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UFC 256 Fallout: Main Event Produces Fight of the Year, Oliveira & Holland True Contenders

The final UFC pay-per-view of the year delivered and then some as we saw two new contenders rise as well as a fight of the year contender in the main event.

Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno made a historic three-week turnaround to compete for the flyweight title and fought to a majority draw over five rounds, in what many are calling the fight of the year.

‘God of War’ Figueiredo was given the win on one judge’s scorecard, while the two others rendered it a draw following the champion having a point deduction for a violent low blow in the third round.

Both men stepped forward landing aggressive strikes on each other, punches that would likely have seen any other flyweight crumble to the floor unconscious. Instead, we saw these two warriors keep coming forward and even scramble on the mat in takedown situations to get back to trying to concuss each other.

The result will likely raise the stock of both men but also the flyweight division as a whole. With a rematch almost inevitable now between these two, the UFC’s original plans for Cody Garbrandt to move down to 125lbs and add some name value to the division may not be necessary.

Figueiredo has made a name for himself this year as a violent destroyer, while Moreno’s performance in this fight will almost certainly have gained him some new fans to go with his old ones.

In the co-main event, Charles Oliveira proved that he does belong among the elites of the lightweight division with a completely dominant decision victory over ‘El Cucuy’ Tony Ferguson.

The Brazilian completely outclassed Ferguson on the mat for three rounds as he toyed with him and was able to do whatever he wanted for the most part of the fight.

The one-sidedness of the fight was frankly quite shocking, with many expecting that Ferguson would be able to bounce back from his defeat to Justin Gaethje in May. But he never got the chance to get going at all, as Oliveira managed to outland him on the feet in the first round to the point where Ferguson moved for a clinch.

Oliveira used that scenario to lift Ferguson and put him on the ground and that was the end of that. A nasty armbar attempt in the final seconds of the first round showed that Ferguson is still as tough as ever, as he refused to tap despite the submission being locked in perfectly.

The rest of the fight saw Oliveira maul Ferguson, in a way that can only be comparable to how Khabib Nurmagomedov mauled his opponents during his career.

It put a magnifying glass on the classic Khabib vs Ferguson fight that we all wanted but never got. Many believed that Ferguson’s ability to fight off his back would cause ‘The Eagle’ more problems than anyone else could. But his performance at UFC 256 has confirmed my opinion that the top game would surely just be too much to handle from the bottom, no matter how good he is.

Oliveira now will move on to either a title fight or a guaranteed number one contender fight, depending on the outcome of Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor in January and the future of Khabib Nurmagomedov.

In the middleweight division, Kevin Holland proved to everyone that he’s a serious player in the 185lbs division with a stunning knockout win over Jacare Souza.

‘Trailblazer’ was expected to be tested on the ground by the multiple time jiu-jitsu champion, but what followed was something that proved he is a true contender in the division.

Immediately after being taken down, Holland threw heavy elbows to the head of Jacare which clearly hurt him. He then tee’d off on him from his back, KO’ing Souza with vicious punches.

Holland was originally due to fight No.4 ranked Jack Hermansson the previous week, but a positive COVID-19 test cost him that position. After Hermansson’s defeat to Marvin Vettori in that bout, a rescheduled bout between the two could be on the cards as Holland looks to shoot up the rankings in pursuit of a title shot.

UFC 256: Figueiredo vs Moreno – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Chase Hooper def Peter Barrett via Submission, Round 3 (3:02)

Good start to the round for Barrett as the two meet in the middle and he immediately sprawls to deny a takedown attempt. Hooper throwing some kicks to keep his opponent at range, but Barrett is landing nice, powerful strikes. Hooper looks uncomfortable in the striking exchanges, but suffers a low blow as both men throw a kick at the same time. A second low blow soon after causes another pause and the referee gives Barrett a warning. Barrett defends a takedown attempt but Hooper rolls through and attacks the leg, looking to sink in a heel hook. He looks like he’s synching it up as the buzzer goes! Close. 10-9 Hooper.

Second round and Barrett throws some heavy leg kicks that have a visible effect on the youngster. Hooper limping heavy and shoots for a takedown but Barrett stuffs it and stands back up immediately. Hooper dives in for an imanari roll and the two battle for position before eventually getting back to the feet. Barrett lands some nice punches and takes the round. 19-19.

Third round now and Hooper switches to southpaw and keeps throwing kicks and strikes to avoid more damage to his leg. Hooper dives in with another imanari roll and this time Barrett is in danger. Hooper throws some strikes to the head, which Barrett keeps headbutting to avoid losing his two-on-one grip. Hooper manages to break the grip, switches the heel hook to the opposite side and torques it beautifully for the submission win. Beautifully done and a great win.

