Marlon Moraes decided to switch things up in 2022 and begin his first training camp of the year with a few weeks of practice at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand.
But then COVID-19 forced him to change his plans.
Moraes, who is scheduled to face Song Yadong on the UFC’s Fight Night event on March 12, tested positive COVID-19 soon after landing in Bangkok and was sent to a local hospital. Moraes, speaking on the latest edition of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocacao Franca ,, admitted that he feared for Yadong’s UFC match.
“Am I going to prepare well? Am I getting there well for this fight, a very important fight for me in this moment of my career, a moment where I need this victory, a moment I need to prove my value to the UFC and continue to prove I deserve to be there?” Moraes said.
“Everything happened and I had some doubts, but I went back to training and felt great and saw it would be best for me to fight. I never pulled out of any fights and this [situation] wouldn’t take me out of this one.”
Moraes was a COVID patient in the past and felt guilty for passing it to his family. The good part of this situation, he said, is that his family was safe in Florida while he stayed isolated in a “hospitel” in Thailand, a hospital-hotel he described as “a bit worse than a hospital because we couldn’t leave the bedroom.”
” “It’s just one more problem, actually,” Moraes stated. “It’s bad. Language barrier, all that. It’s like eating at first or communicating with others. It was quite complicated because the entire hospital spoke Thai. We’ll take that learning opportunity as an opportunity. It’s just another thing that makes me worship even more my decision to come and enjoy the days I still have here, the days I was able to train.
“It was hard, I just wanted to leave that place as soon as possible and it kept being postponed and postponed. It was 11 days that I ended up staying there. We overcame that man. Brazilians are capable of facing any challenge. Although it wasn’t an easy task, I did it .”
Moraes originally planned to begin camp at Tiger Muay Thai and then return to American Top Team in Florida. But now, he wants to stay in Asia before flying to Las Vegas just two weeks ahead of the event.
Moraes feels like he has “never trained as much” after getting to work with “a bunch Russians,” UFC interim bantamweight champion Petr Ya, Fabricio Andrade and the likes, but he also lauds John Hutchinson’s knowledge and says he is now better at boxing.
” The main thing was working with John Hutchinson, Petr Yan’s Boxing Coach,” he stated. “He’s a young guy that has already conquered two belts, Petr Yan’s and Anatoliy Malykhin over at ONE.”
Moraes has a three fight skid going into this bout, having lost to Rob Font, Cory Sandhagen and Merab Dvalishvili. Meanwhile, Yadong aims to improve to 8-1-1 inside the octagon against Moraes, who will be Yadong’s toughest challenge to date.
“Song “is a dangerous man who has quick, dangerous hands,” Moraes stated. “He doesn’t do much on the ground. Although he may try to get me down, it’s possible he is working on his wrestling [best],so that he doesn’t do that. He could have difficulty and feel uneasy if that happens. He doesn’t have a grappling pedigree.
“He’ll stand with me and try to surprise me and knock me out, but I’ll do the exact same thing to him: Try to knock him out, land the better strikes. His style is similar to mine. It’s not an easy fight, we know his qualities, I’ve watched all of his fights and I know everything he does, and I’m ready to face all that. I don’t know if he’s ready to face me. We’ll have a fantastic fight .”
. I hope so.