Cejudo and Moraes Battle for Bantamweight Championship at UFC 238

Posted on: June 7, 2019, 07:00h. 

Last updated on: June 7, 2019, 07:00h.

Henry Cejudo will look to pick up a second championship belt, while Valentina Shevchenko attempts to defend her women’s flyweight title at UFC 238 in Chicago on Saturday night.

UFC 238 Cejudo Shevchenko
Henry Cejudo (top) will try to pick up a second title while Valentina Shevchenko (bottom) will defend her flyweight crown at UFC 238. (Images: Sarah Stier/Getty, Jason Silva/USA Today Sports)

Two titles fights headline the action at the United Center, while the loaded card includes eight other fights between ranked contenders.

Cejudo Taking On New Challenge

The main event at UFC 238 is a bantamweight title fight between current flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and No. 1 ranked bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes. The 135-pound title is currently vacant following former champion TJ Dillashaw’s positive drug tests around his January loss to Cejudo in a flyweight title bout.

For Cejudo (14-2), that means an attempt to move up in weight and become a two-division champion. It’s yet another lofty goal for a man who has always looked to find new achievements during his career as a fighter.

“To me, it’s about challenging my mind, my heart and soul,” Cejudo told the Orange County Register. “As much as I love talking about gold and my Olympic gold medal, it’s about the emotions that come with it and it’s beautiful to know how far I can push the mind and accomplish it.”

Meanwhile, Moraes (22-5-1) has been waiting to get a title shot in the UFC, an opportunity he has earned thanks to a four-fight winning streak that was capped off in February with a victory over Raphael Assuncao. While Moraes isn’t underestimating his opponent, he’s confident that he has what it takes to beat the flyweight champ.

“I respect him moving up,” Moraes told Fansided. “It’s a challenge, and he believes that he can beat me, but that’s not going to happen.”

Bookmakers are expecting a competitive fight, but the larger Moraes has been given the slight edge. FanDuel Sportsbook has Moraes listed at -138, with Cejudo a modest underdog at +114.

Shevchenko Expected to Dominate Eye

There’s a lot more agreement over who the favorite is in the co-main event. Shevchenko (16-3) is widely expected to put in a dominant performance over Eye (14-6), who is seen as a talented fighter but one that isn’t in the same class as the current champion.

Shevchenko won the flyweight champion with a unanimous decision victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231, making this her first title defense – but likely not her last.

“For now, I’m focused on defending my belt as many times as I can,” Shevchenko told MMA Fighting. “Whatever happens in the future, we never know. Everything that’s in my way, I’ll take it.”

UFC 238 Main Card Odds (Via FanDuel Sportsbook)

  • Henry Cejudo (+114) vs. Marlon Moraes (-138)
  • Valentina Shevchenko (-1200) vs. Jessica Eye (+740)
  • Tony Ferguson (-164) vs. Donald Cerrone (+128)
  • Petr Yan (-340) vs. Jimmie Rivera (+260)
  • Tai Tuivasa (-130) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (+106)

If Eye has one thing going for her, it’s the fact that she’s fighting on home soil. The Midwest venue feels comfortable for the Cleveland native, who could have plenty of support when she steps into the Octagon at UFC 238.

“I hope so,” Eye said of getting a boost from a supportive hometown crowd. “My people come with me, they’re with me through and through. This is a true support system.”

If she wants to win the fight, however, Eye will need all the help she can get. The challenger is a +740 underdog to Shevchenko (-1200), who has shown more ability in virtually every aspect of her game, leaving Eye without an obvious game plan heading into the fight.