PRELIMS

Tecia Torres def Sam Hughes via Knockout (Doctor stoppage), Round 1 (5:00)

A quick start to this fight by Torres who uses her experience early on and is landing some big shots despite the reach disadvantage. Torres lands a big flurry and backs Hughes up against the cage and she looks hurt, but Hughes clinches up to protect herself. Torres gets out of it and starts landing more big shots, causing Hughes’ nose to bleed. Big superman punch lands and she’s throwing combos, while slipping out of the way of Hughes’ attacks. Dominant opening round from the veteran.

The doctor waves the fight off between rounds as Sam Hughes says she cannot see out of her left eye. Hugely impressive win for Torres.

Gavin Tucker def Billy Quarantillo via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Fast pace to start the round as Tucker comes out and lands some big straight shots early. Nice body kick lands too but Quarantillo lands a looping right hand followed by a body kick that looks like it may have hurt Tucker. Clinch against the cage and both men battle for position before they separate. Tucker landing jabs and then a big head kick! Straight right hand again and it forces Quarantillo to shoot for a takedown which Tucker defends well against the cage, before getting a trip of his own and ending the round on top. 10-9 Tucker.

Second round and Tucker’s body work is starting to take over in this fight. Lots of jabs landing with ease and the straight line shots are landing while Quarantillo is looping shots and missing. Every time they clinch together, Tucker is landing big knees to the body and it’s slowing Quarantillo down. Clinch against the cage now and Tucker manages to hold him down before landing a trip as they get back up. Tucker transitions onto his back and looks for a choke but Quarantillo reverses the position and gets back to his feet. More strikes on the feet from both guys as the round ends. Another Tucker round for me. 20-18.

Tucker comes out aggressively once again, stick and moving with punches and securing takedowns again. Tucker looks to get onto his back for a choke but Quarantillo defends it well and eventually gets back to the feet. More strikes from Tucker as he just is dominating this round. Quarantillo looking to get wild and lands a big knee but once again Tucker gets the takedown. He dominates the round, and the fight in total, for a big win.

Rafael Fiziev def Renato Moicano via Knockout, Round 1 (4:05)

A tactical start to this fight as both men start the feeling out process with feints before Fiziev lands a hard leg kick. Some nice body kicks from Fiziev land too but Moicano fires back with a straight right hand and some head kicks too. Moicano lands a big overhand right hand that lands flush and then shoots for a takedown but Fiziev stuffs it well then comes forward with a right hand of his own. Fiziev throws a big left hook to the body, followed by a right hand flush to the jaw and a left hand that drops Moicano stiff!! He jumps on him for the ground and pound but the referee jumps in (maybe a bit early!?) but a hugely impressive win for Fiziev.

Cub Swanson def Daniel Pineda via Knockout, Round 2 (1:52)

A fun start to the fight as Swanson moves forward to start throwing straight right hands down the pipe. Pineda responds with a few of his own and a big leg kick. The leg kicks keep coming and Swanson’s leg gives out under him. Pineda looks for a submission but Swanson defends well. They get back to the feet and Swanson begins landing more and more power punches, Pineda is hurt! Swanson looking to finish it but he’s taking his time with it and eventually the round ends with Pineda still hurt. 10-9 Swanson.

Swanson comes out in the second round in a very karate-based style to protect that left leg and Pineda still looks a bit woozy. Swanson starts throwing combinations with speed and avoiding the wild swings of Pineda. Swanson lands an uppercut, left hook, uppercut, left hook, right cross combination that puts Pineda out!! What a knockout! What a performance from Cub Swanson.

MAIN CARD

Ciryl Gane def Junior Dos Santos via Knockout, Round 2 (2:34)

A feeling out process opens this fight up as Gane takes the centre and fires in some leg kicks while Dos Santos looks to jab to the body. Gane using his kicks to keep Dos Santos away at range, mixing up the speed of the kicks to rest JDS’ reaction time and blocks. A low blow from Gane lands accidentally and causes a brief pause in the action but Gane is bouncing around the octagon and landing from range, while avoiding Dos Santos’ power strikes. Big, wild swings from Dos Santos graze Gane to end the round, but it’s the Frenchman who takes this round. 10-9.

Second round is more of the same as Gane continues to throw these leg kicks from range while Dos Santos is throwing wild hooks. JDS is struggling to close the distance and Gane looks very comfortable so far. Big leg kick hurts Dos Santos and he’s visibly hurting. Gane lands a jab that stuns Dos Santos and he follows it up with two big elbows that drop the former champion before the referee steps in to end the fight. Huge win for Gane and he remains undefeated. Super impressive.

