The Texas product, Morono is 31 years old and is entering the UFC cage for the 11th time. He is 19-7 professionally with his wins evenly split – six knockouts, submissions, and decisions. Of his seven losses, two have come by knockout, and five have come by decision. The German fighter, Zawada, is also 31 years old and has a similar professional record, but has only had 3 UFC fights. Professionally, he has 11 knockouts, 4 submissions, and 2 decision wins. In the UFC, he is 1-2 with one submission win.
Morono vs. Zawada betting odds
Morono is a slight -135 favorite over Zawada who comes back at +105.
Morono vs. Zawada breakdown
Both Morono and Zawada are difficult fighters to bet. Morono is a crafty veteran who keeps a good pace in the cage and is a solid striker with some pop; but, can struggle against unorthodox or explosive strikers. He is also comfortable grappling, stuffing about half of the takedown attempts against him and averaging half a takedown per fight; but, can be controlled if he is taken down. Overall, Morono truly is one of the most taboo words in the business – a gatekeeper. No fighter wants this moniker because it means you aren’t climbing the ranks toward a title shot; but, the positive note is that you have a steady career and paycheck. With a positive strike differential, a quality gas tank, and loads of experience, Morono is a quality gatekeeper who will beat most opponents who look past him, don’t have the grit to go deep into the fight, or aren’t special enough to end the fight quickly. This style poses a threat to a lot of fighters on the roster; but, his lack of athleticism and finishing ability means he has a ceiling.
Zawada, on the other hand, has more natural gifts but lacks the experience of his opponent. Zawada entered the UFC as a quality striker with some real power; but, in his three fights, he has a negative strike differential, and has been unable to translate his regional power to the UFC. Interestingly though, Zawada has evolved and has incorporated more wrestling into his game. He averages just under 1 takedown and 2 submission attempts per fight. I give him credit for realizing that the talent in the UFC might be above his regional punching power; and, instead of continuing to try and outstrike his opponents, he formed a different path to victory.
Morono vs. Zawada prediction
Both fighters are well-rounded, but, at least so far, have not shown anything “special.” They match up evenly in most areas of the fight; however, Morono has the edge in technical boxing while Zawada has the edge in natural power. Moreover, Morono is the more fundamentally sound grappler and has a slightly better gas tank. Despite having a shorter reach, I see Morono using his jab, movement and clinch game to edge out a decision win.
Prediction: Morono by decision
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.