Marlon Moraes’s English is a work in progress. But there’s at least one concept he has no trouble getting across.
“I live for this.”
Luckily, Moraes is in a line of work that allows other body parts to do the talking. If that were true in other facets of society, he’d probably be a translator at the U.N. right about now.
There's no ambiguity in a Marlon Moraes fight. Simply put, the dude is violent. Ergo, the 25-year-old Brazilian bantamweight is widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects in all of MMA, much less at 135 pounds. Despite his youth, Moraes’ pro MMA career reaches back to 2007, and during that span he has racked up a record of 11-4-1, and will try to move to 4-0 under the World Series of Fighting banner Saturday, when he faces Carson Beebe at WSOF 6.
After an unspectacular 6-4-1 start to his career, Moraes has now ripped off six in a row, and in so doing became one of WSOF’s most exciting new faces. “Exciting” is undoubtedly the operative word: Many fighters profess a desire to finish in any phase, but Moraes really lives it.
It all flows from a Muay Thai attack that made him a Brazilian national champion in that discipline. Every point of his body seems constructed out of saw blades. His leg kicks are particularly brutal, and his fists, elbows and knees seem to have long ago acquired a taste for human flesh.
To make matters scarier, he launches all of it at his opponent in hard-to-predict combinations. That means knockouts; two of his last four wins have come by straight knockout, a pretty high number for a bantamweight. In his most recent fight, only Brandon Hempleman’s thick skull and general sense of duty staved off the stoppage.
But it’s more than striking that makes him dangerous. Moraes also brandishes a fairly polished jiu-jitsu game, as evidenced by three submission wins. He seems to have a knack for coming out ahead after a scramble. That attribute will be needed against a solid wrestler in Beebe.
“I like to fight on my feet,” Moraes said in an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report. “I can go wherever the fight goes. Wherever it is, I’m dangerous.”
In speaking, Moraes shows an eagerness to please that belies his aggression in the cage. If you didn’t know he was a stone-cold murderer, you might take him for another fan. Moraes watches as often as he can, and readily rattles off the names of other fighters he likes to watch.
Among bantamweights, his favorites are Michael McDonald, Urijah Faber, Renan Barao and Eduardo Dantas. With the WSOF running out of fodder for Moraes’ cannon, it may not be long before he heads to a new pasture.
“I’m a big fan of MMA,” Moraes said. “I watch all the shows. I love fighting. It’s my dream to fight the best guys in the world.”
Do you sense a theme emerging? Moraes gives off the air of a man full of self-actualization. As long as everyone continues to let him shred the limbs and faces of other men for money, he’ll continue to be as chipper as the milkman from a 1950s sitcom.
“I’m ready,” he said of Saturday’s fight. “This is a big show. I just want to fight. I hope I answered all your questions, man. I try my best. All I want to do is fight. Thank you.”
The Beaten Path is an article series profiling top MMA prospects. Read the previous interview here. Scott Harris is a writer for Bleacher Report. Find him on Twitter @ScottHarrisMMA. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.