Kevin Holland def Jacare Souza via Knockout, Round 1 (1:45)

The two men meet in the middle and Jacare shoots for a double leg straight off the bat. Holland throws up a triangle immediately and rains down elbows that hurt Jacare! They scramble back up to the feet and Jacare looks for another takedown but Holland defends brilliantly. He ends up on his back but is still throwing big shots off his back. He throws an elbow that stuns Jacare, creates space with his legs and lands two vicious right hooks that rock Jacare and then he stands up and pummels him until the referee steps in. What an incredible win. What a knockout!

Mackenzie Dern def Virna Jandiroba via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Fast paced start to this fight as the two ladies seem keen to keep this one standing, knowing their opponent excels on the ground. Dern throwing big hooks and flurries with speed to force Jandiroba backwards, but nothing significant landing just yet. Big overhand right from Jandiroba cracks Dern square above the eye but Dern eats it. Dern goes for a takedown finally but Janidroba defends it well against the cage to keep the bout standing. Nice on two lands for Jandiroba before they meet and clinch as the buzzer goes. That round could go either way, but I give it to Dern for coming forward more. 10-9.

Quick pace to the second round too as Dern’s speed continues to see her land some nice strikes. Dern starting to loop her strikes and Jandiroba is reading them well and countering with shots of her own. Jandiroba countering with nice knees to the body and a straight right before Dern lands an accidental eye poke that causes a pause in the action. Following the pause both women come out very aggressive and Dern looks for a takedown but eats a big knee that breaks her nose and causes a lot of blood. Jandiroba gets the takedown and blood is flowing into the eyes but both women battling for position. Dern looks to roll through into a leg lock but the buzzer goes. 19-19 going into the third. What a fight.

Third round and it’s more of the same as both women know it’s pretty even now. Jandiroba lands some clean right hands and Dern giving it back too! Jandiroba pushes forward with the jab but Dern returns it with a big one-two that rocks Jandiroba. She shoots for a takedown against the cage but Jandiroba stuffs it and looks to work some more damage. Clinch against the cage as we enter the final 30 seconds and Jandiroba pulls guard (?!) looking for a submission but Dern is alert, stays on top and ends the round landing ground and pound. Super close fight, I lean towards Jandiroba but could go either way.

Charles Oliveira def Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x3)

Quick start to the round as Oliveira comes forward looking to land straight punches and then lands a heavy leg kick. Ferguson spins and lands some nice punches himself before they clinch together against the cage. Oliveira immediately lifts Ferguson and slams him down to the mat then controls Ferguson on the ground for the remainder of the round. He locks in a deep armbar with seconds to go but Ferguson completely refuses to tap and the buzzer goes. Wow. 10-8 Oliveira.

Second round starts and Ferguson can’t move his left arm at all. Oliveira throws a few kicks to the body to test it, gets no reaction and then takes the fight back down to the ground. Ferguson throws some elbows off his back and cuts Oliveira above the eye but then lands an up-kick to a downed opponent, causing a pause in the action. Upon the restart, Oliveira is able to stack Ferguson against the cage and is just dominating him on the ground for the entire round. 20-17 Oliveira.

Oliveira comes out in the third and throws an uppercut and pops his jab. Ferguson goes for a big hook but Oliveira goes for the takedown and once again lifts and slams him down. Immediately passes into full mount and starts moving Ferguson wherever he likes. Total domination from Oliveira as he transitions into a triangle attempt, then moves off into top control again. He ends the round on top once again, but that was absolute domination from start to finish. 30-25 for me.

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno – MAJORITY DRAW (47-46, 47-47 x2)

Aggressive start from the champion as he opens with a spinning back kick to the body before a clinch attempt from Moreno ends up with a scramble on the ground. Figueiredo manages to get back up to the feet and lands a couple of stiff jabs, but Moreno returns with a few of his own. Head kick lands from Moreno but then Figueiredo lands one back. A very fun round, but the champ edges it. 10-9.

Second round and the pace is still so quick. Moreno lands a nice overhand right before the champ lands a spinning back kick to the body once again. Nice leg kick from Figueiredo before both men end up in a scramble on the mat again. As the champ looks to push off he accidentally lands a finger in the eye and the action is paused. Fight is restarted on the ground and Figueiredo gets back to the feet with both guys throwing bombs! Figueiredo lands a big combo to the body and head and hurts Moreno! The Mexican is in clear pain with his eye swelling but he lands a takedown to end the round. 20-18 Figueiredo but it’s close.

Third round and Figueiredo is swinging haymakers but Moreno is game and very much in this! Figueiredo lands a nasty body shot combo with a left hook but Moreno is still there and fires back with a head kick and left hook of his own. Figueiredo is throwing huge, wild hooks and missing big. He throws a front kick that lands flush on the cup and Moreno is hurt bad. The referee takes a point off Figueiredo and the two fighters push forward again. Figueiredo goes for a takedown but Moreno gets back to the feet and lands a big right hook before the buzzer to take the round. With the deduction that makes it 28-28 on my card.

