Brandon Moreno will problem Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight title in the primary occasion of UFC 256 in Las Vegas on Saturday night time. Moreno would be the first Mexican-born fighter to compete for a UFC title. A win would not simply change the fortunes of the athlete, his spouse and his kids. It additionally might be a boon for fight sports activities followers in a boxing-rich nation.
“It means every part to me,” Moreno instructed ESPN of the chance. “Now we have lots of the way forward for fight sports activities in Tijuana and Mexico usually. … However blended martial arts is a comparatively new sport in my nation. I do know I can change the sport in my nation if they’ve the primary 100% Mexican champion within the UFC.”
It will not be simple. Moreno is available in as a heavy underdog in opposition to Figueiredo, who has the makings of a dominant champion at 125 kilos.
ESPN has Figueiredo ranked No. 7 on the planet on its MMA pound-for-pound checklist. Figueiredo and Moreno are ranked Nos. 2 and three, respectively, at flyweight behind former UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, the most effective fighters of all time.
That is the quickest turnaround for a champion or challenger in UFC historical past. Figueiredo and Moreno each competed at UFC 255 on Nov. 21. Figueiredo completed Alex Perez through guillotine choke — the quickest submission in UFC flyweight historical past (1:57) — and Moreno beat Brandon Royval through first-round TKO.
Figueiredo (20-1) has gained 5 in a row and 9 of his 10 UFC appearances. The person nicknamed “God of Warfare” stopped Joseph Benavidez through first-round TKO in July to win the vacant flyweight title. This would be the Brazilian slugger’s second title protection. Figueiredo, 32, is tied with Johnson for many finishes in UFC flyweight historical past, with seven.
Moreno (18-5-1) is unbeaten in 5 straight, with a 7-2-1 UFC report. “The Murderer Child” was minimize by the UFC in 2018 after he dropped two in a row. On the time, the promotion was contemplating dropping its flyweight division. Moreno, 26, gained the LFA title in 2019 and was introduced again to the UFC three months later. He’s 3-0-1 since being launched.
Within the co-main occasion, perennial contender and former interim champion Tony Ferguson meets Charles Oliveira in a major light-weight matchup. Ferguson (25-4), ranked No. Three by ESPN at 155 kilos, had his report 12-fight light-weight profitable streak snapped by Justin Gaethje in an interim title bout at UFC 249 in Might. Oliveira (29-8, 1 NC), ESPN’s No. 9-ranked light-weight, has gained seven straight and has essentially the most submission wins in UFC historical past (14).
Battle in progress:
Kevin Holland has had the most effective years out of anybody on the planet in blended martial arts. And now he is someway creating new methods to win.
Incomes the largest win of his profession, Holland knocked out “Jacare” Souza at 1:45 of the primary spherical — with punches from the underside. Souza, a legendary grappler, was in prime place and Holland uncorked a depraved proper hand from his hip that cracked Souza on the brow. Souza was clearly damage by the blow and Holland ripped one other proper hand that rocked Souza, sending him backward. Holland then pounced for the extremely distinctive end. He’s solely the second fighter in UFC historical past to complete with an arm strike from the underside.
— Shane Burgos (@HurricaneShaneB) December 13, 2020
“If I may give any individual like ‘Jacare’ bother on the bottom, I assume I deserve my black belt [in Brazilian jiu-jitsu],” Holland stated.
Holland is now simply the third fighter in trendy UFC historical past to go 5-Zero in a calendar 12 months. Neil Magny (2014) and Roger Huerta (2007) have been the others. To make it much more wonderful, Holland has accomplished all of it throughout the pandemic, beginning his profitable streak in Might.
Holland, 28, has the second longest lively profitable streak at middleweight, behind champion Israel Adesanya. The Texas native has gained eight of 9 total and has 17 finishes in 21 professional wins. Souza, 41, has dropped three straight. The Brazilian, a former Strikeforce middleweight champion, has simply two victories since 2017.
The UFC heavyweight division has a newly christened contender.
Gane stopped dos Santos, the previous UFC heavyweight champion, through TKO at 2:34 of the second spherical to open the UFC 256 important card. Gane rocked dos Santos with a jab whereas dos Santos was coming in, then put dos Santos down for good with a proper elbow. This was the largest win so far in Gane’s younger MMA profession.
I perceive now why Gane was a -400 😂😂😂. JDS ought to start thinking about a brand new career.
— Funky (@Benaskren) December 13, 2020
Within the speedy aftermath, dos Santos disputed the end, saying Gane’s elbow landed illegally to the again of his head. However dos Santos was turning away from the blow and the referee normally won’t name that if the fighter throwing the blow is concentrating on a authorized space, no matter the place it lands if the fighter on the receiving finish strikes.
Gane fought masterfully all through. The expert southpaw stayed on the skin and picked dos Santos aside with stunning kicks to the physique and legs. By the second spherical, dos Santos was clearly feeling the impacts of Gane’s low kicks. In that spherical, Gane put dos Santos in bother with a wonderfully positioned proper jab after which whipped a depraved elbow that floored dos Santos. Referee Jerin Valel jumped in to name the bout off earlier than dos Santos might take any extra injury.
Gane, 30, stays undefeated with the victory. The Frenchman has completed 4 of his 5 UFC victories. Gane has solely been a professional MMA fighter since 2018, although he has Muay Thai and kickboxing expertise.
Dos Santos, 36, has now misplaced 4 straight — and never at an opportune time with the UFC trying to shed 60 or extra fighters from its roster earlier than the top of the 12 months. The Brazilian slugger was the UFC heavyweight champion in 2011 and 2012 after knocking out Cain Velasquez. He was on a three-fight profitable streak previous to this skid.
