UFC 277 presents Ecuador prospect Michael Morales with his toughest test yet.
Michael Morales has advanced to 14-0 with a third-round TKO against Adam Fugitt at UFC 277. The 23-year-old Ecuadorian prospect joined the UFC in 2021 after an impressive performance on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Fourth months later, Morales made a statement in his UFC debut against Trevin Giles. Coming into his second UFC fight, the Ecuadorian took on UFC newcomer Fugitt. The 33-year-old came out as a live dog.
Despite being a +445 underdog, Fugitt closed the distance halfway through the first round and landed a beautiful outside trip that put Morales on his back. Morales survived the ground attack and went toe-to-toe with Fugitt during the second and third rounds.
During the third round, Morales stayed composed despite the relentless forward pressure of Fugitt. Morales started to open and landed a sneaky inside combo that dropped Fugitt. The Ecuadorian prospect smelt blood and finished the fight in the third round.
Is Michael Morales the darkhorse at welterweight?
Morales is now only 23 years old and 14-0, with 12 finishes after his UFC 277 win on ESPN+. The Contender Series prospect has now taken on two durable opponents that have pushed him to the limit. Morales’ composure shows he’s ready for the next step in his UFC journey.
The welterweight division is quickly being taken over by the next generation with Sean Brady and Shavkat Rakhmonov. Morales has made himself a darkhorse in the welterweight division. The question is, who’s next for the Ecuadorian?
Morales has now fought twice in 2022 and could end up fighting one more time at the end of the year. Both of his UFC fights have been on pay-per-view, and that probably won’t change. Only time will tell if Morales can become the first Ecuadorian UFC champion.