Into the championship rounds and Brandon Moreno is flying! Big strikes from Moreno as he lands hooks, jabs and kicks before Figueiredo looks for a takedown. Moreno reverses the position and ends up on top against the cage. Figueiredo gets back to his feet and both men start throwing bombs and they’re both wobbling! Figueiredo looks dazed and Moreno is landing first when they exchange but the champ is still standing and banging. Big left jab from Moreno lands but then Figueiredo returns fire with two big hooks and a body shot that force Moreno to shoot for the takedown! Moreno lands on top but Figueiredo gets back up to his feet and Moreno lands three big shots to end the round. 38-37 Moreno going into the final round for me.

Final round and Figueiredo throws three beautiful body kicks and follows it up with some big punches. The commentary team point out that Moreno may have broken his left forearm at some point blocking kicks in this round. Moreno isn’t throwing much because of it, but Figueiredo landing good shots. Big right hand from Figueiredo snaps the head back but Moreno still coming forward. Clinch against the cage inside the final minute, Figueiredo switches the position and ends up putting Moreno on the ground landing ground and pound to end the fight. 47-47 for me, I’ve got it as a draw. What a fight.

UFC 256: Figueiredo vs Moreno – Main Card Predictions

A historic three-week turnaround for the top two flyweights in the organisation as Deiveson Figueiredo defends his title against Brandon Moreno in the main event.

It’s the fourth title fight that has been scheduled for this event after Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns and Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson fell through, before replacement bout Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling also fell out.

In the co-main event, two of the most exciting lightweights in the world look to stake their claim at the next title shot as Tony Ferguson takes on Charles Oliveira in what will be a three round war.

Last week we had a bit of a meh showing in the predictions. Three fights were cancelled on fight night, meaning we were left with just eight fights on the night. We successfully picked five of them correctly, although no perfect picks fell our way.

This takes our total up to 181/282 correct picks (64.18%) with 80 correct picks (44.2%). Lets see if we can improve that on this card. The prelims have already been predicted here, so lets move forward with the main card.

MAIN CARD

Junior Dos Santos (21-8) vs Ciryl Gane (6-0) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A big heavyweight clash between former UFC champion Junior Dos Santos and top prospect Cyril Gane which could prove to be a passing of the guard. Dos Santos has lost his last three fights in a row having been knocked out by all of Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik most recently in August. Gane hasn’t fought since December last year but has had some fights fall through this year due to the COVID pandemic. Dos Santos is a striker by nature and will come forward looking to take Gane’s head off in boxing range, while Gane is a powerhouse who’s submission skills are highly impressive. Gane packs a lot of power on the feet too and with where they are in their careers right now, I can’t look past a huge win for the undefeated fighter.
PICK – Ciryl Gane via Knockout, Round 1

Kevin Holland (20-5) vs Jacare Souza (26-8) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A short notice fight between the emerging middleweight ‘Trailblazer’ Kevin Holland as he takes on the veteran that is Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza. Souza was originally due to fight Marvin Vettori, who stepped into last week’s UFC Vegas 16 main event in place of Kevin Holland. Holland is 4-0 in 2020 with wins over Anthony Hernandez, Joaquin Buckley, Darren Stewart and Charlie Ontiveros. Souza has lost three of his last four and this will be his first fight of 2020. He is a tremendous grappler with great wrestling and submissions, but is known to struggle against speed and power punchers which is what Holland is. Holland’s wins haven’t come against the greatest of opposition but a 41 year old Souza who is now unranked is hardly the greatest jump in calibre. A close fight will ensue but if Holland can use his physicality and speed well, he should pick up a win here.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Decision

Mackenzie Dern (9-1) vs Virna Jandiroba (16-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A tremendous grappling affair awaits between the strawweights best ground fighters. Mackenzie Dern has won her last two fights via submission in the first round, but her only defeat came against another talented grappler in Amanda Ribas. Jandiroba’s wrestling game has been hugely impressive in the UFC and she dominated her way to a submission win over Felice Herrig in August. Jandiroba is a superb jiu-jitsu practitioner in her own right which should help her defensively when she looks for takedowns and top control. Dern’s got a better chance on the feet as she carries great power in her right hand and Jandiroba’s striking is awful but the wrestling differential should be enough to get her to a decision win.
PICK – Virna Jandiroba via Decision

