UFC 256 played host to arguably the greatest fight in UFC men’s flyweight history as Deiveson Figueiredo defended his championship against Brandon Moreno.
The circumstances of the fight were extraordinary, with both men having competed just three weeks earlier at UFC 255. Figueiredo defended his title with a first-round submission win over Alex Perez, while Moreno got a first-round win over Brandon Royval when his opponent dislocated his shoulder and got TKO’d as he lay defenceless.
The UFC then put together another title fight on just three weeks notice, which just added to what transpired in front of us.
It was a fast paced bout between both guys, with grappling and striking exchanges of the highest level. However in the third round, the fight was turned on it’s head when Figueiredo landed a front kick to the cup of Moreno. The Mexican was down and hurt and then the referee took a point from the champion, which when paired with Moreno winning the round tied the fight up at 28-28.
They then split a round each of the final two and the fight ended in a draw, but what we saw as the fight went on was that Moreno has the advantage later on.
His pace was fantastic and his gas tank never wavered, while he had plenty of success standing in the pocket and trading. The opposite could be said of ‘Deus de Guerra’ who was exhausted by the end of the fifth round.
His reason was that he struggled with food poisoning and almost pulled out of the fight in the hours leading up to the bout. But in the opening two rounds that didn’t seem to be an issue for him at all. He pushed a great pace, landed some good shots and was able to avoid Moreno’s best attempts of turning the fight ugly.
But in this rematch, he will need to push even harder than before. He is the scariest 125lber of all time without a doubt, with only one defeat on his record and 17 of his 20 career wins have come inside the distance.
Of those 17 stoppage wins, all of them have come inside the opening two rounds. That is a tactic he will need once more to be successful here.
We’ve seen his power decrease as fights have gone on, with his gas tank emptying with each heavy handed strike gets thrown. With Moreno proving he can go the distance even on short notice and not struggling with it even on short notice, it definitely widens his window to win the fight.
With that said, without the points deduction there is a very clear argument that Figueiredo won the fight the first time around so he could adopt the same tactics. But if he is to solidify himself as the best of the two, he will want the finish and that means he needs to do it early on.
Use that frightening power and close the distance early and connect, make Moreno back-track and fear him. If Moreno steps forward and disrespects that power he will go to sleep but if the fight gets into the third round and beyond he will feel like he has the edge.
Figueiredo’s goal is simple, make the fight live up to his nickname. Make it a war and make it a war early.