Coming off of two straight defeats, bantamweight Vince Morales was in need of a win versus Drako Rodriguez at UFC 265 this past August to make his case for remaining in the promotion, and thankfully he was able to do that.

Following three rounds, Morales was able to pick up the unanimous decision, and pick up his first win in almost two years.

“From a technical standpoint I did a lot of the things I need to do, a lot of the right things, but I was a little frustrated after the fight because I expected (Rodriguez) to exchange back and forth with me a little bit, and I had to chase (him) so much,” Morales told MMAWeekly.com.

“It didn’t work out to be the fight I was expecting in that sense, but in another sense I dictated the pace, I controlled the range, I landed the right combinations at the right times, I did a lot of things I liked. I’d prefer to be a little more exciting in my fights, and I was a little frustrated after the fact with that.”

Having had over a year off since his previous fight in May of 2020, Morales thankfully wasn’t rusty at all, and was able to get back into the swing of things fairly quickly.

“In my mind I think I was overly aware that it had been a while since I had been in there, but I didn’t necessarily feel there was any rust or my timing was off or like it was a whole new experience being in there,” said Morales. It still felt like a fight.

“I remember feeling in the fight that I was very relieved to be back in there and it made me want to get back in there even more.”

On December 4 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Morales (10-5) will go for his second win in a row when he takes on Louis Smolka (17-7) in a 135-pound preliminary bout at UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Aldo.

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“I think Smolka is like a 15 fight UFC vet,” Morales said. “He’s been around for a minute. He’s been around for a while even before I was in the UFC.

“I think he’s a dog and he’s going to bring that. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a lot of back and forth until one of us is on the verge of quitting, and I don’t see that being me. I can’t wait for this fight; it’s going to be great.”

While Morales does have an eye towards 2022, in order to start setting up for next year, he has to get past his fight on December 2 first.

“I’m still working off my goals that I had at the start of 2021, so when I get this win I’ll accomplish that goal, and I’ll be thankful for that because it’s something I’ve been working hard on all year,” said Morales.

“I already have my goals for next year lined up in my mind. When I get this capped properly I can’t wait to get back in there and start on a new set of goals.”

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