Tony Ferguson (25-4) vs Charles Oliveira (29-8) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Fight of the night right here. ‘El Cucuy’ is the master of mixed martial arts, with unbelievable jiu-jitsu and crazy power in his hands he saw an eight-year, 12-fight win streak come to an end in May against Justin Gaethje. Oliveira is on a seven-fight win streak having submitted Kevin Lee back in March last time out via a guillotine. While Ferguson has phenomenal jiu-jitsu, Oliveira is better. He has the most submission wins in UFC history but his struggles tend to come against pressure fighters, something that is essentially guaranteed when fighting Ferguson. Ferguson is a powerful striker with wild technique and accuracy and is good enough on the mat to hold his own, so it’s hard to see past Ferguson being able to land enough damage with strikes to either get a TKO or land a decision win.
PICK – Tony Ferguson via Knockout, Round 2

Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) vs Brandon Moreno (18-5-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The scariest flyweight of all-time takes on the number one contender as Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Brandon Moreno in the final title fight of 2020. Both fighters last competed at UFC 255 just three weeks ago, with Figueiredo submitting Alex Perez and Moreno TKO’ing Brandon Royval following a shoulder separation, both in the first round. Figueiredo can knock you out with one punch, or jump on one mistake to submit you instantly. Moreno is a stunning grappler who has 11 submission wins in his career, but we saw against Royval that he can strike. That said, Figueiredo is just on a different level right now. The ‘God of War’ is so powerful and so in the zone right now, I can’t look past him against any flyweight in the organisation right now. Moreno is looking for the biggest upset of 2020, but I can’t see it.
PICK – Deiveson Figueiredo via Knockout, Round 1

UFC 256: Figueiredo vs Moreno – Prelims Predictions

A historic three-week turnaround for the top two flyweights in the organisation as Deiveson Figueiredo defends his title against Brandon Moreno in the main event.

It’s the fourth title fight that has been scheduled for this event after Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns and Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson fell through, before replacement bout Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling also fell out.

In the co-main event, two of the most exciting lightweights in the world look to stake their claim at the next title shot as Tony Ferguson takes on Charles Oliveira in what will be a three round war.

Last week we had a bit of a meh showing in the predictions. Three fights were cancelled on fight night, meaning we were left with just eight fights on the night. We successfully picked five of them correctly, although no perfect picks fell our way.

This takes our total up to 181/282 correct picks (64.18%) with 80 correct picks (44.2%). Lets see if we can improve that on this card, starting with the prelims here.

EARLY PRELIMS

Chase Hooper (9-1-1) vs Peter Barrett (11-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A clash between two prospects in the featherweight division as Hooper looks to bounce back from his first career defeat against Alex Caceres in June. He takes on Barrett who lost his UFC debut against Youssef Zalal in August. Hooper is a solid grappler with great choke skills, who doesn’t have the greatest striking chops, while Barrett is the complete opposite. Hooper’s first step up in competition saw him beaten, but Barrett is way below the level of Caceres and Hooper sits somewhere between the two. If Barrett can keep the fight standing he has a chance but his takedown defence isn’t great so I expect Hooper to be able to get him down and eventually choke him out.
PICK – Chase Hooper vs Submission, Round 2

Sergey Spivak (11-2) vs Jared Vanderra (11-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight clash between two prospects as 25 year old Spivak looks to make it back-to-back wins, following his win over Carlos Felipe in July. A hard hitter who has good submission skills, Spivak has six of his ten wins from inside the distance via tap out. Vanderra makes his UFC debut following a first-round knockout win on Dana White’s Contender Series. You tend to see him at his best when he’s in top position using his ground and pound. If the fight stays standing, Spivak wins the kickboxing battle quite comfortably but if it hits the ground it’s all about who ends up on top. It should be close, but I’m backing the younger fighter to come away with a win.
PICK – Sergey Spivak via Decision

PRELIMS

Tecia Torres (11-5) vs Sam Hughes (5-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A bit of a throw away fight on this card as veteran Tecia Torres takes on the short-notice replacement Sam Hughes, after Angela Hill’s positive COVID-19 test ruled her out. Torres is a striker who uses her karate background to maintain distance and flurrys of punches while Hughes is a good submission grappler with three of her five wins coming via tap-out. Torres has more experience, better chops on the feet when it comes to striking and has sufficient submission defence to cope with anything that Hughes can throw at her, so she should waltz to a comfortable decision win.
PICK – Tecia Torres via Decision

Gavin Tucker (12-1) vs Billy Quarantillo (15-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very fun fight in this one as Gavin Tucker looks to make it three wins in a row against hot prospect Billy Quarantillo. Tucker beat Justin Jaynes in August with a third round submission, while Quarantillo is currently on an eight-fight win streak after a knockout win against Kyle Nelson in September. Tucker’s sole defeat in his career came against a fighter who he should be able to control but was relentless with high output, much like Quarantillo. He has more experience now, but Quarantillo is arguably a better fighter than that Glenn was and he should be able to outwork Tucker for another win.
PICK – Billy Quarantillo via Decision

