Henry Cejudo can't seem to find any respect.
You would think beating longtime flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson would do it. He was the man to finally pry the belt from Mighty Mouse, but then he was a slight underdog to TJ Dillashaw in his first title defense.
Surely a first-round knockout win over the former bantamweight champion would bolster his reputation and make him a favorite his next time out?
The champion will be a slight underdog once again as he takes on a red-hot Marlon Moraes in the main event of UFC 238 on Saturday. Cejudo will look to add the vacant bantamweight title to his resume.
That's not the only title fight on the card, though. Valentina Shevchenko will also be in action, defending her belt against Jessica Eye in women's flyweight action.
Main Card (ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET)
- Henry Cejudo (c) +105 (bet $100 to win $105) vs. Marion Moraes -125 (bet $125 to win $100)
- Valentina Shevchenko (c) -1,500 vs. Jessica Eye +850
- Tony Ferguson -155 vs. Donald Cerrone +135
- Jimmie Rivera +260 vs. Petr Yan -330
- Tai Tuivasa -145 vs. Blagoy Ivanov +125
Prelims (ESPN at 8 p.m. ET)
- Tatiana Suarez -900 vs. Nina Ansaroff +600
- Aljamain Sterling -135 vs. Pedro Munhoz +115
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz -125 vs. Alexa Grasso +105
- Ricardo Lamas +140 vs. Calvin Kattar -160
Early Prelims (Fight Pass at 6:15 p.m. ET)
- Yan Xiaonan -210 vs. Angela Hill +175
- Bevon Lewis -240 vs. Darren Stewart +190
- Eddie Wineland -130 vs. Grigory Popov +110
- Katlyn Chookagian -110 vs. Joanne Calderwood -110
Odds via Action Network.
Cejudo's Thoughts of Legacy Fueling Him for Tough Fight
Cejudo understands why the odds aren't necessarily in his favor Saturday night, and he's called Marlon Moraes the toughest guy he's fought in his career.
Given the litany of talented foes he has seen, that's saying something.
Cejudo isn't being motivated simply by beating Moraes, though. He's looking to add another major accomplishment to his already impressive list as a multi-division champion in the organization.
"I'm here to put my stamp on sports, not just MMA," he said, per Kevin Iole of Yahoo. "I want to be known as the greatest combat sports athlete of all time. I've got an Olympic gold medal and a UFC title. After Saturday, I'll have two UFC titles. And I'm not slowing down."
The case for Moraes begins with a three-fight first-round finish streak. The former World Series of Fighting champion has been on a four-fight win streak since losing his UFC debut against Raphael Assuncao in June 2017, but his last three outings have been particularly impressive.
He's sent Aljamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera and Assuncao packing in the first round, needing just 24 total strikes to get the wins, according to UFC Stats.
The problem is that Moraes has struggled the few times he's been pushed beyond the first round in the UFC. He's had two split decisions in his time going the distance in the UFC.
Cejudo's grinding wrestling game should be enough to keep Moraes neutralized early and take over the fight as it progresses into the later rounds.
Prediction: Cejudo via decision.
Eye Attempting to Complete Stunning Run at Flyweight
It wasn't too long ago that it was perplexing figuring out how Jessica Eye still had a job in the UFC. Her first six fights in the promotion featured a 1-5 record and few reasons to believe she would stick around.
A return to her original fighting weight at 125 pounds turned out to be just what she needed to stage a remarkable comeback.
Eye has earned the nod in three straight fights. Although they have all been decisions, she has markedly improved since her unsuccessful run at 135 pounds. It's her new success that she's hoping to be known for by Saturday night.
"I've worked so hard in the last 14 months to change everything," she said, per Thomas Gerbasi of UFC.com. "I can't wait to put the cherry on top with this title fight because I think that at one point we won't have to talk about the misfortunate part of my career. Or maybe we will, and it will always be a part of helping people grow. But I can't wait to be identified as a true champion, and we won't ever have to talk about how bad things were."
That's going to be a tall order. Eye comes into the fight as a massive underdog. While she's demonstrated some improved ability as a flyweight, it's not nearly enough to cover the talent disparity that exists between her and champion Valentina Shevchenko.
Shevchenko is a skilled kickboxer with the ability to do damage from range and to make your life a nightmare in the clinch.
Regardless of where Eye tries to take this fight, Shevchenko is simply better. The challenger is too durable and tough to predict a knockout here, but a masterclass is to be expected.
Prediction: Shevchenko via decision.