Cub Swanson fought for the primary time since he suffered ACL and meniscus tears in December, and Daniel Pineda was intent on testing his leg within the first spherical. And whereas Pineda damage Swanson’s leg, it was Swanson’s proper hand that ended the struggle.
Two quick proper uppercuts sandwiched a left hook, and Swanson ended it with a vicious proper hand on Pineda’s chin.
Killer Cub vs Jose Aldo II anybody?! Been a very long time coming!!#UFC256
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 13, 2020
“With my lengthy layoff I used to be doing a lot leg strengthening,” Swanson stated. “It was on my thoughts, and previous couple of days I used to be terrified, questioning myself.”
Swanson damage Pineda within the final minute of the primary spherical and stored touchdown photographs, however Pineda was saved by the bell.
The loss ended Pineda’s seven-fight unbeaten streak. He was coming off a powerful second-round stoppage of Herbert Burns on Aug. 15.
Fiziev spent most the primary spherical mixing in laborious kicks and fast mixtures. He completed the struggle with one among them, a three-punch effort — a left to the physique, a proper to the pinnacle and a left to the pinnacle.
I agree. Moicano actually grabbed Fiziev’s wrist after getting hit. I believe the ref might’ve let it go somewhat longer, however I actually suppose that Moicano wasn’t going survive within the floor. My factor is, at the least let the fighter strive. He was damage however not out chilly. Simply my 2 cents https://t.co/yeDjBEcrHg
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 13, 2020
This was Fiziev’s third straight victory. He has seven profession finishes, six coming by knockout.
“That is actually laborious work, I am drained from this camp and I wish to go house and relaxation,” Fiziev stated. “I wish to say to everybody in my division — practice extra. Extra coronary heart. Extra wrestling, grappling, boxing — I am coming.”
Moicano has misplaced by KO or TKO in three of his previous 4 fights.
Expectations that Gavin Tucker and Billy Quarantillo would placed on an all-action struggle have been fulfilled early, and the livid tempo continued all through the three rounds with Tucker proving to be the sharper and extra well-rounded fighter.
The unanimous-decision loss snapped Quarantillo’s eight-fight win streak.
Tucker, who has gained three straight, managed the motion early within the third spherical, tripping Quarantillo, urgent him in opposition to the cage after which taking him down. Tucker stayed on prime for a couple of minute however by no means got here near getting a end.
Tucker is a tactical fighter man
— Baldy Ed (@brianboom135) December 13, 2020
“I am proud of the win, however I am positive watching again, it should look soiled and tough and tumble,” Tucker stated. “I actually needed this one. Billy’s a hell of a fighter, and this was a hell of a struggle.”
Within the second, Tucker went to the physique and began to sluggish Quarantillo — barely. Tucker stored up the stress with crisper, extra correct punches. Tucker took Quarantillo’s again twice within the second, however Quarantillo was in a position to escape each instances.
Each went straight ahead within the first spherical, exchanging kicks and punches and setting a tempo that advised cardio would play an enormous position.
Tucker landed a career-high seven takedowns after coming into the struggle having landed seven takedowns mixed via his 4 profession UFC fights.
Tecia Torres did not provide Sam Hughes the warmest of welcomes to the UFC. Torres gained by TKO earlier than the beginning of the second spherical after Hughes instructed her nook she could not see out of her left eye. After analysis from the ringside doctor, the struggle was stopped.
Torres now has eight wins within the UFC strawweight division, which is tied for third-most all-time with Carla Esparza.
👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 sure 🌪 https://t.co/UGPlmooPT6
— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) December 13, 2020
“I wish to have a top-10 opponent, undoubtedly somebody ranked above me,” Torest stated after the struggle. “I would prefer to make my method to that title shot sooner or later … My time is coming.”
Torres got here out swinging within the first, hanging Hughes at will. Heavy mixtures and Superman punches marked up Hughes’ face in that spherical, which was in the end capped off by a slam to the mat. In keeping with UFC Stats, Torres landed 27 strikes to the pinnacle, 13 to the physique and 12 to the legs in that first spherical.
Torres was the largest favourite on the cardboard at UFC 256. She earned her first stoppage since July 2017 and the primary TKO of her profession
With a feint adopted by a roll, Hooper took Barrett down early within the third, and the 2 have been locked up for greater than a minute. Hooper stored punching Barrett within the face, and Barrett tried to scramble out earlier than Hooper cinched within the heel-hook submission.
I used to be about to counsel Hooper returns to the regional circuit and return later to the UFC as a consequence of him being younger and an excellent expertise . However I am going to simply eat my phrases over right here 🐸☕️ . 😂 #UFC256
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) December 13, 2020
Barrett landed a leg kick early within the second spherical that compromised Hooper’s proper leg. Hooper then went for a number of takedowns, and he stored the struggle on the bottom so long as he might.
Barrett moved ahead all through the primary spherical, seemingly unconcerned with Hooper’s energy. Hooper went for a double-leg takedown try on the finish of the primary, and he was in a position to get Barrett down, however the spherical ended earlier than he was in a position to do any injury.
It was Hooper’s first struggle since his first loss, a unanimous choice to Alex Caceres on June 6.
The 21-year-old Hooper has eight finishes in his 10 wins and is the 25th fighter in UFC historical past to win a number of fights earlier than his 25th birthday, in accordance analysis by to ESPN Stats & Info.
Nonetheless to return:
Males’s flyweight: Deiveson Figueiredo (c) (20-1, 9-1 UFC, -330) vs. Brandon Moreno (18-5-1, 6-2-1 UFC, +260)
Light-weight: Tony Ferguson (26-4, 15-2 UFC, -165) vs. Charles Oliveira (29-Eight 1 NC, 17-Eight 1 NC UFC, +140)
(c) = defending champion