The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
Picking up a big win on short notice typically does big things for a fighter. Our pick this week did just that when he stepped in for Kelvin Gastelum and won his UFC debut on 11 days notice. However, he didn’t really build that much momentum as he had a rocky couple of bouts after that. Now, after maturing and with the hottest team in MMA now behind him, he’s built that momentum we all expected earlier.
Nickname – The Great White
Affiliation – Fortis MMA
From – Houston, TX
Height – 5’11”
Weight – 170 lbs (Welterweight)
Record – 18-5 (5-2 UFC)
What makes him impressive
While not the most imposing figure in all of MMA, Morono has looked excellent of late in gritty situations. Whether in the clinch or on the ground, he appears to have a distinct advantage when it comes to tie-ups. Sure, some of that is due to his black belt in jiu jitsu, so we shouldn’t be 100% surprised, but still the way he manhandled the much stronger Max Griffin up against the cage was still a bit of a shock. He’ll ultimately have to get a bit better at defending against the takedown if he wants to compete at the highest level of the division, but his ability to get up has at least made him serviceable on defense.
Why he has been overlooked
There are really two reasons people don’t look at Morono as a contender despite his three-fight win streak. Firstly, the failure to make a big impact after a monumental win. As noted, Morono stepped in for Kelvin Gastelum on just 11 days notice and took out Kyle Noke. He then followed that up with losses in three of his next four bouts – not exactly what you need to gain fan favor. Additionally, the aforementioned fact that he isn’t an imposing figure keeps him from being all that hyped.
What makes this a good match-up
Kalinn Williams loves to throw heavy, and often wild, shots while he pours it on his opponents. He’s very physically strong, but this way of throwing both tires him out and puts him in a clinch quite often. Because Morono is so good in the clinch and has a pretty solid gas tank, this could cause Williams to wear himself out. At the very least, Morono will have the fight precisely where he wants it.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 191-81-1 (2 NC) (7 DNF)
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