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UFC 238: Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes picks and fight predictions

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is coming to the Windy City today, June 8, with a highly anticipated bantamweight championship bout between Henry Cejudo and Marlon Moraes headlining UFC 238 in Chicago. These combatants represent some of the top talent that the UFC roster has to offer, and this is a high-stakes fight with both men aiming for the recently vacated bantamweight title.

American fighter Henry Cejudo (with a record of 14 wins and two losses) only just moved into the bantamweight class following his first-round TKO victory over T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Fight Night 143 earlier in January. He had earlier claimed the UFC flyweight belt from Demetrious Johnson via a split decision at UFC 227 last August, and successfully defended his belt against Dillashaw.

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His Brazilian opponent, Marlon Moraes (22-5), is champing at the bit for this fight, having declared that he does not particularly care for Cejudo and that the American’s win over Dillashaw was a “fluke” (a few others, including Dillashaw himself, have echoed this sentiment, stating that the fight was ended prematurely). That fight was nonetheless an impressive display by Cejudo, who is noted for a strong grappling game thanks to his Olympic wrestling history.

The American flyweight champion may have an advantage if things go to the ground, but he has also shown improved striking abilities in recent fights. Moraes, for his part, is a strong striker, but the Brazilian also has a very sound ground defense and has scored six submission victories on the mat. This is a close matchup between two technical and balanced fighters, but we’re predicting a knockout by Moraes thanks to his more polished striking capabilities and the simple fact that, given that the stakes are arguably higher for him, the Brazilian is hungrier for a win.

The co-main event is a fight between women’s flyweight champion Valentina Schevchenko (16-3) and challenger Jessica Eye (14-6), two fighters with very strike-heavy styles. Eye, despite being ranked number one on the UFC flyweight roster, has an uphill battle against the dominant Schevchenko. We’re predicting that the reigning champion will finish this one thanks to her speed and stronger striking abilities, but – as boxing fans know all too well following the recent Ruiz vs. Joshua upset – you should never discount the underdog.

UFC 238: Cejudo vs. Moraes is being hosted at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, this Saturday. The preliminary card fights start at 8 p.m. ET, and the main card is scheduled for 10 p.m. This is a pay-per view event, and you can catch all the action online with ESPN Plus. If you’re not already a member, then now’s your chance to grab an annual membership and UFC 238 PPV bundle for only $80, giving you a 50% discount off of the price of the pay-per-view package itself.

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