Cory Sandhagen Scores Spectacular Knockout Win Over Marlon Moraes

Jenn Connor
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Sunday, October 11, 2020

In an impressive performance, Corey Sandhagen knocked out number one contender Marlon Moraes with a stunning spinning heel kick in the second round of their headline bantamweight clash at Fight Island, Abu Dahbi Saturday night. 


Sandhagen came into the fight ranked fourth in the highly competitive bantamweight division. A win for Moraes would cement his status as the number one contender and position him for a likely title shot. 


Both fighters enjoyed some success with leg kicks in the opening round, but with just under a minute left Sandhagen landed a body kick to Moras’ liver that put him back on his heels.  It was a hard fought round but Sandhagen appeared to have the edge.  


Moments into the second round, Sandhagen announced that Moraes had a broken orbital bone, his claim ringing through the empty arena.  Sandhagen began to press forward and launched a well-disguised spinning heel kick that caught Moraes on the top of his head - a devastating blow that brought the fight to a shocking conclusion. 


With champion Petr Yan likely to face Aljamain Sterling in his first title defense, Sandhagen, with tonight’s statement win, joins a short list of contenders to take on the winner. 


In the co-main, veteran Edson Barboza dominated “Mr. Finland” Makwan Amirkhani, earning a unanimous decision in a highly anticipated featherweight matchup.  After a cautious opening round, Barboza floored Amirkhani with a lightning quick right hand.  Amirkhani managed to get to his feet, but moments later Barboza again caught Amirkhani flush on the nose with a straight right, knocking him to the canvas. Amirkhani survived, but likely down two rounds, needed to take Barboza out in round three.  He managed to take Barboza down early in the final stanza but could not take advantage and Barboza was full value for the victory.  


In other action from the main slate, in a surprisingly high volume heavyweight battle, Marcin Tybura defeated Ben Rothwell via a unanimous decision.  Tybura survived an up tempo first round attack from Rothwell and then took over, peppering Rothwell with blows over the remaining two frames.  Impressive ground and pound from Tybura as the fight ended left no doubt in the judges’ minds. 


Dricus Du Plessis scored a stunning first round knockout win over Markus Perez in middleweight action.  Du Plessis started slowly, but landed a chopping right hand that caught Perez behind his left ear, causing him to slump to the canvas and bring an end to the fight.


In a brief heavyweight bout, heavily  favoured Tom Aspinall made short work of Alan Baudot, raining ground and pound and earning a first round TKO victory. 


In a featherweight tussle, Ilia Topuria remained undefeated, showcasing his grappling skills en route to a unanimous decision victory over Youssef Zalal.  


The UFC continues to bring entertaining cards, effectively managing the challenges posed by COVID-19.  The excitement continues next week with Brian Ortega making his long-awaited return to the Octagon where he’ll face The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung in a featherweight tilt.