The Rise of Marcos Degli

“I’m not just looking forward to winning – I actually want to shock the world with this co-main event” – Marcos Degli, June 30th 2024.


When it comes to professional competition, the appetite of Brazilian flyweight Marcos Degli is simply insatiable.


Indeed, between March 6th 2022 and March 11th 2023, the Campos do Jordão-born Paulista competed in seven professional bouts – an average of one bout every 53 days. Just 11 weeks later, “Tailandês” made his LFA debut against Hugo Paiva at LFA 159 in Caraguatatuba, São Paulo.


Having last competed November 3rd 2023 at LFA 171 in Cajamar, São Paulo, however, it has been eight months since the 24-year-old last competed in a professional bout – the longest break of his professional career. 


I don’t really feel the eight-month gap, because I believe I fight every week” Marcos says. “I do my training camp with my team, but every week I go to the Fighting Nerds, which is Caio Borralho’s team. When I go there, I’m sparring against guys I don’t know. We go through the whole ritual of walkthroughs, walk-ins, music. So to me, it’s like I’m fighting every week. I really didn’t feel that difference of that eight-month gap without fighting”.


Marcos did not intend to have an eight month break in professional competition. After all, he was originally scheduled to compete May 3rd 2024 against Flavio de Queiroz at LFA 183 in Rio de Janeiro. Whilst Flavio de Queiroz later withdrew from the bout due to injury, a new opponent – Leno Rodrigo – stepped up on short notice. However, Leno Rodrigo failed to make weight. Despite every effort – which included waving the mandatory forfeiting of a purse percentage for missing weight – Leno Rodrigo refused to compete.


It was very frustrating when my manager came up to my room and gave me the final word that the fight wasn’t happening” Marcos admits. “I was very upset; it was very frustrating – but I live for this. It wasn’t supposed to be. It’s in God’s hands, and if he said that [it] wasn’t supposed to happen, then that’s because there’s better things to come in the future”.


Currently riding a sensational eight-bout win streak that includes seven victories inside the distance, Marcos is set to make his highly anticipated return on July 6th 2024 in Cajamar, São Paulo, at LFA 187: Brazil vs. Latin America. 


The Vale Top Team prospect competes in the co-main event against Argentina’s Ignacio Fernandez, marking the LFA’s seventh Brazilian-versus-Argentine bout at the time of writing. For Marcos, it is the first time competing against a non-Brazilian opponent in his professional career.


It doesn’t make that big of a difference for me when I’m in the cage, but I know that outside of the cage there is a huge rivalry between Brazil and Argentina in any kind of sport” Marcos says. “So that of course plays a big role, being in the co-main event, fighting against a guy from Argentina. I know that the crowd is going to expect me to perform at my best and defend the Brazilian colours. I believe that Brazilian fighters have more grit – have more heart. I don’t see that in my opponent, being from Argentina”.


One cannot overstate Marcos’ incredible form as he enters his third LFA bout. In his previous two LFA contests, the Paulista defied the oddsmakers to become the first (and only) professional to defeat 6-1 Hugo Paiva inside the distance, and ended the five-bout win streak of 9-1 Alisson Murilo.


With a third LFA victory at LFA 187 – and a remarkable ninth consecutive victory that would extend his professional record to 11-3 – Marcos asserts his spot in the conversation for flyweight championship contention.


Most definitely I want that title; I want that belt!” Marcos affirms. “That’s a statement that I’ve made, and I’ve asked for it before – I’ve gotten the mic after the fight and I’ve asked ‘Who else do I have to beat up?’. If I get that win next Saturday, it’s my time. I want that title, I want that opportunity, I want that belt. Like I always say after my interviews, I am the problem in this weight class. I am a huge problem for everybody. If I get that win, the title shot is next on my radar for sure”.


Three years ago, ahead of the inaugural LFA Brazil event in July 2021, LFA CEO Ed Soares spoke of his ambition to give back to the Brazilian mixed martial arts community and provide opportunity for Brazilian athletes.


Such sentiment is not lost on Marcos. Of course, his deserved success is the product of his athletic prowess. However, the Paulista recognises – and is grateful for – all that LFA has done for his professional career.


I believe that the LFA opened the doors to huge opportunities in my career” Marcos admits. “I wouldn’t have been here – I couldn’t have been here – if it wasn’t for the LFA. So I’m proud to wear the shirt, wear the letters, the Brazilian colours, and be part of whatever the LFA needs me to do”.



The author extends his utmost gratitude to Marcos Degli, Max Soares, and Jamie McClintock for making this article possible.


Interview translation courtesy of Max Soares.


Image provided by Marcos Degli (@marcoss_tailandes on Instagram). Photo credit to Vinicius Gon (@vgvgvgvgvgsg on Instagram). 

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