Daniel “Sonora” Marcos is an undefeated prospect who earned his UFC ticket just two years ago. A successful bout on the Contender series led to two big wins on the main stage over Simon Oliveira and Davey Grant in 2023. He will now look to stay undefeated and go 16-0 when he takes on Qileng Aori, sometimes referred to as Aoriqileng.
Also known as “the Mongolian Murderer”, Aoriqileng hails from Inner Mongolia, China where he became a high level Sanda fighter, and then mixed martial artist. Joining the UFC in 2021, Aoriqileng has gone 3-3 with the promotion but sits at 25-10 overall with 35 fights, more than double the experience of Marcos.
Daniel Marcos is a clear favorite, according to oddsmakers, as he sits at -235 ahead of the bout.
Daniel Marcos is an excellent boxer with wicked low kicks and body kicks. Although earlier in his career he could rush, it would seem over the past few fights, he has developed a more patient approach, where he will sit back, make reads, and download the data he needs when first engaging with his opponents. He does tend to sit back quite a lot now, electing to counter punch more frequently and then walking forward the more he finds his range and timing.
He is very good at rolling underneath head kicks and winging hooks and coming back to the body and head with short hooks inside however he does like to end his combination with a wide lead hook. Opponents who look to work in and stay in the pocket are up against very accurate shots from Marcos, however, those are able to pop in and out have been able to get one on Marcos in terms of volume while avoiding the counter, so although Aoriqileng has very good offensive footwork, the biggest obstacle for him in this fight will be getting out of range after he lands.
This is unlike his usual fighting style, as Aoriqileng even tends to fight in a heavier stance than your average fighter, planting himself in place to drive his shots from the ground with evident KO power. He will feint and pressure in, and then attack a leaping left hook to right cross high and low. In his most recent fight in the third round, he started to have success utilizing his right calf kick as an entry tool, using it to step in on his unbalanced opponent and land close-range hooks. This would be one way he could disrupt the base of Marcos as he looks to come in and take some of the sting off of those counter shots.
Both men are well-rounded and can go to their wrestling as well if they need to, but it’s unlikely. In terms of grappling, both also have a very good base for defending takedowns on the cage on both sides, probably better than their offensive wrestling. If it does go to the mat, it’s more likely Qileng Aori getting to a clinch during a scramble rather than either being able to finish a traditional shot to the hips or legs.
This should be a very entertaining fight. Neither man likes to poke and prod from the outside; instead, both sit on their shots and look for a KO at all times. I doubt either will hunt for a takedown, I do believe that Aoriqileng will be the forward moving party, but if he neglects in-and-out movement it could be like walking into a wasp nest.
I expect to see Marcos look to slip under any wide shots thrown by the Mongolian and counter back in combination. Both men should utilize their low kicks, but especially if Aoriqileng is dead-set on forward pressure he could take the brunt of these with his weight in front.
Marcos is justified as the betting favorite but not so much as to make -235 very tempting on its own. While both men are extremely dangerous in their finishing ability, both have also shown to be difficult to finish.
Marcos, obviously having never lost, but Aoriqileng as well loses more than twice as often by decision than stoppage. I would expect that for both parties, a finish is unlikely, and if it does materialize, it could be late, so the fight to go over 2.5 rounds is a nicer value at -165 than Marcos’s -235.
Pick: Fight to go over 2.5 rounds (-165) via BetUS