From Copacabana to Abu Dhabi Corniche: UAE capital gives Brazil’s finest martial artists a chance to shine

Brazilian UFC bantamweight Marlon Moraes praises Abu Dhabi’s approach to MMA and jiu-jitsu

Ahead of his eagerly awaited Return to Fight Island bout with Cory Sandhagen on Sunday morning, Marlon Moraes has praised Abu Dhabi for giving Brazilian martial artists a platform to showcase their talents and share their skills.

Moraes is the second Brazilian fighter to headline a Return to Fight Island event. The mega five-event UFC® series, currently taking place on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, opened with UFC® 253: ADESANYA VS COSTA, in which Moraes’ compatriot Paulo Costa took to the Octagon against Israel Adesanya.

Abu Dhabi has become a big draw for martial artists from Brazil in recent years, including Ramon Lemos, who is the current coach of the UAE national jiu-jitsu team. Jiu-jitsu is also part of the national school sports curriculum.

“I want to thank Abu Dhabi for giving an opportunity to all my friends, the Brazilian guys that come here. I know a lot of guys from my town they are here teaching jiu-jitsu here,” said Moraes, who hails from Nova Friburgo, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

“Some guys from my neighborhood are even here teaching the sport. I love the fact Abu Dhabi is now teaching Jiu-Jitsu in schools.

“The sport saved my life,” added the No.1 contender in a competitive bantamweight division.  “I started when I was nine years old with kickboxing. This sport allows me to provide for my family. I think what Abu Dhabi is doing here is amazing.

“I love sport. I love soccer of course, I am Brazilian. But I entered a kickboxing gym and I fell in love with the sport and here we are today. My hero is my mother, I fight for her and for my kids.”

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