Renato Moicano (14-3-1) vs Rafael Fiziev (8-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

One of the best fights on the card as former featherweight Renato Moicano takes on the highly impressive Fiziev. Moicano made his 155lbs debut last time out against Damir Hadzovic in March, where he won with a 44 second submission. Fiziev had his UFC break-out on Fight Island, defeating Mark Diakiese via unanimous decision. Fiziev is a stunning striker, who coaches at Tiger MMA as the kickboxing coach. He’s a fantastic kicker and has great power in his hands too, while Moicano is all about the grappling and clinches. While Fiziev has great takedown defence and a good sambo background, he hasn’t fought anyone of the level of Moicano in MMA before. Moicano has the experience to deal with his striking skills and fight his way to a big decision win in an entertaining fight.
PICK – Renato Moicano via Decision

Cub Swanson (26-11) vs Daniel Pineda (27-13 2NC) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

UFC veteran Cub Swanson finally got back in the win column following four defeats in a row when he beat Kron Gracie 14 months ago. Daniel Pineda got back into the UFC after a six year absence when he knocked out the high flying Herbert Burns in August. Pineda is a super dangerous fighter who has finished all of his 27 wins, with 19 coming via submission. Swanson is very talented in all areas but against the top fighters in recent times he has struggled. Pineda has great in both striking and grappling realms and should have enough about him to end Swanson’s UFC career.
PICK – Daniel Pineda via Submission, Round 2

Brandon Moreno Looking For Biggest Upset of 2020 at UFC 256

UFC 255 was less than a month ago and two of the most impressive performers on the night meet in the main event at this weekend’s UFC 256 card.

Flyweight king Deiveson Figueiredo destroyed Alex Perez in his first title defence, securing a guillotine choke in the first round. He immediately followed that fight up by calling out Brandon Moreno, who had earlier that night defeated Brandon Royval via a first round TKO.

Moreno was seen by many as the rightful number one contender to the title, but the original title shot went to former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. The UFC were looking to bring some legitimacy and eyes to the flyweight division once again, and with the super popular fighter pleading his case publicly the company brass made the decision to let him skip the queue.

When he withdrew, with Moreno already scheduled to fight Royval, the UFC used Alex Perez instead. When Figueiredo didn’t disappoint, he made sure that the whole world knew Moreno was the man he wanted next.

Moreno’s record is highly impressive. With 18 wins and five losses, his original stint in the UFC came to an end after back-to-back defeats to Sergio Pettis and Alexandre Pantoja. He went away and got a win in the LFA, before returning to the organisation for a split draw against Askar Askarov.

Since that though, Moreno has won three in a row against three top flyweights to earn his rightful place at the top of the contenders pile.

The only man that has been more impressive than him, is the champions himself.

UFC 255: Figueiredo v Perez : News Photo

In Figueiredo, Moreno will be coming up against the scariest 125lber of all time. He has the ability to knock you out with a single punch but also has mat skills that have seen him win his last two fights via submission too.

This title fight has already saved the card after three different championship bouts fell through, but for Moreno it represents the biggest fight of his career.

More than that, it would be the biggest upset in the companies calendar year if he were to pull it off. He is very similar to Alex Perez stylistically in the sense that he’s comfortable in all realms of the octagon, but to a slightly higher level.

That doesn’t make up for the power edge that Figueiredo has and the fact that he is at best only on par with him in the grappling exchanges.

There have been some crazy upsets this year in the UFC but if Moreno pulls this off, it will top the lot.

Tony Ferguson vs Charles Oliveira: Who Thrives in Chaos More?

UFC 256 is due to host one of the best three round fights of the year this weekend when Tony Ferguson stands across the cage from Charles Oliveira in the co-main event.

‘El Cucuy’ makes his return to the octagon following his violent defeat in May to Justin Gaethje, which snapped a company-high 13 fight winning streak. Charles Oliveira comes into this fight on a seven fight winning streak of his own, with his submission win over Kevin Lee in March extending his record for most tap out wins in UFC history.

Both men are more than in the conversation when it comes to the elites of the lightweight division and both will be hopeful that a win will put them into the title picture, depending on what happens with Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2021.

It’s a fight that will excite all the hardcore fans but should appeal to the casual fan, with both fighters generally putting in their best performances when battling chaos.

Both Ferguson and Oliveira are excellent strikers, with great power in their hands, explosive kicks and wild technique making them supremely unpredictable. They also both possess good wrestling skills to get takedowns and very aggressive submission games with their black-belts in jiu-jitsu.

