Join us as we preview a hot UFC prospect from this week’s UFC 277: Pena vs. Nunes II pay-per-view event.
Read on for our complete UFC 277 betting guide – taking
Michael Morales vs. Adam Fugitt
UFC Welterweight Preliminary Bout
Saturday, July 30, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at American Airlines Center
Michael Morales (13-0-0)
As one of the two Ecuadorian-born UFC fighters on the roster – alongside Marlon Vera – Michael Morales received a key to the city and a trophy upon returning to his hometown of Pasaje after dominating in his UFC debut.
Maintaining his undefeated record, now 13-0, Morales lived up to the hype when facing a problematic promotional debut versus Trevin Giles. Critics were skeptical whether the 23-year-old could deliver the same performances he’d previously achieved on the regional scene; however, he quickly silenced his doubters at UFC 270 with a first-round finish over a well-experienced UFC competitor who’s also a former LFA champion.
Morales, 23, is a Judo brown belt, BJJ brown belt, and a member of the Ecuadorian national wrestling team. To achieve such diverse and extensive accolades within martial arts at such a young age is genuinely impressive.
Morales' coming-out party was on Dana White's Contender Series, where he faced the dangerous sambo skillset of Nikolay Veretennikov – a dangerous Kazakhstan-based fighter who was the betting favorite and many expected to win. However, an impressive unanimous decision earned Morales his UFC contract.
Michael Morales Fight Analysis
Morales' parents were judokas, and his mother even reached an Olympic level, a martial arts style that he's thrived with as a base skillset in MMA. In addition, he's the wrestling champion of Ecuador,
As a wrestling champion of Ecuador and the son of two judokas – with his mother reaching an Olympic level in the sport - Morales offers up an unorthodox approach inside the cage. From suplexes, body lock takedowns, and various trips & takedowns, it’s easy to neglect how talented he is on the feet.
Grappling prowess aside, he’s carefully evolved his striking style under the tutelage of Entram Gym's elite coaches. He possesses a notable lead jab as his setup and a newfound ability to string combinations together rather than the single shots he'd headhunt with during his early professional MMA tenure.
Morales is an exciting prospect taking his second UFC contest on back-to-back pay-per-view cards; he boasts fight-ending power with a dangerous finishing rate and an excellent cardiovascular. He’s also a top-tier grappler with BJJ qualities; all that’s missing from his skillset is an elite level of experience that we’re fortunate enough to witness him collect in 2022 and beyond.
Morales vs. Fugitt Betting Pick and Odds
Adam Fugitt (8-2-0) will make his UFC debut as a short-notice replacement for Morales’ original opponent, Ramiz Brahimaj.
Primarily a grappler, most of Fugitt’s career success has been achieved with the assistance of his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Notably, he’d taken a two-year absence before fighting Solomon Renfro in LFA earlier this year. Aged 33, I’m not confident that Fugitt can hang with the UFC’s finest, and the current betting lines suggest my hunch is correct.
Fugitt has already proven in his past bouts that durability is an issue, and he’ll now be faced with a proven finisher on short notice. Morales will struggle to submit the black belt, but the speed and power of Ecuador’s finest will prevail on the feet.
UFC 277 Main Card and Odds
- Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes II [UFC women’s bantamweight championship bout]
- Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France II [UFC interim flyweight co-main title bout]
- Derrick Lewis vs. Sergei Pavlovich [UFC heavyweight bout]
- Alexandre Pantoja vs. Alex Perez [UFC flyweight bout]
- Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith [UFC light heavyweight bout]
UFC 277 Preliminary Card and Odds
- Alex Morono vs. Matthew Semelsberger [UFC welterweight bout]
- Drew Dober vs. Rafael Alves [UFC lightweight bout]
Don’TaleMayes vs. Hamdy Abdelwahab [UFC heavyweight bout]
- Drakkar Klose vs. Rafa Garcia [UFC lightweight bout]
- Michael Morales vs. Adam Fugitt [UFC welterweight bout]
- Ji Yeon Kim vs. Joselyne Edwards [UFC women’s featherweight bout]
- Nick Negumereanu vs. Ihor Potieria [UFC light heavyweight bout]
Coscevs. Blood Diamond [UFC welterweight bout]
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.