UFC Fight Island 5: Moraes vs Sandhagen Breakdown

UFC Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen
Images courtesy of the UFC

UFC Fight Island 5 goes down this weekend on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. In the main event, Brazil’s Marlon Moraes will take on the American Cory Sandhagen in a top five bantamweight matchup.

The Matchup

Moraes has over twice as many fights as Sandhagen under his belt and is coming off razor close split decision win over Jose Aldo at UFC 245 almost a year ago. Prior to the win over the former featherweight champion, the Brazilian lost to Henry Cejudo at UFC 238 when fighting for the vacant bantamweight title.

While Sandhagen is coming off only his second loss of his career, after he was submitted by Aljamain Sterling in the first round at UFC 250. The loss ended his seven fight win streak and was his first inside the UFC Octagon.

Moraes is an explosive and strong fighter and usually disarms his opponents’ offensive mobility, using his legs kicks well. The former WSOF champion likes to fight offensively and push forward and has a black belt in BJJ.

Sandhagen will have a length advantage on his opponent and if he plays his cards right, he should be able to avoid many of the Moraes’ kicks. However, ‘Magic’ is used to facing longer opponents and that has not stopped him before. ‘The Sandman’ is comfortable changing his stance, and is known to be fast and agile.

On the ground, the American 28 year old is creative in both offensive and defensive. After losing via submission in his last fight, we suspect that he may look to avoid the fight going to the ground. Especially facing a grappler of Moraes’ caliber. It’s also worth mentioning that Sandhagen has never gone five rounds.

From our point of view, Moraes has a technical advantage both on his feet and on the canvas. Although Sandhagen’s mobility and ability to change stance could cause problems.

Marlon Moraes Advantages:

  • Greater experience against top opposition
  • His opponent has never gone five rounds before
  • His opponent was finished in his last fight

Cory Sandhagen Advantages:

  • Fast and agile
  • Length and range advantage
  • Uses both ‘southpaw’ and ‘orthodox’ stance to good effect


Cory Sandhagen’s stock dropped after being finished in his last fight, and we suspect he may have a hard time against the number one contender in the division. Williams Hill however have him as the -145 favourite for the UFC Fight Island 5 main event. While Marlon Moraes is the +125 underdog.

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