Michael Morales stands out among young welterweight prospects as an intriguing 23-year-old Ecuadorian prospect. Riding a three-fight winning streak and remaining undefeated since becoming professional, Morales earned a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series late 2021 and has steadily made his way up through the ranks since. Up next for Michael will be Jake Matthews in Saturday’s co-main event at APEX.
Morales is an explosive power-puncher capable of finishing fights from all distances. His jab sets up long-range strikes while also having an effective ground game and not being afraid to go the distance when necessary – an opponent that should present Matthews with plenty of challenges due to her judo background and grappling abilities.
Morales was infallible during his last outing, landing 73 significant strikes against Max Griffin while connecting on 48% of his attempts despite having both a six-inch height advantage and seven-inch reach disadvantage.
He will face a new test against Matthews, a former NCAA wrestling champion with strong wrestling ability who can take down opponents from top or bottom positions. Matthews is a well-rounded fighter who possesses size to compete at welterweight level.
Matthews will rely on his experience and intelligence in the ring against Morales. An intelligent fighter, Matthews can use the flow of a fight and attack an opponent’s weaknesses with skill. Most recently he defeated Darrius Flowers with a rear naked choke in round two – evidence of his skill at this level and confidence he will eventually face one of their ranks soon enough if he continues winning bouts.
Both fighters have much to prove in this fight. Although Morales is the favorite, Matthews could cause an upset and become an effective challenger against an unbeaten Morales; with a win could elevate himself further up the rankings.
A victory would put Morales on a fast track for a title shot; how he performs against Matthews will tell us whether or not he is ready. A loss would force Morales back down to the lower half of the division where his chances would likely diminish significantly and become far less likely for reaching top 15 contenders.
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Michael Morales vs Jake Matthews Fight Information
- Date: 11/18/2023
- Time: 07:10 PM ET
- Location: UFC APEX.
- How to Watch Morales vs Matthews: ESPN+
- Live Stream: BT Sport.com