It’s a fight where the margin for error will be incredibly low for both guys, with the ability to hone in on any mistakes and punish in an instant evident in both their styles.

UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje : News Photo
Ferguson was battered by Gaethje back in May at UFC 249

The biggest question mark in this fight in reality is how Tony Ferguson will react to his defeat in May. Going into that fight, he was the boogeyman of the division and seemed like he had everyone’s number. But then Gaethje walked through him.

That performance from Gaethje was one of the best individual performances we’ve seen in a UFC octagon, but the beating Ferguson took was bad. It was so bad in fact, that referee Herb Dean ended up stopping the fight because of a jab that left Ferguson wobbling.

We haven’t seen him since barring a few training videos and how he responds to that fight will be very telling. In all honesty, if both are at their optimal level then it should be a pretty convincing win for El Cucuy.

We don’t know if that’s what we’re going to get though and that is what makes this fight so exciting. Whatever happens, this is a fight worthy of it’s hype and spot on the card.

UFC 256 Given Complete Reshuffle With New Main and Co-Main Events

UFC 256 has been given a complete reshuffle from it’s scheduled main events as Petr Yan has withdrawn from his bantamweight title defence against Aljamain Sterling.

The December PPV was originally scheduled to be headlined by two title fights, with Kamaru Usman defending his welterweight title against Gilbert Burns while Amanda Nunes was due to defend her featherweight strap against Megan Anderson.

Usman withdrew from the fight several weeks ago citing injury problems, so the UFC booked Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling in a highly anticipated fight to top the card as a replacement.

Amanda Nunes was forced to pull out of her title defence too just a couple of weeks ago due to personal reasons but now just three weeks before the card, Yan has also withdrawn for personal reasons.

This has led to a 21-day turnaround for flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo who will now fight Brandon Moreno on December 12th.

Both fighters competed this weekend at UFC 255, picking up first round wins. Figueiredo was dominant once again as he submitted Alex Perez, while Moreno took advantage of opponent Brandon Royval dislocating his shoulder to secure a TKO win with a second to go in the round.

After their victories, both fighters called for each other to be their next opponents and Dana White has seemingly moved to make it official quickly with a verbal agreement in place for both fighters just two hours after UFC 255 ended, according to ESPN.

In another boost to the card, ‘El Cucuy’ Tony Ferguson will also get to fight again before 2020 is over as he is now scheduled to take on Charles Oliveira in the co-main event.

Ferguson was expected to fight Dustin Poirier earlier this year but an agreement never materialised and the former interim champion will now face Conor McGregor at UFC 257 in January.

Michael Chandler was offered to Ferguson too but after serving as the back-up fighter for the lightweight title fight at UFC 254, it was deemed that he wouldn’t be able to makeweight again so soon afterwards so the UFC moved on to make the fight with Oliveira.

Both fighters thrive in chaos and Oliveira is currently riding a seven-fight win streak, defeating Kevin Lee in his last outing via submission in the third round. Ferguson was on a UFC-high 13-fight win streak before he was knocked out by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May.

The fact the Yan/Sterling fight was originally a replacement bout and that has now fallen through too explains why the UFC are so keen to book the flyweight title fight with a quick turnaround.

UFC 256 has been completely reshuffled now but still leads with a contender fight in the lightweight division and a title fight as the main event.

Amanda Nunes Withdraws From UFC 256 Title Fight

Amanda Nunes has withdrawn from her featherweight title defence against Megan Anderson at UFC 256.

The Brazilian was due to defend her featherweight title for a third time in December, following her win over Felicia Spencer at UFC 250. The reasons for her withdrawal are unknown currently.

Nunes is currently the bantamweight and featherweight champion and teased retirement following her last bout, which took her to 11 wins in a row. Herself and partner Nina Ansaroff, a UFC strawweight herself, had a baby earlier this year which made the retirement talk a bit stronger too.

The UFC never officially announced the bout between Nunes and Anderson but it had been confirmed by multiple parties and was due to co-headline the UFC 256 pay-per-view as the final big card of the year.

Originally the card was due to have Kamaru Usman defending his welterweight title against Gilbert Burns, but the Nigerian fighter withdrew through injury. The fight was quickly replaced by Petr Yan’s first bantamweight title defence, where he will fight Aljamain Sterling.

Nunes’ withdrawal will be a big hit to the UFC, who were hoping to put together a huge card to close out what has been a crazy year for the organisation.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic hitting, they were the first sports company to return behind closed doors and they have continued to be the leading sport churning out over 30 events.

