leagues to resume operations in the United States. Prior to the first show on May 9th, many criticized the MMA promotion. Today, however, the UFC is seen as one of the more respected leagues and proved that events can still be held if proper safety protocols are set in place.
That doesn’t mean fighters are completely safe from the events unfolding around the world. A number of fighters scheduled to fight have tested positive for the new coronavirus. Several coaches and cornermen have, as well.
This week, news broke that Marlon Moraes has tested positive for Covid-19. It comes at a bad time, as he’s likely in line for a number-one contender fight at 135 pounds. Moraes confirmed the news with ESPN this week.
“Unfortunately, I got the virus — me and my wife. We were very weak, the symptoms were very strong on us. Thank God I didn’t need to go to the hospital, but I had to take my wife to the hospital,” he said. “We spent a day at the hospital. She was treated by them, she took some medicines, then she stayed under observation.”
It’s disappointing, yet not entirely surprising news. Several individuals at the American Top Team gym have recently tested positive for Covid-19. It’s sad to hear that the symptoms for Moraes and his wife are severe, though.
For now, the most important thing for Moraes is getting healthy. He’ll come back as a top contender once he’s fit to compete again. So who might fight Yan next?
Breaking Down the Top-Contenders at 135 Pounds
Just a few years ago, the bantamweight division faced criticism for its lack of talent. Today, there are many fighters on the verge of a title shot. The UFC now has its work cut out trying to decide who will fight for the belt next.
If the rankings mean anything, Aljamain Sterling should be next in line for the belt. He’s riding an incredible five-fight win streak, most recently defeating Cory Sandhagen via first-round submission. Most analysts feel that Sterling is most deserving of a title shot.
The UFC is all about putting on the biggest fights, though. With that in mind, there’s a chance that we’ll see Cody Garbrandt fighting against Yan next. Cody is one of the most popular fighters below 155 pounds right now and would likely bring in more viewers than Sterling.
Garbrandt and Yan have been verbally sparring for months, as well. After Yan’s victory over Urijah Faber, fans began calling for a fight between these men. From a stylistic matchup, this would be an incredible bout.
Dominick Cruz, Cory Sandhagen, and Frankie Edgar are all in the mix, as well. If he gets healthy, we could see Marlon Moraes fighting for the belt soon, too. It’s an interesting time for all the fighters in and around this division. Many will soon be competing on the upcoming “Fight Island” cards.
Who do you want to see fighting for the bantamweight division next? Let us know in the comments section below!