A nasty low blow. An eye poke. An odd referee restart. A tapout after the horn.
It was that type of fight between Marlon Moraes and John Dodson on Saturday night at UFC Norfolk. After 15 minutes of at-times strange but never boring action, Moraes, the the former World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion, scored his first UFC victory.
Two judges gave scored the bout 30-27 Moraes to a 30-27 for Dodson for a split-decision win.
“I think I won all three rounds,” Moraes said. “That’s it.”
The duo were off to a well-contest opening round when Moraes hit a bulls-eye of a kick to the groin, which caused Dodson to dry heave. When the fight was restarted, Moraes also landed an eye poke. He was not deducted a point for either.
Both fighters scored over the course of the bout, with Moraes landing a variety of kicks, and Dodson scoring on clean counters.
Moraes, though, simply had more to show as the fight wore on. Late in the third, referee Bill Bookwalter inexplicably restarted the duo after Moraes shot a single and worked for a takedown. Moraes took advantage and sunk in a tight guillotine, to which Dodson tapped a second or two after the final horn.
With the win, Moraes (19-5-1) has now won 14 of his past 15 fights and is now 1-1 in the UFC. Dodson (19-9) continues with a win one/lose one pattern over his past six fights. All nine of his career losses are via decision.
After the bout, Moraes volunteered his services against Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219. Rivera was scheduled to fight Dominick Cruz, who had to pull out this week due to injury.
“I want to do this again Dec. 30,” Moraes said. “Jimmie Rivera, I’m here, I’m down, it’s me and you.”