John Moraga vs. Justin Scoggins Added to UFC Fight Night 50

Duane FinleyContributor IAugust 2, 2014

USA Today

The upper tier of the UFC's flyweight division is still taking shape, and John Moraga and Justin Scoggins are looking to keep a foothold in the race for future title contention. Both have suffered recent setbacks, and there will be urgency hovering when the two scrappy flyweights square off at Fight Night 50.

The UFC announced the bout on Saturday, and the tilt between the MMA Lab product and the highly touted prospect from American Top Team will kick off the action on the main card when the Octagon rolls through Foxwood Resort and Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut, on Sept. 7. 

In addition to a handful of solid matchups, the main event of Fight Night 50 will feature a clash of middleweight title hopefuls as Gegard Mousasi and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza will throw down to determine who will remain in the hunt for the 185-pound title. The event will also mark the first show the UFC has held in Connecticut since UFC 55, which took place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in 2005.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07:  Justin Scoggins of the USA celebrates his TKO victory over Richie Vaculik in their flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on December 7, 2013 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Phot
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Moraga will be looking to turn things around in big way at Fight Night 50. The 30-year-old Phoenix representative started his career on a hot streak where he found success in 13 of his first 14 showings. On the strength of that run, the former Arizona State University wrestling standout earned a title opportunity against one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport in Demetrious Johnson.

Yet, Moraga would be turned back by "Mighty Mouse," and after rebounding with a hard-fought win over Dustin Ortiz, the Arizona native suffered a TKO via doctor stoppage against John Dodson at Fight Night 42 back in June. 

The pressure will be on for Moraga to turn things around, and his bout with Scoggins will be a prime opportunity to accomplish that task. The fight also presents an equal amount of risk, as a third loss in four outings would lead to a significant drop down the ladder for Moraga.

While his opponent is a former title challenger, Scoggins is still in the early stages of climbing that particular ladder. The 22-year-old South Carolina native established solid momentum by picking up wins in his first two showings under the UFC banner, where he dominated the action with his pacing and unorthodox style.

That said, the buzz surrounding him would take some damage as he suffered the first loss of his professional career against Ortiz at The Ultimate Fighter 19 finale on July 6.

In facing Moraga, Tank will have a huge opportunity to take a big jump up the ladder in the flyweight division, but losses in back-to-back showings would put a substantial dent in Scoggins' quest for a title opportunity.


Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.