With Nunes out of UFC 256, it’s unknown what the future of the card will be and if there will be any kind of replacement. With a title fight already on the card, the likelihood of them scrambling to find another at short notice is low, but they could attempt to find a big fight to take it’s place without a belt.

Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson have been linked with a December date for a potential lightweight fight, so that could be thrown into the mix but it’s also possible that the UFC just opt to put all their eggs in the Yan-Sterling basket and hope it lives up to all the expectation surrounding it.

Either way, Nunes won’t be fighting again until 2021.

Petr Yan To Defend Bantamweight Title Against Aljamain Sterling in December

The UFC have made the move to fill their gap in December’s UFC 256 event.

After Kamaru Usman pulled out of his welterweight title defence with Gilbert Burns with injury, the UFC were left with a main event spot that needed filling to go in alongside Amanda Nunes’ defence of her featherweight crown against Megan Anderson.

President Dana White has revealed to ESPN now that the organisation are working on finalizing a deal that will see Petr Yan make the first defence of his bantamweight crown against Aljamain Sterling in December.

Yan, who is 16-1, won the bantamweight title back in July on Fight Island by knocking out the legendary Jose Aldo in a straight up war. Prior to that, he had knocked out Urijah Faber and defeated both Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson by decision to set up a title fight. He is currently on a ten fight win streak.

‘Funkmaster’ Aljamain Sterling has been on a tear in the division and is currently on a five fight win streak of his own. With decision wins over Brett Johns, Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz and impressive submission wins over Cody Stamann and Cory Sandhagen, he has been calling out Yan for a title fight ever since he won the belt.

Many believed that Sterling should have been fighting Yan for the belt back in July originally when the title was vacated by TJ Dillashaw following a failed drugs test. But the UFC opted to go with star power and handed the shot to Jose Aldo, despite him losing his debut in the division in a controversial decision to Marlon Moraes.

With Yan and Sterling finally set to meet on December 12th now, it is arguably Yan’s toughest test in the division. While Yan has the striking advantage in the bout, Sterling has a big reach advantage and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with serious grappling skills. If he is able to turn the fight into a grappling match, while Yan is no pushover the fact that Sterling is so skilled there will surely see him take the edge.

The reach advantage will also mean that Sterling is likely to stay at range and throw kicks rather than exchanging in a boxing match like Aldo did against Yan, where the Russian is most at home.

It will be an explosive fight however it plays out and is a more than worthy replacement for the much anticipated welterweight clash that we can now expect at some point in 2021.

Conor McGregor Accepts UFC Offer To Fight Dustin Poirier – On One Condition

The return of the Notorious one might just be closer than we think.

On Thursday night Conor McGregor took to Twitter once again to respond to a message from Dustin Poirier where he revealed that he has accepted an offer from the UFC to fight Poirier, but with one condition.

While no details of the offer were revealed, McGregor declared that he had told the UFC brass he wants a 2020 date to fight and claimed he was ready to step in for either of the November or December PPV events which recently fell apart.

Poirier responded with positivity, claiming he was also ready and was hopeful that they could ‘get it worked out.’ Dana White had previously ‘guaranteed’ that McGregor wouldn’t fight again in 2020 but his word will be tested now.

McGregor had publicly challenged Poirier to a charity event to help towards ‘The Diamond’ charity The Good Fight. He had promised to donate $500,000 of any proceeds to the cause and has confirmed his plans to follow through with that donation even if the fight happens in the UFC rather than on their own terms in an exhibition fight.

The two have fought before, when both men were in the featherweight division and McGregor scored the TKO win in the first round after a left hand to the temple dropped Poirier. At that point, he had the most wins and knockouts in featherweight history and McGregor made short work of him en route to a record-breaking title fight with Jose Aldo just over a year later.

Since then, McGregor has gone on to break all sorts of records including becoming the first ‘double-champ’ in UFC history when he beat Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight title. Poirier himself has held interim gold in the 155lbs division, although he suffered a similar fate to that of McGregor when he took on Khabib Nurmagomedov as he was choked out with a rear-naked choke.

A fight between the two would almost certainly get plenty of attention in the lightweight title picture and would obviously draw plenty of money with McGregor on the card. One issue for the UFC would be that with no fans, they would almost certainly make less than normal on a Conor card but it may have to be a hit they’re willing to take to get this fight done.

With November’s UFC 255 losing Cody Garbrandt from the main event, the UFC moved quickly to replace him with Alex Perez. More likely is UFC 256 on December 12th, conveniently also the scheduled date for McGregor and Poirier’s charity fight, where Kamaru Usman was forced to pull out of his title fight with Gilbert Burns due to injury.

Whenever it happens, it’s clear as day that Conor McGregor is very serious about a return to the octagon and getting his ‘season’ completed one way or another to get another crack at Khabib and the lightweight title.