Sheymon Moraes has the confidence he can win the WSOF bantamweight title tonight, and he said he’s got the motivation to assure he doesn’t stray from the goal.
Sheymon Moraes (7-0) meets reigning champion Marlon Moraes (14-4-1), who’s ranked No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, in tonight’s WSOF 22 co-headliner at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Heading into the NBCSN-televised bout, Sheymon Moraes has already faced some tough competition, but his toughest challenge in an MMA cage came against Eliel dos Santos e Santos (16-15) at a 2012 regional event in Brazil.
“My hardest fight was against Eliel ‘Topete Dourado’ dos Santos,” he told MMAjunkie. “It was my fifth MMA fight. At the start of the third round, I tore my ACL. I kept fighting regardless. It keeps me motivated, knowing I was able to fight through that.
“I train every day so that I can remain undefeated throughout my entire career. I made that promise to my parents. I’ll shed every last drop of sweat to make sure that happens.
After winning his promotional debut via split decision over Gabriel Solorio in December, the 24-year-old expected to get a title shot. It’s now co-headlining one of the WSOF’s bigger events – one that goes head-to-head with the UFC 190 pay-per-view offering.
“When we were in negotiations with WSOF, they promised that soon I’d be able to fight for the belt,” he said. “I was told I’d be facing the winner of Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Hill. Marlon is an excellent fighter. I’ve been following him since he was in muay Thai.
“I’m not sure how I’ll beat him, whether by knockout, submission or by points. It’s going to be exciting. After a war, I’ll have my arm raised. I’ll be going home happy with the belt around my waist.”
Despite a well-rounded martial-arts background and a promising start to an MMA career, Moraes said it hasn’t always been easy. But a recent move to the U.S. has helped, and it’s provided opportunities he said he never had in his home country.
Winning a WSOF belt and defeating a top-10 bantamweight could be the final boost he needs into the big time.
“I’ve trained muay Thai, capoeira, judo, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing – and by age 18, I joined Team Nogueira,” he said. “Being a muay Thai fighter was my original dream. I even lived in Thailand for some time. I’ve never had any support for my career in Brazil.
“Now, in Los Angeles, I teach to make ends meet. I’ve also picked up a few gigs working as a model, and in commercials. That’s how I survive in America. It’s hard to find sponsorships.”
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Judo (meaning “gentle way”) is a modern martial art, combat and Olympic sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano . Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defenses are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (kata,) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice. A judo practitioner is called a judoka.