John Moraga, with 'big chunk' missing in forehead, now targets Sergio Pettis: 'What's up?'

GLENDALE, Ariz. – John Moraga has two things on his mind: that chunk of missing flesh on his forehead and a potential rematch with Sergio Pettis.

Moraga (19-6 MMA, 8-5 UFC) continued his recent resurgence and picked up his third straight victory with a unanimous-decision win over fellow flyweight contender Wilson Reis (22-9 MMA, 6-5 UFC) on Saturday at UFC on FOX 29.

The preliminary-card bout, which aired on FS1 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., left former title challenger Moraga a little banged up. His ankle was hurting from a foot-on-shin strike in the bout, and he tore a chunk of skin from his forehead when the cage’s fencing worked as a cheese grater.

“The cage got me pretty good,” he said after the bout. “It took a chunk out of my forehead.”

How many stitches did it require to sew up?

“You can’t stitch it,” he said. “It’s a big chunk, a big hole.”

Moraga, who’s No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, was on a three-fight skid before he rebounded with his current trio of victories. The skid concluded with a late-notice bout against No. 6-ranked Sergio Pettis (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in January 2017. Moraga lost via unanimous decision.

Following the victory over No. 10-ranked Reis on Saturday, Moraga was careful not to be seen as a trash-talker who’s calling out would-be opponents. He declined to mention by name a few fellow 125-pounders who called him out. But he said he’s willing to make an exception for Pettis. After all, Moraga said he was recovering from a serious elbow injury but took their first bout on 18 days’ notice – largely because it took place in his native Arizona (like Saturday’s event) and he felt he couldn’t pass it up.

In fact, he said he had hoped Pettis would’ve been forced to step in as late replacement at some point in the past year, much like Moraga did with their first fight.

“He keeps posting highlights and sh-t (of our first fight),” Moraga said. “I see that sh-t. What’s up, Sergio? Let’s do this again.

“Let me get some time while you jump in on short notice with me, because most of these people couldn’t have done that. So that gets me a little bit boiling when I see that. I don’t like to make excuses or anything, but there was no preparation for that last Phoenix fight. I had nothing. I came in here, and I was tired. But I went through three rounds with one of the best off no training.”

Obviously, though, if Moraga keeps winning, another rematch could be in the cards: one with longtime dominant flyweight kingpin and champ Demetrious Johnson. Moraga lost a decision in their first bout – back in 2013 – but he earned a paltry $17,000 for the title shot. If he keeps winning and a rematch happens, Moraga just wants a paycheck that makes sense.

“I’m not worried about getting a (Johnson rematch) until I can have my stock built to get paid like I’m getting the shot,” he said.

Check out the full interview above.

And for more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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